Billboard Bits: Tim McGraw, Sexsmith/Coldplay, 'Oz'

News on Tim McGraw, Sexsmith/Coldplay, 'Oz'

Groove ArmadaCountry star Tim McGraw made a promise of gifts to his band if "Tim McGraw & the Dancehall Doctors" sold more than half-a-million copies in its first week of release. Indeed, the Curb set moved 602,000 copies during Thanksgiving week, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and debuted at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 and Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. So far, "Tim McGraw & the Dancehall Doctors" has sold 1.1 million copies.

At a celebratory dinner Wednesday (Dec. 18) night in Nashville, McGraw kept his promise, saying, "I enjoy listening to this record over and over again because I am listening to my very best friends," and presented the members of the band with Harley Davidson motorcycles and vintage cars.

Motorcycles were waiting for fiddler Dean Brown, drummer Billy Mason, and guitarist/bandleader/album co-producer Darran Smith, while steel guitarist Denny Hemingson stepped into a 1968 Impala SS, keyboardist Jeff McMahon received a 1969 Corvette, multi-instrumentalist Bob Minner netted a 1964 Chevelle El Camino, percussionist David Dunkley revved up a 1968 Ford Galaxie convertible, and bassist John Marcus was able to drive off in a 1981 Corvette.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Groove ArmadaAcclaimed Canadian singer/songwriter Ron Sexsmith has been tapped to open the first leg of U.K. modern rock act Coldplay's upcoming North American tour. Sexsmith, who will be touring in support of his latest album, "Cobblestone Runway" (Nettwerk), will hook up with the band for the tour kickoff Jan. 21 in Orlando, Fla., and stick with the run through a Feb. 9 show in Phoenix.

Coldplay will resume the tour Feb. 24 in Ottawa and last through a March 13 gig in Minneapolis; an opening act for the second leg has not been announced.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

In the tradition of audience participation spawned by cult favorite "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," the film classic "The Wizard of Oz" is getting an interactive-audience incarnation. "Sing-A-Long Wizard of Oz" will be a touring production of the movie in which audience members can dress up as the movies characters and sing along to the film.

"Sing-A-Long Wizard of Oz" makes its world premiere Jan. 4, 2003, at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre in Chicago, and is expected to run there through March. The tour will later head to New York, London, Los Angeles, Boston, Denver, and Washington, D.C., throughout the year. The movie will be shown in its original big-screen format, along with digital technology improvements, and the audience will receive props such as noisemakers and wands. There will also be a costume parade and contest as part of the experience.

Clear Channel Entertainment, the Nederlander Organization, and Warner Bros. Theatrical are among the companies that are producing the event. Ticket purchase and more information is available at or at the show's official Web site.

-- Carla Hay, N.Y.


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