Elvis Costello's road to Cambridge began yesterday, even though he isn't supposed to come for another three weeks.
Costello, along with opening act Nick Lowe, performed yesterday at the University of California at Davis, kicking off his 18-day "college tour."
"He probably wants to take advantage of the spring college concert market," said Marc Gentilella of Flashgroup Concerts, the group which is handling part of the nationwide visit.
The tour which will cross Harvard's path on Friday, May 1, will cover 14 concert dates and earn close to $500,000 for the English star's production at its going rate of $33,500 per concert. The tour will finish at Cornell University on May 2, said the concert representative.
Demand for tickets on college campuses has been great.
The 2700 seats for the Bright Arena performance here sold out in a little more than a day.
Costello has also met with a favorable response at other schools on the tour. At Brown, approximately 600 students "camped out" to get seats for the April 25 show, according to student organizers there.
Students started lining up last Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. for tickets to go on sale 9 a.m. the following morning, said Brown student organizer Julie Barnett. "We had about 600 people out there by 3 a.m.," she added.
Cornell has almost sold out its 5000 concert tickets, said concert organizers.
Student Production Association (SPA) Co-chairman Jill Harrison '90 said the student group's effort to snare Costello for a Harvard show may have been the spark for the larger tour.
"When we first contacted Elvis, the dates before his show at Harvard were open," said Harrison. "We may have been the ones to give them the idea of playing other colleges."
Trouble in Princeton
"We contacted Elvis when they [management] were just developing their tour plans," said former SPA chairman James D. Chung '88. "We were probably one of the first colleges to contact Elvis about his type of concert," he added.
Costello's academic tour ran into some planning problems when it tried to enter the gates of Princeton.
Fiona Org, a member of Princeton's student government, said yesterday that Costello was scheduled to perform at their annual spring weekend but cancelled out because the audience would not be seated.
"He wanted about 3000 seats for the show but decided not to play because the crowd would be standing," said Org.