Billboard Bits: Springsteen, Judas Priest, Blixa Blargeld

News on Bruce Springsteen, Judas Priest, Blixa Blargeld

BruceBruce Springsteen's three announced concerts at New Jersey's Giants Stadium (July 15, 17, 18) grew to seven over the weekend with subsequent shows (July 21, 24, 26, and 27) being added in pairs as tickets sold quickly. At deadline, tickets to the first three announced shows were completely sold-out. Seats in the stadium's upper level are still available for the remaining four shows via Ticketmaster.

Just over half of the venue's permanent seats will be utilized for these shows, along with reserved seating on the field level, and a small general admission section directly in front of the stage. This differs with fellow New Jersey act Bon Jovi's pair of August concerts at the stadium, which will utilize the full spectrum of the venue's permanent seating in addition to field seats.

Another leg of Springsteen's tour in support of "The Rising" (Columbia) kicked off Friday night in Duluth, Ga. According to fanzine Backstreets, Springsteen has been vocal about his anti-war stance, introducing "Born in the U.S.A." in Georgia by saying he didn't want "to have to write this song again," and opening last night's (March 2) show in Austin, Texas, with a version of Edwin Starr's anthem "War."

After a handful of U.S. shows, the tour will continue on to Australia and New Zealand, Canada, and Europe before returning for a slate of summer U.S. concerts.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

JudasVeteran heavy metal band Judas Priest will release its two-disc concert album "Live in London" April 8 in the U.S. via SPV Records. The 25-song set is a companion to a DVD of the same name released last year; the performance was captured in December 2000 at London's Brixton Academy.

Released in January in Europe, the album features performances that were left off of the DVD. Excerpts of the DVD footage are also included on the enhanced audio disc.

Judas Priest is expected to tour in 2003, although no dates have yet been announced. The band has staunchly denied rumors that it will hit the road with former lead vocalist Rob Halford back in the fold. "Ripper Owens is Judas Priest's vocalist," the band writes on its official Web site, referring to Halford's replacement in the band since 1996. "Nothing has changed!"

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

BlixaNick Cave and the Bad Seeds guitarist/backing vocalist Blixa Bargeld has left the band. The departure draws the curtain on the nearly 20-year collaboration between Cave and Bargeld. "This has been a very difficult decision for me and I have spent a great deal of time thinking about it," says Bargeld in a statement. "My leaving has nothing to do with artistic or personal differences with the band, I just feel it is time to concentrate on other creative areas in my life." Says Cave, "We have parted as friends and we will miss him dearly."

The Bad Seeds' planned tour for early summer in support of their latest Mute album, "Nocturama," will go ahead as scheduled. A replacement for Bargeld has yet to be named. "Nocturama" opened last month at No. 8 on Music & Media's European Top 100 Albums chart, boosted by a strong Scandinavian fan base. The set debuted at No. 20 in the U.K.

To the passing Cave fan, Bargeld is probably best known for his moving duet on "The Weeping Song" from the 1990 release "The Good Son." Bargeld is now expected to train his focus on his seminal experimental act Einsturzende Neubauten, and to a variety of projects in film and theater.

-- Lars Brandle, London