The Black Keys cancel US arena tour amid rumours of poor ticket sales: "Intimate" alternative promised

The Black Keys studio portrait
(Image credit: Larry Niehues)

The Black Keys have cancelled their upcoming US tour. The duo, who recently completed a tour of Europe, were scheduled to begin the US leg of their International Players Tour at the BOK Center in Tulsa, OK, on September 17, with another 30 dates to follow. 

On Saturday, the list of shows was removed from the Black Keys' website and from Ticketmaster, and the initial absence of an official announcement led to much speculation as to why the dates had been shelved. Today, the band released a statement on social media.

The statement read: "The band wants to assure everyone that Dan & Patrick are alive and well.

"Following the recent run of shows in the UK & Europe, including stops at iconic venues like Brixton Academy and the Zenith in Paris, we have decided to make some changes to the North American leg of the International Players Tour that will enable us to offer a similarly exciting, intimate experience for both fans and the band, and will be announcing a revised set of dates shortly.

"Everyone who had purchased tickets and/or VIP to the initial tour dates will be fully refunded - and when the new plans are announced, will be the first to be able to buy tickets. Thank you for your understanding and apologies for the surprise change… We’re pretty sure everyone is going to be excited when you see what we have in mind though, and look forward to seeing everyone soon."

The use of the word "intimate" in the statement suggests that the band may be downsizing from the arena venues initially booked, and fans have been quick to criticise the pricing of the original shows. One poster on Reddit shared a screengrab that purports to show a vast number of unsold seats at the 14,000 CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore, MD, where the Black Keys were scheduled to perform in early November.

The Black Keys released their latest album, Ohio Players, last month. Their only remaining scheduled live appearance is at the NASCAR Street Race in Chicago on July 6.

Is this tour selling at all? from r/TheBlackKeys
Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.