The rise of Donald Trump and his “alt-right” goons has threatened to undermine the very foundation of the United States, but as a wise man has attempted to say a few times: “He will not divide us.” These days, it’s more important than ever to bury hatchets and squash beefs, and perhaps it is with that spirit in mind that Pearl Jam has decided to do the unthinkable by joining forces with its old nemesis, Ticketmaster. According to Billboard, the two are teaming up as part of a larger alliance to take over and redevelop Seattle’s KeyArena venue, which is currently owned by AEG.
In 1994, Pearl Jam took on Ticketmaster’s exorbitant service fees and accused the company of operating like a monopoly. The band attempted to exclusively play non-Ticketmaster venus while touring behind its Vs. album, and bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossard even testified before Congress about Ticketmaster’s price gouging. Unfortunately, the sun never sets on Ticketmaster’s empire, so in the years since Pearl Jam has been forced to continue using the service for the majority of its tours.
Now, Pearl Jam and Ticketmaster are working with Azoff MSG Entertainment and the Oak View Group to basically turn the KeyArena into a replica of The Forum in Los Angeles, with a deeper, lower bowl, room to host hockey or professional basketball teams in addition to bands, and a “major acoustical upgrade.” Apparently, Pearl Jam doesn’t like the acoustics in the current building, and since Seattle is the band’s hometown, the members want to recreate the venue into something that suits their needs. And in order to compete with AEG’s own bid to renovate the KeyArena, the Ticketmaster side is suggesting that Pearl Jam might be interested in holding some kind of residency at the new venue if they can win the contract.
Unfortunately, the Billboard story says this is all quickly turning ugly, as both sides have resorted to “trying to frame their opponents as right-wing.” The Ticketmaster side says that AEG owner Phil Anschutz has donated to anti-LGBTQ groups, and though he says he has cut ties with those groups, his side claims that James Dolan (of Azoff MSG Entertainment) supports Donald Trump because he’s the man who “forced” the Rockettes to perform at the inauguration in January.