As the President of North America’s biggest indie concert promoter, Charlie Goldstone has helped stage massive rock tours. Big arena outings like Five Finger Death Punch, a 2016 trek for KISS and a sold out Metallica show to help open U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
But like all those who came before him, Goldstone had to pay his dues, which explains how he came to find himself in the parking lot of the New World Music Theatre in Tinley Park, Illinois during the magic summer of 1999.
“My job was essentially to camp out a mile away from the venue with a db meter and write down in a journal whenever a plane or truck would go by,” he said. “I was looking for anything that would cause a spike in the meter so that the neighboring town couldn’t sue the shed for violating the noise ordinance.”
From there Goldstone went on to work at Riverport Amphitheatre in St. Louis as a production assistant and later Belkin Productions in Cleveland before moving to New York to work at Island Def Jam Records.
In 2007 he was introduced to Larry Frank, one half of the duo that is Frank Productions. Goldstone said he liked the company’s indie spirit, explaining “Frank Productions was run the way things used to be run” before the Live Nation rollup.
“Everything was lean and mean,” he said. “We were a small office, but we were still doing big things.”
Amplify recently caught up with Goldstone to discuss his five most memorable shows and how they shaped his career and his life as one of the country’s biggest indie rock promoters.
Metallica at Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque
October 23, 2009
It was the second night of the US Death Magnetic Tour and we had just gone from a really nice arena in Arizona to a rodeo barn in New Mexico. I’m not sure why the band wanted to play the venue and we had no business trying to cram a 15-truck show into that place. Through the course of the day, among other “challenges” we blew up three generators and fried the pyro control board. The band and crew took it in stride and were ready to do the whole show with the house lights on. We pulled it off somehow — the place was packed to the tin and it turned out to be an amazing show.
Eric Church at Alliant Energy Center in Madison
January 26, 2012
We promoted Eric’s first arena tour in 2012 at a time when not everyone was paying him the attention he deserved. People thought we were crazy for doing arenas and the radio people we worked with couldn’t believe we were making that kind of leap. But Eric didn’t care — that was who he was as a performer, just giving the middle finger to anyone that told him he couldn’t do it. The first night of the tour was in our hometown of Madison, playing to a sold-out crowd. The energy in that room was unforgettable, as was the sea of empty plastic cups left behind.
Brantley Gilbert at Schottenstein Center in Columbus
April 27, 2013
We met Brantley when he was was opening for Eric. He’s another super hardworking artist that puts on a really unique live show. He headlined his first arena tour in 2013 and Columbus was like lightning in a bottle, selling over 10,000 tickets. Brantley is such a humble guy and I could tell how much the night meant to him as he stood on stage taking in the crowd. When I first met him, we were doing door deals in clubs and selling out. Within a four-year cycle, he went from clubs to arenas. People just love him. They were screaming so loud in Columbus that the sound from the audience would over take him, but he just worked even harder and delivered an amazing performance.
Santana at Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee
October 8, 2014
My dad taught me a lot about classic rock. The first show he ever took me to was Santana and I just remember looking at this huge wall of percussion he had brought with this drummer that just kicked ass the whole show. Years later I would promote a Santana date in Chicago and did something I rarely was able to do at my events. I found a seat, relaxed and watched the entire show. He’s one of my favorite artists to see live. The night I saw him in Milwaukee, he was at his very best. He had an All-Star band in a great room with a perfect vibe. I think he played close to three hours, all the old stuff. It was incredible.
Five Finger Death Punch & Volbeat at US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids
September 20, 2014
We had two amazing hard rock headliners on a Saturday night in Cedar Rapids which is a real rock and roll town. Not only was it sold out, we broke the venue’s attendance record. The band brought Fred and Renee Frank and I on stage for a photo and since we sold the entire venue general admission, from the stage it looked like everyone was on top of each other ( it was perfectly safe though). It was loud, sweaty, boozy, and all around awesome.