Ocean City--This is the way summer officially ends in Ocean City: Not with a whimper, but a bang (apologies to T. S. Eliot). The Beach Boys, Dion and Starship will put on an end-of-summer concert on the beach Saturday, Sept. 3.
"I think we're at least going to match last year's number," says Ocean City's tourism director, Bob Rothermel. "Last year it drew 10,000 people. We may even draw more than that."
Labor Day weekend is a difficult one to predict, he says, because of the changing date each year (the first Monday in September moves around the calendar).
"It's difficult to call that weekend -- anywhere from a quarter-million up," he says in describing how many people may visit Ocean City for a final fling at summer. "It's a tough weekend to predict because there are so many factors impacting on a family's decision to travel. . . . We're hoping the Beach Boys will impact on people's decision to go to the beach. We've tailored the ticket prices to families."
The show marks the end of the town's Summer Concert Series as well as the official end of summer 1994. The show will be held on the beach at Caroline Street, and begins at 5 p.m. when Dion takes the stage.
Tickets are $40 and $30 for reserved seats, and both prices also purchase a beach chair to keep. General admission is $12.50, and children 12 and younger pay $7.50.
There are 6,500 reserved seats and capacity for another 10,000 to 15,000 general-admission concertgoers. Mr. Rothermel says the site can comfortably handle about 18,000 people.
The Ocean City public relations office advises that shuttle bus service has been arranged for the concert. Free parking is available at the Francis Scott Key Motel in West Ocean City and at the Convention Center at 40th Street; a shuttle bus will take concertgoers directly to the site for $1. The shuttle service will run between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Saturday.
Dion (whose full name is Dion DiMucci), will begin the concert. He first rose to fame in the 1950s, and his hits include "The Wanderer," "Runaround Sue" and "Abraham, Martin and John." His concert will include highlights of his 30-plus years in rock and roll, and he'll be backed by a five-piece group.
His career began in the 1950s as the lead singer for the Belmonts, and the group had hits with "I Wonder Why," "A Teenager in Love" and "Where or When." He later went solo, and the hits continued. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.
He will be followed on the Ocean City stage by Starship. The band began in San Francisco in 1965 as Jefferson Airplane and was led by Paul Kantner and Marty Balin, who are both still playing with the group. Jefferson Airplane's hits included "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love." Initially, the band's lead singers were Mr. Balin and Grace Slick, who left and rejoined the band several times as it evolved in the 1970s and 1980s. Both also pursued solo careers. When Jefferson Airplane broke up in the early 1970s, Mr. Kantner reorganized it as Jefferson Starship. Several successful albums followed, including "Dragonfly" and "Red Octopus," with single hits including "Ride the Tiger," "Caroline," "Miracles" and "Hearts." Mr. Balin rejoined the band in 1993, and the group now also boasts a "female vocalist arsenal" of Darby Gould and Diana Mangano.
The Beach Boys are the show's headliners. Like the Starship, the group has evolved beginning in the 1960s, with some of the founding members still performing.
The California-based group hit the big time in 1961 and by 1965, their songs of girls, surfing and teen-age life were topping the charts regularly. Their hits included such classics as "I Get Around," "Wouldn't It Be Nice?," "Help Me, Rhonda" and the archetypal "California Girls." The original members included brothers Carl, Brian and Dennis Wilson, their cousin Mike Love and Al Jardine.
The group has continued to produce successful albums, including this summer's release, "Summer in Paradise." The group's current members include Mike Love, Carl Wilson, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston, who replaced former Beach Boy Brian Wilson.
The Beach Boys have continued to tour since hitting stardom in the 1960s, and recently participated in the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
IF YOU GO . . .
The Labor Day Weekend Beach Concert begins at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3. A stage will be erected on the beach at Caroline Street for the show, featuring the Beach Boys, Dion and Starship.
A shuttle bus will run between the concert and two free parking lots, one at the Convention Center on 40th Street and one in West Ocean City at the Francis Scott Key Motel. Shuttle bus tickets are $1, and the service will be available from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday.
Tickets may be purchased at the Ocean City Convention Center Box Office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week.
Tickets are also available from TicketMaster at (800) 551-SEAT TC (in Baltimore, the number is  481-SEAT).
Tickets are $40 and $30 for reserved seating (ticket price includes a beach chair to keep), or $12.50 general admission, with children 12 and younger paying $7.50.
For more information, call the Ocean City public relations office, (800) OC-OCEAN or (410) 289-2800.