Kevin Costner and his band Modern West are coming to Wyoming, playing two nights at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar next week, Oct. 18 and 19. Tickets went on sale at 10 a.m. Wednesday. By 10:14 a.m., they were gone.
“That’s the fastest sellout for a double show (two dates, back-to-back),” said talent buyer Justin Smith. “Hank [Williams Jr.] sold out in two minutes, but that was during COVID with far less seating.”
Costner, of course, has the kind of name recognition that overloads circuits at Ticketmaster and the like. The star of the hit TV series “Yellowstone” also has carved out a long and successful career on the big screen both in front of and behind the camera.
Star Power Onstage
The matinee idol known for his roles in films like “Field of Dreams,” “The Bodyguard” and “Dances with Wolves” launched his music career in 2007 with encouragement from his wife, Christine.
Kevin Costner & Modern West kicked off a worldwide tour that same year, playing limited dates. The country group later released a studio album, “Untold Truths,” in 2008 to mixed reviews; some critics calling it a movie star vanity project, others finding the work “intriguing.”
Fast-forward to 2023. The project has resulted in five studio releases, the latest being “Tales from Yellowstone” — songs told from the perspective of Costner’s character John Dutton. The group has toured sparingly and not really at all since 2021.
The two shows in Jackson are the only ones scheduled for 2023.
“We’re looking at this as a popup show even though we’ve been working on this for a while. When it finally came into being, we had to keep it super hush-hush because we didn’t want to get in our own way with ‘Cowgirls at the Cowboy,’” Smith said, referring to last weekend’s three-day all-female country weekend highlighted by featured artist ACM Female Artist of the Year Lauren Alaina.
When the deal went down, it happened fast.
“Our partner in Nashville, Steve Robinson, really made this happen,” Smith said. “He’s been with us for seven years. He has a ton of connections in the industry. Costner’s been on our radar for a while and finally Steve worked his magic.”
Smith never sweated the limited lead time to market the show. He knew tickets — priced from $100 to $500 — would go fast. Smith gauged potential audience interest using another actor/musician from “Yellowstone” as a barometer.
“We did Luke Grimes not too long ago. People were very interested in that. It sold out,” Smith said. “Seeing the reaction of Luke Grimes, I thought, ‘Let’s multiply that by 10.’”
Alt-country artists in the brooding singer-songwriter vibe like Zach Bryan, Sturgill Simpson, Tyler Childers, Colter Wall and Ryan Bingham have all found success having their music featured on “Yellowstone.” Costner’s music also has been featured on the show.
Legendary Actor At A Legendary Honky-Tonk
The booking is a major coup for the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. When Tennessean Bill Baxter bought the iconic honky-tonk in downtown Jackson in 2017, he said one of his goals was to put the Cowboy “on the map” as a destination venue for nationally known artists.
With Smith’s booking prowess, the Cowboy has since brought in major concerts featuring artists like the Oak Ridge Boys, Hank Williams Jr., Midland, Clint Black, Josh Turner, Jo Dee Messina and more.
“With the help of Steve Robinson, I think the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is now on the bucket list of many performers as a place they’d like to play someday,” Smith said.
Costner is taking time away from his work on the multi-faceted chronicle “Horizon: An American Saga,” due for release in 2024.
There are a couple things those lucky concert-goers should watch for on Oct. 18 and 19. On is, will Costner incorporate any onstage showmanship ala Taylor Swift?
The critically acclaimed actor, director and producer took his daughter to a Swift show in August.
“I was absolutely blown away watching her art bring so many people together,” Costner posted on Facebook. “I had a great view of her band and had a blast watching them, too. An inspiring night. I’m officially a Swiftie!”
Also, will Costner top off his Jackson shows with a traditional champagne toast?
Previous tours have included an encore of Costner remaining onstage as his band exits. A roadie hands him a bottle of bubbly and the movie star toasts everyone in attendance with heartfelt thanks for being there.