Backwash

David Barber comes out of his COMA.

From the beginning, Kroenke maintained that CityLights would not impede the Paramount's ability to do business. An exclusivity contract with House of Blues Concerts, which expires in 2005, suggests that the theater's marquee (itself slated for restoration by the new owners) won't go dark in the short term. And three years from now, industry observers expect Clear Channel to take over the Paramount's booking, which will certainly simplify things for the Kroenke camp: As it stands, Kroenke Sports is now bound to both armies in the local concert-promotions war. (Don't expect to see House of Blues head Barry Fey and Clear Channel's Chuck Morris chatting over cheese doodles at the company picnic.)

Such rivalries no longer concern Ship; the curtain has officially closed on his decade-long tenure in the entertainment industry. "There's no question that I will miss parts of it," he says.

The Paramount Foundation, which operates the theater, may not miss him; members had repeatedly characterized Ship as a negligent landlord. Kroenke has already promised to undertake a massive restoration and improvement project at the 72-year-old theater, which is a designated historic landmark.

According to Ship, the terms of the sale prohibit comment on almost everything else related to the deal. And while he's never been shy about speaking to the media, he seems almost glad for the imposed silence. "I really am not allowed to say anything about it at all, as a courtesy to all involved," he explains. "Let's just say that it went well and it ended well. And everything that came before is moot."

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