Friday, July 10, 2009

How did Lodi get George Thorogood?

There’s excitement building in Lodi for the July 24 Grape Bowl concert by George Thorogood & the Destroyers. But how exactly did this concert come about?

The main reason is the City has an experienced facilities manager on staff. James Rodems (pictured to the right) has been director of Lodi’s Community Center for roughly 2 ½ years. He previously served as a facilities manager for private and public entities. He’s now also serving as Lodi’s interim parks and recreation director, overseeing the Grape Bowl. Because of his experience, he sees the Grape Bowl from another point of view.

“We’ve had this long, belabored process trying to figure out what the do with the Grape Bowl,” Rodems said. “What do people think the Grape Bowl is? People think it’s something for football games. Experienced facility managers will walk into that venue and they will tell you it is limitless in its uses.

“So how do you convince the public it’s limitless? You do something other than a sporting event in there.”

Promoter Peter Koulouris brought veteran rocker Dave Mason to Hutchins Street Square in November and was impressed with the work of Lodi’s staff, Rodems said. Meanwhile, Rodems began toying with the idea of a Grape Bowl concert and contacted Koulouris in early 2009.

Later, Koulouris and co-promoter Troy Gotschall began looking for acts and found that Thorogood would be available.

“(Koulouris) said he thought this was the act that would fit in the venue and appeal to a large segment of Lodi’s population,” Rodems said.

Rodems said if 2,000 people buy tickets, which sell for $29 plus a nominal service charge, the show will be a success from the City’s view.

“It’s all to show that it can be done,” Rodems said. “What we want is to make sure we get the mechanics of this event down so we can do it again.”

The concert is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 24. Highway 61 Blues Band is the opener, Stray Cats co-founder Lee Rocker's band is the support act, followed by Thorogood, who has a new album scheduled for release in the days after the show.

Tickets are available at the Hutchins Street Square box office or at

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