Wouldn’t you know it. Yesterday not 45 minutes after I posted the review of “The Sparks Brothers” film documentary on the Mael Brothers’ 50 year music career, than I received an email from the Sparks Maeling [ha-ha] list featuring the eagerly awaited North American tour dates for 2022. The band had already promoted tour dates for 2020 in Europe to tour behind their “A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip” album, but obviously, that did not happen. In addition to their work on two feature films simultaneously, Sparks have found time to rekindle the love affair between the band and pockets of their devoted US audience; last given a generous tour in 2013, when your faithful scribe finally [FINALLY!] got to experience one of their glorious shows in the flesh.
It looks like the band are once again hitting a reasonably thorough swath through the major population centers of North America next spring. Goodness knows, I spent over a decade seeing their scanty US tours completely missing my [admittedly backward] quadrant of the US with tear stained eyes. But they made the effort last time, and they are doing it again, so they are aware that they have fans in more than just mega metropoli over the length of their storied career. So where will they be in 2022?
SPARKS | A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip 2022 World Tour
Mon. 7 Feb. | Walt Disney Concert Hall | Los Angeles, CA
Tue. 8 Feb. | Walt Disney Concert Hall | Los Angeles, CA
Fri. 11 Mar. | The Warfield | San Francisco, CA, US
Sun. 13 Mar. | McMenamin’s Crystal Ballroom | Portland, OR, US
Mon. 14 Mar. | The Showbox | Seattle, WA, US
Tue. 15 Mar. | Vogue Theatre | Vancouver, BC, Canada
Fri. 18 Mar. | Fitzgerald Theater | St. Paul, MN, US
Sat. 19 Mar. | Copernicus Center | Chicago, IL, US
Mon. 21 Mar. | The Eastern | Atlanta, GA, US
Tue. 22 Mar. | Ryman Auditorium | Nashville, TN, US
Thu. 24 Mar. | Big Ears Festival | Knoxville, TN, US
Fri. 25 Mar. | Lincoln Theatre | Raleigh, NC, US
Sat. 26 Mar. | Lincoln Theatre | Washington, DC, US
Mon. 28 Mar. | Town Hall | New York (NYC), NY, US
Wed. 30 Mar. | Shubert Theatre, Boch Center | Boston, MA, US
Fri. 1 Apr. | Royal Oak Music Theatre | Royal Oak, MI, US
Sat. 2 Apr. | Queen Elizabeth Theatre | Toronto, ON, Canada
Sun. 10 Apr. | Vicar Street | Dublin, Ireland
Mon. 11 Apr. | Limelight | Belfast, UK
Wed. 13 Apr. | Barrowland Ballroom | Glasgow, UK
Thu. 14 Apr. | Albert Hall | Manchester, UK
Sat. 16 Apr. | De La Warr Pavilion | Bexhill-On-Sea, UK
Sun. 17 Apr. | The Roundhouse | London, UK
Tue. 19 Apr. | Casino de Paris | Paris, France
Thu. 21 Apr. | Paradiso | Amsterdam, Netherlands
Fri. 22 Apr. | Ancienne Belgique, AB Flex | Brussels, Belgium
Sun. 24 Apr. | Metropol | Berlin, Germany
Mon. 25 Apr. | Mojo Club | Hamburg, Germany
Wed. 27 Apr. | Rockefeller | Oslo, Norway
Fri. 29 Apr. | Annexet | Stockholm, Sweden
Sat. 30 Apr. | DR Koncerthuset | Copenhagen, Denmark
Tue. 3 May | Kulttuuritalo | Helsinki, Finland
Wed. 4 May | Alexela Kontserdimaja | Tallinn, Estonia
Fri. 6 May | Hanzas Perons | Riga, Latvia
Sat. 7 May | Compensa Concert Hall | Vilnius, Lithuania
The European dates went on sale over a year ago and may be moot at this point. I’d at least look into it now. Much could have changed since the 2020 dates went on ice. But the US dates go on sale on Friday, July 15th at 10:00 E.S.T. Great Googly-Moogly! It looks as if we have three dates all within easy travel distance. Dates in Raleigh, North Carolina, Atlanta, Georgia, and Knoxville, Tennessee are all adjacent. Our pals Elisa + Tom will surely have an interest. And it’s not uncommon for us to have shows somewhere on or near Tom’s birthday in March. The Raleigh show will be an hour from their home, but the venue is a small theater with 750 SRO capacity. No seating. One of our friends would have issues with a standing show.
The Atlanta date is in a gleaming new Performing Arts Center that hasn’t even opened yet. It has a 2,200 capacity but any photos of the venue don’t explicitly show any seating, especially on the floor. There may be balcony seating. Hmmmmm. Interestingly enough, the tickets for both shows are General Admission for just under $50 a ticket! Perhaps proof that Sparks are touring for the love of it.
The wildcard is the fact that one of these dates will be Sparks opening up the generally glorious Big Ears Festival in Knoxville on March 24th. Now we’ve loved Big Ears and attended several of the festivals since their 2009 inauguration. The last one in 2019 we went all in and loved it. I am guessing that if Sparks are opening the festival they will be the headliner that night. At least I hope so. that points to the lovely Tennessee Theatre as potential venue. A 1600+ capacity, lovingly restored vintage entertainment palace and the jewel in the crown of Downtown Knoxville. But that’s only guesswork at this early stage.
The tickets for this won’t even go on sale until the fall, traditionally. The first tier is usually $99 but Big Ears is worth whatever you have to pay for it! The cheap tickets will fly out of there in hours, if not less. The full festival lineup is nowhere near announcement status, but I know it will be great. It just is. Knoxville is only 90 minutes west of where we live, but the trek will be long for our friends who live four hours east of us. But the odds of seeing the band with seating is greater there.
I am wondering where we’ll be in terms of Covid and the mutations by that point, but I’m willing to be optimistic here and may buy one of these tickets after conferring with our friends. A lot can happen in nine months. Maybe even something good for a change. I’m still wearing a mask now. We’ll see where we are in nine months. But my loving wife was watching Sparks live clips online this morning and after thinking that passing on Sparks in 2022 would be okay, she’s now deemed attendance as “necessary.”