Critically acclaimed rock band R.E.M. will perform tonight at the Indoor Track and Tennis Center, but Undergraduate Council members expect that receipts from the concert will not cover costs.
"There is concern among council members that ticket sales have not been more enthusiastic." Undergraduate Council Chairman Gregory S. Lyss '85 said yesterday.
$6000 in the Red
About 1000 of 2500 tickets had been sold by yesterday afternoon, meaning that the council could lose as much as $6000.
The council needs to sell 1800 tickets to break even, Lyss said.
If ticket sales fall short, the council will cover the cost of the concert with $4045 from its social fund--but would not be able to sponsor any more events this year, representatives said. The council might also have to appropriate funds from its grants account as well.
"It was stated as a risky venture and now it's proving itself as such," Lyss said.
James M. Barber Jr. '85, music director at WHRB, was instrumental in persuading R.E.M. to schedule the Harvard date. Barber attributed the slow ticket sales to the fact that "Harvard students are too conservative and they're not willing to take a chance."
Tickets, at $8 for Harvard students and $8.50 for the general public, are available in all dining halls, at the University Information Office in Holyoke Center, and also at Ticketron outlets. Any profits will go to the American Cancer Society.
The Council is also counting on donations from area businesses to pay for the $18,000 event, Lyss said.
R.E.M. will play as a replacement for an earlier proposed outdoor concert with the Grateful Dead. Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III vetoed the Dead plans for safety and logistical reasons, and also out of concern for the turf on Harvard Stadium, which will host Olympic soccer quarter-finals this summer.
The four-man band was scheduled to put in an appearance at WHRB's studios in Memorial Hall at 11 p.m. last night, but got tied up in New York and could not make the shuttle, WHRB staffers said.
Tonight's concert comes as the band is gearing up for what has been described as a major tour, to accompany the release of the group's second album, expected in April.
In these efforts, the band can be expected to come under sharp scrutiny by fans and critics, eager to see if the group's acclaimed debut album and touring success were more than a fluke.
That album, "Murmur," was one of the most critically praised of the past year, ranking high in a number of yearend polls.
It remains to be seen, however, whether the band will be able to transcend their status as a favorite solely of college campuses and trendy night clubs and win a broader following--a route the group seems determined to avoid.