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Summer events start to heat up 

We’re still waiting for the music concert announcement — this year’s Eric Clapton or Dave Matthews show, or a return to the big-name amphitheater shows of the past, or the second rescheduling of Alison Krauss — that will have us scrambling for a line to Ticketmaster while pulling us out of the summer doldrums. Not to take anything away from such legendary figures as Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, who play Ray Winder Field on July 2, but it’s not like they’ve never played here. In fact, while we might have thought in the 1980s that Dylan would never play this burg, he’s making his fourth visit in the past 15 or so years, and the third in the past five. And we remember the afternoon many many years ago, before “On the Road Again,” when a few of us then-college students were drinking pitchers at the old Swinging Door in Fayetteville and some ragged ol’ coot came in with guitar and started playing. Said his name was Willie something or other. He was pretty good, as I recall. Next time he came through Arkansas, to the then spanking new Pine Bluff Convention Center, you could barely cop a ticket. Down the road, in September, Motley Crue is supposed to be coming to Alltel, if the band’s members don’t kill each other first. And Alison Krauss really does want to play here, we’re told; she really has had throat problems both times her Union Station Featuring Jerry Douglas tour was supposed to play here. Look for an announcement soon that the show will be played in late July. That’s all we know about music. There were rumors weeks back that Staind and 3 Doors Down (a somewhat strange pairing in my view) were going out together for an amphitheater tour, but that seems to be on the sidelines. A Nine Inch Nails tour with System of a Down has been bandied about. Green Day is playing every medium size market in this area but Little Rock, which doesn’t make much sense, being that Jason White, the group’s road guitarist, is from here. But when “American Idiot” sales went wild, so did Green Day’s concert price demands, we hear. A winning show suddenly looked a little risky for the smaller markets like us. In the meantime, a variety of unusual spectacles are headed this way, beginning next week with back-to-back events at Alltel Arena. Having noted the popularity of Tony Hawk’s Play Station 2 game among the teens (including our nephew), we’re particularly intrigued by the Tony Hawk Boom Boom Huckjam Tour that appears at Alltel on Friday, July 1. Hawk will be here, along with many of his best skateboarders, BMXers and free-style motocross riders. Tickets range from $21.75 to $76.75, though, unlike Arena Football 2, I’m not sure the first two rows are that advantageous here. Showtime is 7 p.m. On Wednesday, June 29, the And 1 Streetball Live Tour plays Alltel Arena. These are supposedly the best playground basketball players anywhere, and they’ll even take on locals. Hip-hop music will be blaring throughout. Tickets range from $18.75 to $51.75. The hooping begins at 7:30 p.m. For both shows, call Ticketmaster (975-7575 or www.ticketmaster.com). And, as for Dylan and Willie, of course we’ll be there. There are some guys you just know you can depend on. If you’re looking for tickets (they’re $50), call the Arkansas Travelers’ office at 664-1555 or Ticketmaster.
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