Wednesday, December 10, 2008



There was a time when this type of news meant something to me, and I refuse to be called jaded. That just ain't it.

Below is a printable excerpt from an instant message that took place on Monday between me and my friend Mark. Tickets for the 2009 Fleetwood Mac tour had just gone on sale. (The "M" means Mark is speaking. The "S" means it's me. OK, thank you.) I left typos and grammar for effect.

M: Quick, get your fleetwood mac tickets before they don't sell out

: hahaaa

: its like this, the neil young show, i feel like i want to go because i used to love both neil and wilco, but I have zero interest in seeing them now. does that make sense?

: yes. its a sense of obligation that would best be used elsewhere.

: yes exactly. i question why I DON'T wanna go

: i KNOW why i don't want to go. I'm questioning why i feel like i should.

: so why don't YOU want to go to neil or fleetwood, assuming you loved both at some point.

: a combo of-- seeing them both a number of times already, money, and in neil's case, he has officially released more albums i don't like than do like.

: well the "seeing them a number of times" thing shouldn't matter because we both see people repeatedly without question.
the money is an excellent reason $254! sick!

: right, but in a case of those people I see repeatedly, I have reasons. Costello: always something different, Bowie: doesn't tour that often, Todd Rundgren: its cheap enough and this dates back to '75--no way out at this point. Crowes: my fave live band since 1995.
what's Fleetwood Mac gonna do that will surprise me? Dreams? Go Your Own Way?

: Not fall down.

: Hahahaa.
plus, stevie nicks sounds like bea arthur these days. If they did "The Pious Bird Of Good Omen" in its entirety, I'd go.

: well honestly neil started pissing me off about 10 years ago. in 1999 he played The Theater at MSG solo and charged 100$ solo! 100$

: right, so you are still bitter over being the jilted rock fan

: then he came around with his stupid greendale thing, which also BLEW--convoluted boring movie soundtrack crap

: Still, there's this feeling of "I might miss something."
if i could just get beyond that, i'd probably never see another show over $40 again.

This continued. More IM-ing. A few phone calls.

What are we debating? Have loyal concertgoers just grown tired of the artists? Mark and I can't be alone in thinking this. Lindsey Buckingham doesn't tour that often as a solo act, yet he could only fill about 2/3 of the intimate Town Hall in NYC a couple of years ago. That ticket was $80. Have these legends lost their appeal simply because of the cost? Or, is it more of a feeling of betrayal? How dare these artists charge so much at this point in their careers? Hard to say when the Rolling Stones pack every inch of MSG at an average of $279 a ticket.

I'm sure there will be a flood of "I saw The Crotchmasters for $3.00 at Larry's Burp & Blow in Old Bridge, and it was the greatest live show I have ever seen," e-mails. Yeah yeah. Sounds great. But that's not the point. Fleetwood Mac isn't even touring with Christine McVie, for Pete's sake. We are in a depression and somebody out there has decided that $150-$200 is still reasonable for a concert ticket. In Neil's case, it's $254. Stop the madness. (and I don't mean me) Everybody knows, this is bullshit.


Anonymous said...

It's hard enough to spring for $65 for Ray Davies and see a great showman.

Ken D said...

I think concert prices are completely out of hand as well. That's why I rarely go any more. Its the same music biz geniuses who shot themselves with CD pricing doing the same thing with touring.
And you have to laugh in disbelief when these bloodsuckers claim they only make money on the T-shirts...

On the other hand, look at the prices for sporting events. How do they get $200+ for an ordinary regular-season game that's on live TV anyway?!

NYCD Online said...

I think loyal concertgoers DO get tired of artists. I've seen the Stones three or four times and they were amazing, but I doubt they're gonna do anything on their next record that'll make me feel like I need to see them again, unless the tix fall into my lap. There was a time when I had to see Pink Martini every time they came to NYC, and they were always amazing. Now I could care less.

I think that people's tastes change, and after a while certain things that used to mean the world to them don't matter as much anymore. I also think it's great that there are still some loyalists out there, because otherwise that Lindsey Buckingham show would've been empty!

Sal Nunziato said...

Did you really go see the Stones because you wanted to hear live versions of songs from "Bridges To Babylon" and "A Bigger Bang?" I can't imagine anyone did. In a case like the Stones, even at $450 a pop for the best seats, it was one of the toughest tickets in town. Whereas, if Lindsey Buckingham was playing at Town Hall for $25 instead of $80, wouldn't you at least consider it?

Yes, our tastes change as we get older, but that's why we stop seeing Judas Priest and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. People like Neil Young, the Stones, Elvis Costello, R.E.M.m and so many others, still have the ability to make magic live. But how can we witness that, when a pair of tickets and some snacks for the evening totals $400?

Anonymous said...

I actually DID go see the Stones to hear Voodoo Lounge, Bridges to Babylon and Bigger Bang songs on those tours.

NYCD Online said...

I dunno, Mr. Wood. (May I call you "Burning"?) I was never a Lindsey Buckingham fan, so I don't know if I would have seen his show regardless of the cost, unless he called me and invited me personally.

There are certainly some artists that will continue to mean the world to people for the rest of their lives. But with most of them, for the most part, our passion waxes and wanes.

Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello are still making excellent music, and their live shows are still incredible. So the fact that I don't care as much about either of them as I did ten years ago isn't because they're no longer good, and their ticket prices are still reasonable, all things considered.

The fact that I'll no longer want to kill myself if I don't see either of them the next time they come to town is because I've changed in some way, for better or worse. (Probably worse.)

That said, I do totally agree with you that the has-been acts like Fleetwood Mac who have the audacity to charge that kind of money for their shows is a crime. And any overfed baby boomers who pay that kind of money should be arrested and charged as accessories.

Continental Travelnurse said...

Tiket prices are too high. And the bigger the act, the bigger the venue and the harder it is for the show to be special. I don't want to see anyone - including Springsteen -- in a Stadium. I don't want to see anyone --including Springsteen -- at MSG unless I have really good seats. I don't want to see anyone for $200+ in any venue. I'd much rather see a young or obsucre act for $25 at Joe's Pub (or wherever small) than anyone even at the Beacon for $150. I've never seen Fleetwood Mac and would love to. I'd def go see Lindsey Buckingham for $40 and good seats. And I only go to Yankee games because my seats are $12. I have no idea who the idiots are that are gonna pay $2500 for a single ticket to a regular season game. Oh wait, I do know -- it's IMB and Citibank and I'm subsidizing them.