Clear Channel spin-off LiveNation has made some improvements to Shoreline Amphitheatre (including knocking the price of beers down from $6 to $5) in anticipation of bringing in more acts this year after a number of pretty subpar seasons.
One of the charges in the City of Mountain View's lawsuit is that Clear Channel subsidiary Bill Graham Presents threatened to divert shows to other amphitheatres if it didn't get permission to sell the naming rights to the venue. This seems to fit in well with other local landlords' experience with BGP. San Francisco's Warfield is suing the company for selling naming rights it didn't own, making good on a threat to "fuck that place up" in order to punish the owners for not renewing the company's lease. In Concord, BGP announced that a new lease agreement that included the naming rights of the Concord Pavilion would lead directly to more shows, (none more important The Boss).
BGP/LiveNation is obivously going to direct shows to places where it's most profitable for them, but diverting shows in order to hold public agencies hostage is a serious matter. The company says that most of the fluctuation in the number of concerts is simply reflective of the status of the concert industry nationwide. Unfortunately, as the two sides near a settlement, any evidence (or lack thereof) of intentional wrongdoing at the amphitheater is likely to remain confidential. The city has made no indication as to what they're going to do with the money.
One interesting feature of the concert schedule (which is not complete yet) is none of the shows sponsored by Clear Channel-owned radio stations (KMEL, KUFX) appear to be on the schedule. According to the city's original audit, the company was holding these so-called four-wall shows without authorization and then sending all the revenue to the station so that it did not have to report it or pay a percentage of it to the city. This means more driving for the dozens of us who are vaguely interested in seeing the remnants of the Greg Kihn band perform live again this year.