WASHINGTON - Ticketmaster reports "there isn't a seat left anywhere" on the seven-stop Condoleezza Rice "You're Not Gonna Believe This" tour, which opens in London's Royal Albert Hall tonight. The tour-sponsored by Haliburton, Wal-Mart, the Southern Baptist Coalition, the House of Saud, and Black Like Me cosmetics-will also rock Berlin, Warsaw, Ankara, Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Paris.
A two-and-a-half-hour tour de force, each "You're Not Gonna Believe This" show features four costume changes and two-dozen carefully chosen songs that run the gamut from soft rock, great American standards, and Nora Jones covers through Christian rap and novelty tunes such as "Little Pink Houses," which mocks gay marriage. Rice will be accompanied on tour by the Abstinence Singers, the Red State Dancers, and a fourteen-piece orchestra led by John Tesh.
"Condi's totally rocked in rehearsals," said Tesh on VH-1 last night. "Wait until you see her singing Bored in the U.S.A.' in her sequined American flag jump suit. Colin Powell's tired soft shoe routines can't hold a candle to Condi singing They Call Me Brown Sugar' in a halter top and hot pants."
According to a White House source, a fleet of eighteen-wheelers will be required to haul the massive "You're Not Gonna Believe This" stage from stop to stop along the tour. The stage will be flanked by full-scale replicas of Minute Man missiles, and during her encore, "Sympathy for the Dubya," Rice will emerge from a Bradley tank wearing a George Bush mask and a flight suit.
Rolling Stone magazine reports that lighting for the tour will be handled by Skip Duncan, who is on loan from the never-ending Cher retirement tour. "We'll tailor the colors to match the flags of every country we appear in," Duncan told the magazine. "Except on the West Bank, where we'll train blinding white lights on the audience."
Security, of course, will be tight. Concert goers will have to sign a loyalty oath to the United States and agree to have their right index fingers dipped in purple ink to show their solidarity with Iraqis who braved death to vote in that country's recent Diebold-sponsored election.
Critics of the tour have complained about the high cost of tickets, which range from $2,000 for the nose bleed section to $25,000 for the VIP Coalition of the Willing circle in front of the stage. Ticketmaster's CEO Paul Gibbons brushes aside such criticism, however.
"The only people we heard griping were the ones who couldn't afford tickets," said Gibbons. "Even with our usual 150-percent convenience charge, we could have sold out each stop three or four times over. In fact, we considered overbooking the tour the way airlines overbook flights."
In related news, Ticketmaster announced that the Bruce Springsteen "Why Didn't You Vote for a Change" tour has been cancelled because of poor ticket sales. People who bought tickets are reminded that only the cost of the ticket, not the 150-percent convenience charge, is refundable.