Boy sensation Justin Bieber, superstars U2 and German industrial metal band Rammstein have little in common – apart from being musicians, and the fact that they all avoided Durban on their South African schedules.
They are on a growing list of performers from the US and Europe who have skipped Durban: Lady Gaga, Metallica, Linkin Park, Kings of Leon, The Eagles, Mark Knopfler, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Killers, Chris Cornell, Live, Muse, Adam Lambert, Bon Jovi, Michael Buble, Il Divo, The British Invasion featuring the Moody Blues, Sting, Usher and others.
The concert organiser said something similar yesterday of the Bieber visit in May next year to Johannesburg and Cape Town to what he said more than two years ago of the U2 tour: “To warrant a concert, we need a demand. There is just not enough demand in Durban.”
Who can blame him? For him it is business, not cultural propagation.
This was the same city that failed to sell out a Robbie Williams concert in April 2006, when he was selling out worldwide. Those who could not get tickets for the Johannesburg and Cape Town shows bought tickets to the Durban one – as did six German couples who could not see him overseas.
Is it a seaside apathy, or just a laid-back Durban habit of leaving things to the last moment? Or are we simply “lazy and cheap”, as one irked local concert publicist once put it?
Whatever the reason for the limp Durban responses, we have a rotten reputation as an audience to many genres of music and shows.
Those wanting to see Bieber will have the same fate, then, as three Daily News journalists who had to travel up to Johannesburg last weekend for the Lady Gaga concert. Price tag? Much, much more than the seat tickets.
Durban is off the main line and, uncomfortable as it is, has little chance of getting back on to it.