Tweeter Center changes name.....again


March 3, 2006


First it was the World Music Theatre. Then it was the New World Music Theatre. Eventually it became the Tweeter Center. Now the 30,000-capacity outdoor music venue 35 miles south of the Chicago Loop has its fourth name during its 16-year existence.

The local office of the also recently renamed giant national concert promoter Live Nation -- formerly Elevated Music, previously Clear Channel Entertainment, but before that SFX -- announced Thursday that the Tinley Park shed has a new corporate sponsor and hence a new name: First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre.

Unfortunately for concertgoers, the venue likely will continue to have the same problems with mediocre sound quality, sightlines and traffic, though Live Nation pledges that the new sponsorship will enable unspecified "fan-focused service and refreshing structural updates."

Through the 1980s, when the Poplar Creek Music Theater in Hoffman Estates was the Chicago area's only outdoor concert facility, it hosted an average of 50 concerts each season. For several years after the World opened in 1990, it hosted about 30 shows a year, while Poplar continued to host about 20.

Poplar closed its doors in 1994, leaving the World/- Tweeter Center as the only local outdoor amphitheatre. But concert industry sources said the renamed First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre will probably host only about 15 shows in the summer of 2006.

In recent years, the venue has had increasing difficulty filling its summer concert calendar, as more touring acts opt to play indoors or at smaller, more pleasant and better-sounding outdoor venues, including the 8,000-capacity Charter One Pavilion on Northerly Island, which Live Nation launched with considerable fanfare last year.

Live Nation also owns the 40,000-capacity Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wis., which has had only one name since it opened in 1975.

At its press conference, Live Nation also announced its first concerts for the summer of 2006: Jimmy Buffett will perform at Alpine Valley on June 10 and at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre on Aug. 5.