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Rain to keep Staples date

June 15, 2007|Chris Lee | Times Staff Writer

South Korean pop superstar Rain may have disappointed legions of fans by postponing several U.S. performances scheduled for this month. But contrary to an announcement made Tuesday by a promoter of his Hawaiian tour stop, the singer -- part of the globally popular "Korean Wave" movement and nicknamed "the Justin Timberlake of Asia" -- will perform as scheduled June 30 at Staples Center, a representative for StarM, Rain's world concert promoter confirmed in a statement.

StarM postponed the singer's dates in Atlanta, New York, San Francisco and Hawaii in part because of an ongoing lawsuit over his stage name. In February, a Reno-based record company, Rain Corp., sued Rain (real name: Jung Ji-hoon), alleging that he cannot use that alias in the U.S. because the company holds the copyright for the name of a Beatles tribute band that's been using that name for decades.

A Nevada district court was expected to issue an injunction on Thursday.

Andy Kim, chief executive of V2B Global, the singer's Los Angeles promoter, said he expected strong ticket sales regardless of what name ultimately appears on the Staples marquee.

"Almost every one of his fans knows him by his real name," Kim said. "It won't affect ticket sales if we advertise him as 'Jung Ji-hoon, the artist formerly known as Rain.' "

Despite erroneous news reports and fan furor throughout the United States, Canada and Asia, almost 70% of the tickets for the Staples Center show had been sold as of Thursday, Kim said.

Logistical problems with the pop star's elaborate stage show also factored into the postponement of other dates on his first American tour.

"His gear has to be flown from Asia and trucked around by 28 18-wheelers," Kim said. "And he travels with a group of 96 people. The biggest problem is that in Asia, you're used to getting four or five days to set up your stage. At Staples Center, I get 18 hours to set up and rip it apart.

"The biggest issue was, we could do it, but would we be able to give 100% at every venue?"

chris.lee@latimes.com

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