Eighties music is back in San Antonio, and nothing reflects it more than the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts’ recent spate of ’80s concert announcements: Culture Club, Duran Duran and New Edition. Next week, ’80s star John Waite (“Missing You”) plays a storytellers-style show at the Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater at the Tobin Center on May 22.
Last summer, Huey Lewis and the News played John T. Floore Country Store and attracted about 2,200 fans on a Sunday night. It really is “Hip to Be Square” again. The Tobin Center saw overwhelming enthusiasm and fast sales for Erasure, Pat Benatar, Billy Idol and other ’80s concerts. Crowds at these various shows are mostly Gen-Xers reliving their youth and millennials who’ve “discovered” the New Wave era of big hair, Spandex and synth and drum machine-driven pop and deemed it retro and cool. “If there’s one trend that we’ve seen that continually works, it’s ’80s,” said Aaron Zimmerman, Tobin Center vice president of marketing and programming, He books the 1,700-capacity venue with an eye toward “casting a wide net.” Duran Duran is the fastest-selling show in the Tobin’s hit-and-miss 21-month history. Tickets sold out in nine minutes.