There is perhaps no hotter Latin music tour going on in the U.S. right now than RBD’s Soy Rebelde tour, which will ultimately have the Mexican pop group play 54 arena and stadium dates across the United States, Colombia, Brazil and Mexico by the end of the year.
The highly-anticipated reunion tour — RBD disbanded in 2008 and have not played together since — is the brainchild of Guillermo Rosas, the Mexican-born manager and promoter who produced RBD’s international tours nearly two decades ago. Rosas — who also manages Chiquis Rivera, Estemán and Edith Márquez, among others — has been doggedly working for nearly a decade to reunite the group made up of Anahí Puente, Dulce Maria Espinoza, Christian Chavez, Maite Perroni and Christopher von Uckermann (the sixth member, Alfonso Herrera, didn’t join the reunion tour). The task was titanic, not only because RBD’s celebrity members all have careers and families of their own, but also because the rights to the RBD name were so entangled that the group’s music wasn’t even available on streaming platforms until 2020.
It was Rosas who insisted on clearing those rights and now has signed an equal partnership with the group. At the heart of his persistence is RBD’s previous success: between Dec. 2, 2005 and Dec. 21, 2008, RBD sold 1.5 million tickets across the 150 shows reported to Billboard Boxscore. The group also landed three albums at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart, and a No. 15 on the Billboard 200. Of its 10 entries on Hot Latin Songs, five were top 10s, and “Ser o Parecer” topped the chart.
Still, the reunion has exceeded expectations. “We weren’t really counting on selling out so fast,” admits Rosas, who initially had routed 28 dates, which mushroomed minutes after tickets went on sale, with 1.5 tickets sold in the first 24 hours, according to Live Nation.
It doesn’t stop there. RBD is also releasing new music — a first track, “Cerquita de ti,” came out in August — and more dates are being planned for 2024. In between RBD’s two sold-out Madison Square Garden dates (August 31 and September 1), Rosas earns the title of Billboard‘s Executive of the Week — and explains how it all went down.
I know you’ve been actively working to reunite these very different, and very busy, people for nearly a decade now. Once you finally got everyone in agreement about wanting to tour together, how did you finally lock it in?
We had been talking for at least six months about all the different situations, possibilities, conditions and circumstances that we needed to deal with. Obviously, there were a lot of family logistics because of kids and their schools. It was a lot of leg work to put together the ideal master plan that worked for everyone. Once that was done, and we had the schedule with holds, we had a dinner at Anahi’s home in Mexico City and we had the contracts in hand and ready in case everybody felt like signing right there. It’s a partnership, and no one makes more than anybody else, so it was the ideal situation. We talked about it for the last time over dinner, everyone was making their final statements. And then I said, “Well, everybody seems to be on board, let’s sign right now.” They said, “Oh my God, for real?” And I said, “Yes, let’s make it happen.” And we took the contracts out and signed. We filmed everything with our cellphones, and that’s how we announced the tour. We posted that clip on social media. It was very exciting.
On a personal level, what was going through your head after so many years of working on this?
I was in disbelief. I had in my hands the tour of the dreams of so many people. The first person I called was my husband. The second person that I called was Hans [Schafer, senior vp global touring for Live Nation]. And the third person I called was Jesus Lopez [the chairman/CEO of Universal Latin/Iberian Peninsula, with whom Rosas has a joint venture]. He had been so supportive with me over the years.
I understand the initial dates sold out in hours. Were you prepared to scale?
We had a routing ready but that routing was 28 shows, and now we’re doing 54. We weren’t planning for that. I had a few second holds, just in case, in places where the venues were smaller. But we weren’t really counting on selling out so fast and doing so many nights in one city. But when we went on sale, I had never experienced that in my life. First, because I had never been during an actual on-sale inside the Live Nation building, with 30 people connected from different places, including Ticketmaster and CAA. It’s a huge conference room with big screens and you can see everything as it happens, and how they release the on-sales in each location according to time zones. For example, we started with Madison Square Garden in New York, where I’m sitting right now. We had 12,000 tickets available and there were like 80,000 people connected online to buy, and you can see the average transaction. And every transaction had an average of four tickets. We called Madison Square Garden right away and booked the second night. Those nights went in like 40 minutes and there were so many people left out.
Why didn’t you do Yankee Stadium in New York, for example?
Because the very first time we came in 2016, Mexican pop wasn’t as big, so we decided on MSG. And sales started to go like that everywhere. In Los Angeles, for example, the BMO was gone in 15 minutes. So we added another date, and that was also gone. Within two hours, four shows were completely gone. We could have kept on adding shows but obviously the band couldn’t do more than four shows per week. That was our limit.
Where were you creatively when you went on sale?
I had a set list proposed and we also had a pre-design that doesn’t look like anything it does today. It was great and it was big, but not as big as it is now. The production grew probably three to four times.
Obviously, this will be big business. But personally, how important is it for you to have put this together?
This was not about money for anyone. Obviously, we like the business and the business needed to make sense. But that has never been strong enough to make this happen. Throughout the years, we’ve gotten multi-million dollar offers to do all kinds of things with RBD. And it just had never been considered. None of them collectively ever considered anything. For us, it’s a dream come true. We are all very spiritual and very energy-oriented souls, and we just knew we needed to gift this to the fans and to themselves. Because I think all five of them see it as a gift to their hearts. The universe giving them the possibility to do this twice.
Why did you decide to go with Live Nation versus another promoter?
Among all the different promoters across that world that I’ve worked with, I really liked their transparency, and obviously Hans has the vision for this group that he’s shared with me for years. So in that sense, working with someone like Hans who understands where we want to take this and really believed in it was important. For example, independent promoters would tell me, “Oh, let’s not risk a stadium. Alfonso isn’t in the group, let’s do another venue.” But Hans never doubted it, so I felt very comfortable.
Are you announcing new dates for 2024?
We’re hoping to. We said we’d let the tour run for a couple of weeks, and we have a potential plan for 2024, and then we’ll be discussing it in the next couple of weeks. We don’t have a solid plan, but that’s how RBD is. It’s always a surprise. But I hope we do. Especially because there are so many fans in places like Spain, Eastern Europe, Chile and Argentina. We’re only visiting four countries out of 19 we did back then, so there is a lot to cover to make the world happy.
Although all the group members are stars in their own right, none of them have really been on stage in 15 years. Were you worried?
It’s something they have in their DNA. It’s amazing. They get on a stage and they turn it on so easily. They’re natural stars and they’ve been around cameras so long that it’s so natural to them. Also, there is something about them that clicks when they’re together. They all have the magic on their own, but when they’re all on stage it’s an explosion. And people love it.