WITH ALL due respect, the question in the title of this show begs one further question: “And Should We Care?”
Arthur Fogel is portrayed here as the man who turned popular music tours into Olympian events. He wasn’t alone in this pursuit, but director Ron Chapman argues persuasively that he was one of those who did it on the grandest and most effective scale.
Fogel himself is now the head of global touring for Live Nation, the 800-pound tour gorilla that sells 50 million tickets a year.
He’s a Canadian businessman and drummer who seems genuinely uninterested in making himself the story. Even in this documentary, he makes only periodic reluctant appearances. He seems pleasant enough, but mostly we see other people describing him as a visionary genius.
Fogel’s breakthrough was rolling the dice on the 1989 Rolling Stones “Steel Wheels” tour. He has since gone on to produce U2’s “360,” Madonna’s “Sweet and Sticky,” the Police reunion and more.
He’s had misfires, including Diana Ross and Guns ’N Roses, but in general he has been a central force in changing the concert business from a local game to an international industry.
This has been good for him and for Live Nation, obviously. Based on what we see here, it’s been good for artists, too, because he can create a production that showcases an artist’s music in spectacular ways.
What’s not emphasized is who pays for this, which is us, the people who have to sell their children to afford a concert ticket or who simply had to give concerts up.
That’s the tradeoff.
Arthur Fogel is one of the primary guys who brokered it. That’s why we should care. Or not.