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Damn the Torpedoes, Live Nation is Full Steam Ahead

Start saving those nickels and dimes, kids, because the biggest tour of 2009 (so far) is headed for Houston. At a press conference in House of Blues' Foundation Room this morning, Live Nation President Bob Roux and Toyota Center General Manager Doug Hall announced Elton John and Billy Joel will bring their "Face 2 Face Tour" to the venue March 19. Sadly, Rocks Off will be in Austin covering SXSW, but he hopes all of you have a lovely time.

Tickets go on sale Saturday, with a top price of $175. "In today's world, that's not expensive for two superstars like that," Hall said. "In today's economy..."

Actually, so far the economic crisis seems to have had little effect on such big-ticket events. "The higher-priced shows are holding up extremely well," said Roux, noting the Eagles nearly sold out their second show in Tulsa last week (top ticket: $187) and since tickets went on sale Saturday, Nickelback has already sold more than 7,000 tickets ($75 max) for the Canadian grungers' April 16 Toyota Center concert.

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"A lot of cities where we work, the consumer spending's still there," Roux (right) said. "They say people want to spend on entertainment even when the economy's slower, and so far that adage seems to be holding up."

The piano men, whose three-hour-plus show features full sets from each and both men onstage at the beginning and end, previously teamed up in 1994 and 2003; those tours sold out Rice Stadium and Compaq Center, respectively. The stage will be configured in an "end-stage 360" format similar to the recent Neil Diamond show.

Roux said he didn't know which other major artists may be touring next year, but a likely candidate seems to be U2, whose first album since 2004's Grammy-sweeping How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is due in March. - Chris Gray

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