Danny Zelisko on Today and Tomorrow in Scottsdale
September 7, 2023
Billy discusses the concert promoting industry with Chicago native Danny Zelisko, being inducted as one White Castle’s Cravers Wall of Fame, a list that also includes John Prine, Alice Cooper, Tommy Shaw from Styx, among others, and promoting shows which included Steve Goodman opened for Bob Seger and John Prine opening for Sting with both John and Steve performing solo. More about Danny Zelisko: Danny Zelisko began promoting concerts in Arizona in 1974. He founded the legendary concert promoting firm called Evening Star Productions, that brought worldwide attention to the youngest state on the US mainland, by the entertainment industry. He became known as one of the world’s best promoters and talent buyers, a true rainmaker when it comes to discovering and booking talent in all sorts of situations. Beginning with promoting concerts at Dooley’s Nightclub (700 capacity) in Tempe, Zelisko and his team promoted hundreds of new and veteran bands in facilities across the valley. Acts such as The Police, Cheap Trick, Pat Benatar, Talking Heads, KISS, Bon Jovi, No Doubt, and Nirvana (among many others) performed at the intimate venue from its opening in 1976, until it closed after several ownership and name changes (aka After the Gold Rush and Electric Ballroom) in the mid-1990′s. Nightclub concerts by recording stars began happening all over the country, with Zelisko leading his territory in this area of booking. In the 1980′s Zelisko’s company and staff grew. He became the state’s most prominent concert promoter, producing hundreds of shows each year, while also becoming New Mexico’s busiest promoter. Evening Star also promoted shows in almost every state in the USA during the 80′s and 90′s, while promoting shows in every venue, small and large alike, all over the southwest, including Vets Memorial Coliseum, the original home of the Phoenix Suns, then America West Arena, now known as US Airways Center. Pink Floyd and Paul McCartney were among the stadium events promoted by Evening Star. In 1990, Evening Star began promoting shows in the Desert Sky Amphitheatre, with its grand opening show with Billy Joel. The facility has undergone several name changes, including Blockbuster Pavilion, Cricket Amphitheatre, Ashley Furniture Homestore Pavilion, and finally now known as Ak-Chin Pavilion. By the year 2000, consolidation of concert promoters began by SFX, as they bought up many of the country’s biggest promoters, including Bill Graham Presents from San Francisco, Electric Factory from Philadelphia, Don Law from Boston, Pace Concerts from Texas, and many more. Evening Star joined the ranks of these fabled promoters, by selling to SFX in 2001. Zelisko became President of the Southwest office of SFX. A few years later, Clear Channel Communications bought SFX, and Zelisko and his staff became part of Clear Channel Entertainment. In 2006, Clear Channel spun the entertainment division and all of its promoters and venues into what is now called Live Nation, where Zelisko remained as President and then Chairman of Live Nation Southwest, until he left his post in 2011, to begin promoting shows as Danny Zelisko Presents. Zelisko’s focus has always been on putting the right acts in the right places at the right time with the right ticket prices in order to maintain fun and excitement for audiences and artists alike. DZP continues to bring top name acts to the Phoenix area, as well as Las Vegas and Albuquerque.
Prine Time is a monthly podcast hosted by Nashville bluesman deluxe Billy Prine (the younger brother of the late, great John Prine) and roots music producer Michael Dinallo. Prine Time is co-produced by Jonathan E. Mitchell. On Prine Time, we discuss interesting subjects pertaining to music, arts, places, people and things that we have seen and heard. Some we haven’t heard yet. Some we may never hear. But we guarantee you’ll be glad you joined us! We welcome you to get comfortable, grab a refreshment and sit back for the next 30 minutes or so and enjoy a little bit of paradise.