The critically acclaimed art-rock band Steely Dan, alternative favorites the Spin Doctors and Screaming Trees and several major country music acts top the bill in Star Lake Amphitheatre's initial summer lineup. So far, more than 15 shows are confirmed for the summer season, which begins with a performance by Hank Williams Jr. on May 22.
According to Star Lake promoters, negotiations continue with as many as 15 additional acts.
As in previous years, the earliest confirmed acts are classic rock staples with a proven commercial draw in venues like Star Lake. Jimmy Buffett, the Moody Blues, Barry Manilow, Chicago and the double jazz bill of Al Jarreau and David Sanborn have tremendous drawing power and a solid following among baby boomers, the vast majority of Star Lake's audience.
Also, there are tantalizing hints that big names are waiting in the wings -- and a belief that Pittsburgh has as good a chance as any city to snag some of them when they begin touring this summer. These possibilities include Peter Gabriel, Van Morrison, Sade, Lollapalooza, a second leg of the Prince tour and experimental package tours of bands with smaller followings.
"We can't talk about who we're still trying to get," said Rich Engler of DiCesare-Engler Productions.
"If word of the negotiations got out we'd be at the mercy of agents who would charge more. We don't want to disappoint anybody."
Here's a rundown of what's already been confirmed:
-- May 22: Hank Williams Jr. with Aaron Tippin and Lee Roy Parnell
-- June 6: Spin Doctors with Screaming Trees
-- June 13: Chicago
-- June 27: Alabama with Restless Heart and Lari White
-- July 10: Moody Blues with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Orchestra
-- July 14: Barry Manilow
-- July 29: Temptations and Four Tops
-- Aug. 1: Al Jarreau and David Sanborn
-- Aug. 15: Steely Dan
-- Aug. 20: Jimmy Buffett
-- Aug. 31: Clint Black
-- Oct. 7: Travis Tritt with Trisha Yearwood and Little Texas
-- Other acts confirmed for the 1993 but with no announced dates yet are: 10,000 Maniacs, veteran metal supergroup Coverdale-Page, Bon Jovi, Kenny G., Van Halen and Poison
"This year's lineup is just as good as last year's," Engler said. ''(DiCeasar-Engler's) focus is more with Star Lake since there aren't any major stadium shows on the horizon this year."
But Deadheads, Stones fans and Prince fanatics need not despair. Pittsburgh is managing to pull in the same amphitheater acts as other cities. While he won't confirm future bookings, Engler is optimistic that the concert season at Star Lake will be as eclectic as last year, which was Star Lake's most critically and commercially successful year since opening in 1990.
"We're thrilled to get Steely Dan," he said, predicting that the show will do phenomenally.
"They're one of my favorite bands," he said of the group that recently re-formed after a decade of idleness.
Most tickets will cost between $15 and $20 with many specials and group rates available for most shows. Children younger than 12 will be admitted to select shows free.
Tickets for many of the shows will go on sale tomorrow at Ticketmasters, selected National Record Marts, Giant Eagles, Kaufmann's and by phone at 323-1919. Call 947-7827 today for up-to-date ticket information and to find out when they go on sale.