Big & Rich to play Lewiston’s Colisee

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LEWISTON — Country music duo Big & Rich is coming to the Colisee.

The “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” guys — Big Kenny Alphin and John Rich — will headline WPOR radio’s “Jingle Jam 2014” at the Lewiston arena on Dec. 11.

“It’s a pretty big get for the Colisee,” said Jim Mercier, who serves as the Lewiston arena’s box office manager and works on its event planning and marketing.

The national act, along with opener Danielle Bradbury of TV’s “The Voice,” is expected to bring brisk business to the Colisee when tickets go on sale Friday morning.

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It’s needed, Mercier said.

“It’s a little slow,” he said Tuesday. “These next couple of months will be a proving point with the Colisee.”

In September, plans were scuttled to return junior hockey to the arena when the Northern States Junior Hockey League suspended the operations of the Maine Timberwolves.

They were set to play a 16-game schedule in Lewiston.

The Colisee has been trying to fill that void ever since. Public skating hours, mixed martial arts fights, conventions and other events are planned.

Mercier has also put together a rock concert featuring New York-based Kiss tribute band, Kiss It, with openers including Portland’s Fifth Freedom and Lewiston-Auburn’s The Veggies.

All will help put the arena’s 60 part-time staff to work, but it’s not the regular business that a team brings.

“Right now, we won’t be seeing (the full group of part-timers) for another month,” Mercier said. “We’d like to see them five or six times a month.”

Meanwhile, the Colisee is working to bring hockey back.

“We’ve had meetings with a couple of different teams and leagues to discuss possibilities for next year,” Mercier said. “There is even the possibility that we might finish the year with a team.”

Until then, concerts like the Jingle Jam, WPOR radio’s annual Christmas concert, will help.

For that show, the venue will be at full staff and, hopefully, sold out, Mercier said.

Plans call for more than 4,200 tickets to be available.

The stature of Big & Rich ought to draw a big audience, said concert promoter Alex Gray of Waterfront Concerts.

“Big & Rich is in a unique position currently because they’ve got a top-20 track (“Look at You”) in current country,” Gray said. Meanwhile, they’ve been around long enough that they also have a reputation as a heritage act. “Old and young alike seem to like them.”

Both men have recorded solo albums and worked on other projects. Rich won TV’s “Celebrity Apprentice” in 2011.

In 2005, the duo drew more than 2,000 people to the Auburn Wal-Mart for an autograph session.

Their current album, “Gravity,” was released Sept. 23.

Tickets for the Jingle Jam concert are scheduled to go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday. Prices are between $21.75 and $47.75.

dhartill@sunjournal.com

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