Since hearing "Uncle" Charlie Wilson and Fantasia Barrino were booked to play the 10,000-seat James Brown Arena, I'm convinced the people running it have either no idea who's popular enough to fill the arena, or they really have been hogtied by the local government into not being able to book artists who could actually sell the place out but are the least bit controversial.
Mr. Wilson and Ms. Barrino are exceptionally talented, but how many people showed for their show? Maybe 4,000? If correct, that would've filled the much smaller Bell Auditorium. Why didn't the much more educated, experienced people managing the civic center complex see this?
I only know Mr. Wilson's work with rapper Snoop Dogg. Snoop Dogg -- now there's an international icon who has a forthcoming album and tour. A reasonably priced Snoop Dogg/Charlie Wilson show would sell out the James Brown Arena. Pop sensation Rihanna is an enormously successful mainstream artist with a new album, and she and Ms. Barrino could easily sell the place out.
But Augusta's morality police would never allow Snoop to perform here because of his R-rated lyrics (though we are awash in "perfectly acceptable" R-rated movies), and Rihanna would be censored because her act is way too sexy; she might just inspire me to think life is fantastic!
Indeed, whoever truly controls the situation at the Augusta-Richmond County coliseum complex will yet again sit idly, trying to book Clay Aiken and Toto, as Snoop and Rihanna pass us by selling shows out in Atlanta, Columbia, Greenville, Charlotte and Charleston, generating lots of good times and money for those open-minded places.
You know, it's almost like someone makes more money making the CSRA miserable, while whimsically watching the venerable James Brown Arena fall to pieces.