This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
United Concerts, the company, might be at the ripe old age when you'd think its founder would be singing along to elevator music.
Instead, based on the summer schedule at Usana Amphitheatre, company president James C. McNeil appears fully invested in the musical promotion game, with a lineup including past favorites such as Jack Johnson and Toby Keith, as well as new favorites such as Kings of Leon, Ke$ha and Owl City.
McNeil founded United Concerts in 1971 while a student at Westminster College. He's still president, while moving operations from a fraternity dorm room to downtown Salt Lake City offices at 400 East and 400 South.
First concert McNeil promoted? The Byrds at Westminster. A list of other legendary local shows include Led Zeppelin playing at the Terrace Ballroom and the Rolling Stones playing at the Delta Center (on McNeil's 50th birthday, no less).
He also admits to booking shows that turned into disasters, such as a Judas Priest/Slaughter/Anthrax show that bombed at the Salt Palace, as well as another show called "The Gong Show Live" that we'd all best forget.
McNeil has heard just about everything from touring musicians, recalling comments from The Scorpions and Judas Priest that Salt Lake City has the "prettiest groupies." (Is it any wonder The Scorpions are returning this summer?)
He has also learned that if you book Guns N' Roses -- and McNeil has twice -- lead singer Axl Rose shouldn't be expected to leave his dressing room until well after midnight.
Beginning the seventh season of shows at West Valley City's Usana Amphitheatre (after 17 at the venue formerly known as ParkWest), he knows that Utah music fans will turn out for big shows -- such as U2 at Rice-Eccles Stadium this summer. "If a band does 40 shows, we're probably in the mix," he said.
Over the years, longtime staff members David McKay, vice president, and Teresa Mooney, vice president of marketing, have helped McNeil expand the company.
McKay said it's the creature comforts provided for musicians and fans that have kept both coming back to United Concerts and the Usana Amphitheatre. Business relationships might be why muscians such as Johnson, John Mayer, Brad Paisley and Montgomery Gentry return to Usana -- and why the Dave Matthews Band is playing an unheard-of free show this summer after canceling its last two concerts at the venue.
So while hitting 40 might be considered a death knell in a business based on attitude, maybe it's a better fit to consider United Concerts as holding back the years at age 18, while gathering 22 years of experience along the way.
May 8 » Cinco de Mayo: Tech N9Ne, Baby Bash, Kurupt, The New Boyz, Kevin Rudolf, Ja-bar
June 12 » Throwdown Tour: Montgomery Gentry / Little Big Town / Jack Ingram and more
July 12 » Lilith: Sarah McLachlan / Rihanna / Miranda Lambert / Emmylou Harris / Ke$ha and many more
July 19 » Kings of Leon
July 21 » 311 / The Offspring / Pepper
July 30 » Tim McGraw / Lady Antebellum / LOVE and THEFT
Aug. 5 » An Evening with Rush
Aug. 13 » Jack Johnson / G Love / ALO
Aug. 14 » Toby Keith / Trace Adkins
Aug. 16 » Scorpions / Tesla / Jackyl
Aug. 17 » Dave Matthews Band / Brett Dennen
Aug. 31 » John Mayer / Owl City
Sept. 15 » Uproar Tour: Disturbed / Avenged Sevenfold / Stone Sour
Sept. 24 » Brad Paisley / Darius Rucker
Tickets available at SmithsTix outlets or by calling 801-467-8499. Prices vary based on seating, and where purchased.