Barely two weeks after debuting at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart with his covers album Mis Ídolos, Hoy Mis Amigos, regional Mexican star Julión Álvarez y su Norteña Band have announced an ambitious U.S. tour playing mostly arenas in 22 cities.
The Mis Ídolos…Hoy Mis Amigos! tour kicks off July 15 at the SAP Center in San José, Ca., with tickets on sale May 13. From there, the tour heads out to The Forum in Los Angeles (July 16), Viejas Arena in San Diego (July 17), Toyota Center in Houston (July 22) and 18 other cities on both coasts. This will mark the first time Álvarez, whose music is a sometimes irreverent, sometimes romantic mix of traditional Mexican banda and norteño, will play venues like The Theater at MSG in New York City (July 30) and Eagle Bank Arena in Washington, DC (July 31).
It’s all part of what promoter CMN has been touting as a new way of promoting regional Mexican music, the top selling Latin music genre in the U.S.
“In 2016, regional Mexican music is going to have the same level as pop music,” CMN president/CEO Henry Cárdenas told Billboard last year. “The top regional Mexican acts will be playing arenas.”
The top acts certainly include Álvarez, who to date has notched three No. 1s on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart and five No. 1s on Regional Mexican Airplay. Last year, Alvarez was the top-selling regional Mexican artist of the year, according to Nielsen Music.
Still, the move to an arena tour is novel, and unprecedented; although established regional Mexican acts like Vicente Fernandez and Juan Gabriel (who is also considered a pop artist) play arenas, no norteño/banda acts have been known to do so on such a large scale.
While regional Mexican music is probably the most lucrative subgenre of Latin music when it comes to touring in this country, the vast majority of the shows take place in large convention centers, community centers and clubs, where dancing is as important as drinking.
Taking these shows to arenas marks a departure in how they’re promoted and purchased.
“I think ‘dances’ are going to see a drastic change,” says Cárdenas. “And fans are going to want to sit down in an arena with great production values, air conditioning and a good seat.”