When Israel Houghton, Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin and Marvin Sapp combine forces, you can best believe a mighty praise will follow. The four gospel music heavyweights begin a combined tour on September 16th in Phoenix, Arizona, spearheaded by Kirk Frankin, who brought them together and asked Live Nation, the country’s biggest concert promoter to back it. Yet it took a little convincing to launch an all-gospel tour even with four superstars of the genre. Just like getting the concert movie “Kings of Comedy” made some years ago, there were people in the concert business who weren’t sure gospel music was ready for a big-time tour. So this tour becomes a litmus test –if the King’s Men do well, especially in smaller markets, live gospel shows get a big boost. Franklin hopes to see an all-female tour next. Read on for more about the King’s Men.
BORN: Kirk Franklin “birthed” the King’s Men tour by asking the three others to go on the road with him. He then took the idea to Live Nation, the biggest concert promoters in the U.S. with the idea that they could underwrite the tour. They did so and the King’s Men tour is the first ever gospel tour to be sponsored by Live Nation.
BIG BREAK: To prove that gospel had an audience big enough for Live Nation, he invited one of the company’s executives to attend the Stellar Awards with him. When the executive saw the passion of the gospel audience, he told his bosses they should get on board.
BACK STORY: The success – or not – of this tour depends on the turnout. If it succeeds, then there is talk of doing shows at House of Blues type venues with newer artists and mounting an all-female tour with acts like Yolanda Adams and Mary Mary. This tour could have a significant impact on the expansion of gospel music as a live music entity.
Sun, Sep 16 Phoenix, AZ Comerica Theatre
Wed, Sep 19 Los Angeles, CA Gibson Amphitheatre
Sat, Sep 22 Concord, CA Sleep Train Amphitheatre
Tue, Sep 25 Dallas, TX Verizon Theatre At Grand Prairie
Wed, Sep 26 Houston, TX Reliant Arena
Fri, Sep 28 Atlanta, GA Chastain Amphitheatre
Sun, Sep 30 Miami, FL AmericanAirlines Arena
Tue, Oct 02 Tampa, FL USF Sun Dome
Thu, Oct 04 Norfolk, VA Constant Convocation Center
Sat, Oct 06 Washington DC Verizon Center
Sun, Oct 07 Philadelphia, PA Liacouras Center
Tue, Oct 09 Cleveland, OH Wolstein Center
Wed, Oct 10 Chicago, IL United Center
Fri, Oct 12 Detroit, MI Fox Theatre
Sun, Oct 14 Brooklyn, NY Barclays Center
ON TWITTER: @TheKingsMenTour
BEST OF THE KING’S MEN (Video):
“Nothing Is Impossible/Healer/You Hold My World” – Israel Houghton
“We Fall Down” (Live In London)” – Donnie McClurkin
“Never Would Have Made It” – Marvin Sapp
“Imagine Me” Kirk Franklin
“The hope is that the tour does so well that the demand continues to grow. I think if we play it right, and execute it the way we hope, it’s going to be a game changer.” Israel Houghton Associated Press (via The Washington Post) (2012) http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/kings-men-becomes-1st-gospel-concert-tour-backed-by-live-nation-looking-to-pave-way-for-more/2012/08/01/gJQAyJ3uOX_story.html
“It shows that there is an audience there. We’ve done it on our own, out of our own pockets and we’ve done it at a very small level and we’ve been very successful at it, but now, Live Nation is bringing just a-whole-nother level of mass marketing to the table. This just gives people a chance to see what we’ve always believed was there for years: that there’s a big audience for this music and for this type of inspirational entertainment. “ Kirk Franklin Ebony.com (2012) http://www.ebony.com/entertainment-culture/interview-kirk-franklin-talks-new-nationwide-tour-all-the-kings-men