StubHub: Houston is America's 17th "Most Rockin' City"

Bruce Springsteen at Toyota Center/photo by Lupe Wilkerson
Bruce Springsteen at Toyota Center/photo by Lupe Wilkerson

Radiohead in the Woodlands/photo by Mark C. Austin

Well, here's yet more grist for the "Is Houston a good touring town or not" mill. (I know; just what you were waiting for. Me too.) Yesterday online ticket-swap site StubHub.com released its annual survey of "America's Most Rockin' Cities," and Houston placed a less-than-resounding 17th.

A couple of things to keep in mind, however: First, StubHub splits North America into more than 90 cities or regions, so 17th isn't all that bad. (I guess.) Also, obviously, the numbers are drawn from tickets bought and sold on StubHub, which is a lot, but hardly the whole picture.

Bruce Springsteen at Toyota Center/photo by Lupe Wilkerson

Furthermore, the figures are based on concerts happening during a three-month window from May 15 to September 15, a time when many major tours are in the more hospitable climes of the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard. For example, Bruce Springsteen's tour - a top three seller in New York (No. 1) and Boston (No. 2) - was here way back in April (when he sold out Toyota Center), while Coldplay, top three in Philadelphia (No. 4), Chicago (No. 5), the Bay Area (No. 6) and several other markets, won't be here until November.

Houston's top three, by the way, were Radiohead back in May, and two shows coming up this weekend: the Dave Matthews Band tomorrow night and Kenny Chesney's "Poets & Pirates" tour at Reliant Stadium Saturday. All three artists placed in the top three in several other markets as well.

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Geographically, unsurprisingly, the East Coast had the most markets in the top 20, with nine including Atlanta, Richmond - this year's biggest jumper, from No. 17 to No. 9 - and Miami. The West Coast and Midwest tied for second with four, with the Southwest bringing up the rear with three - Dallas, Houston and Denver.

Dallas was the highest-ranking Southwestern market at No. 10, though it was down three spots from last year. Houston, on the other hand, moved up one notch, so either slightly more shows are coming here or slightly more people are using StubHub to buy their tickets. In other words, these numbers basically mean whatever you want them to.

But guess which so-called music town didn't even make the Top 20? Looking your way, Austin. - Chris Gray


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