Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In My Defense, It's More Than Just Being A Little Cranky

I fully admit to not having a very pleasant start to the week. I won't go into details other than to disclose that I slept very little on Monday night and should have never left the house yesterday. 

But I did.

I had a ticket for Neil Young & Crazy Horse with opener Patti Smith that I had been excited about up until the day of the show. As I said, I blame the circumstances, but what took place at Madison Square Garden last night may have been just as horrible on 8 hours sleep.

With the ongoing discussion about bad concert experiences taking place over at Burning Love?, this seems fitting.

Have any of you been to the refurbished MSG? It's as odious as its CEO James Dolan. It's like being at some giant mall, where everything is for sale for two and three times more than it should be. Seats that sit along the hallways between the Lobster Roll Stand and the men's room, that would probably be considered barstools in most major and minor cities, have little numbers on their backs. Yes, that's right. They are being sold as seats to the event which is taking place "inside" the arena about 200 yards away. At every turn, there is a food item, beer stand (one Heineken- $11), merch table, VIP area and security guard.

When I got to my $98 seat, which on the MSG map looks damn good, I was surprised to find a computer screen in front of every seat in the first row of my section. In the third row of my section, which is where I was seated, nothing...except for two giant monitors and a giant video screen obstructing my view. So for my $98, I got to see the legs of the entertainment. I use the term "entertainment" loosely, as the opener for the opener, was that horrible fucking smug band from the Corona Beer Commercial.

That's right. These douchebags.

They got 20 minutes and then Patti Smith's legs and her band's legs took the stage and launched into "Dancing Barefoot." By the third song, a blistering "Beneath The Southern Cross," dedicated to Jimi Hendrix, my section and the section to the left of me decided they couldn't care less about Patti, and trust me on this, began talking and texting and standing as if no one was on stage. Some pimply-faced teenager with a voice like Bobby Brady seated directly to my right, started pontificating to his hippy mother that Patti Smith was "punk before punk, and really has no talent. Like, this should not be considered music at all." Then, he knocked his big gulp over onto my boots.

With that, I scrambled through the iPhones and beerbellies, and with each step I took sticking to the floor thanks to the corn derived sweetener my shoes were soaking in, beelined it for the subway during "Gloria," not really giving a shit about seeing Neil Young's legs anymore, and mostly wishing I never left my house.

I have some friends who will read this and say, "This is why I don't go to big shows anymore."  I understand. It's like sitting across from a guy picking his nose on the subway like he was digging for gold, or next to a drunk woman screaming expletives at her significant other into her bluetooth, as I did for my ride home. I could have just gotten up and moved to another car. But that is hardly the point.


jeff k said...

All I can say is I'm with you bro. I've never been one to have that stick with it mentality. Fuck 'em.

kevin m said...

Sal - I agree. I HATE what has been done to MSG. What was once one of my favorite places to see a show (and the best arena in the country) has been ruined.

In my office building, one of the security guards also doubles as an usher at MSG. He despises the new arrangement as well.

Haven't been to the Barclay Center yet. Is that an improvement?

Anonymous said...


I can give you a ticket to the show in Bridgeport on the 4th.


whattawino said...

Sal, you could've slept like Rip Van Winkle and STILL not been UP for that kind of abuse. The new MSG sounds
totally WHORE-able. It actually sounds like it WAS a
nightmare. Did you check your shoes? Are you sure you went? I'm down with Jeff...Fuck 'em!

Anonymous said...

I've lived in NYC for 15 years and I've never been to MSG. After reading that, I probably never will attend anything there.

I had one of those guys across from me on the train a while back, picking his nose and wiping the boogers on his shoe for 20 minutes. Well dressed white dude that looked like a male model or something, but so nasty! The whole car was nearly empty, and he had to get on and sit down right across from me.

I've been aware of PS since "Horses" came out, and I've always thought her overrated. She was unbearably pretentious before punk, and remains the same phony ass bag of crap with a few good songs that she's always been. I still like NY, but not for 98 bucks a seat! Glad I missed that one.

charlie c. said...

That's sad and it sucks. Funny in the retelling, but the whole thing saddens me. Not surprised: I have seen some monster shows at MSG – Stones, Zeppelin, Bruce . . . the Grateful Dead a skumty-million times. Hockey?!? Where do I begin?? . . . (Wait, don’t tell me . . . .it’s a game with ice and a rubber disc and sticks – right?!? ) You could get seriously stoned just hanging out in the stairways at Ranger games. Now, I understand you can get thrown out for precipitating or participating in the “Potvin” Sucks chant . . .)
Don’t get me started (too late, by most accounts . . .). The ill-fated NYC Marathon goes from a bunch of folks running laps in Central Park to an ING commercial. Holiday window displays, the tree at Rock Center , the Village (pick one), free Shakespeare in the Park (Craig’s List still the best way to get your tickets . . .). Citi Field, which resembles an outdoor sports bar with a game happening somewhere else. Times Square, a great spot to pick up M&M figurines at three times the face value and plush . . . candy dolls or whatever they are. Not to mention some Nivea plastic things to bang together in a month or so, with matching Zeus hat and goggles! Alcohol-free to boot! (Do you know how much I would have to drink just to consider the possibility of a NYE spent like that?!? Amy Winehouse quantities is what I am guessing . . . stopping way short of the impetigo.)
No doubt if you can make it here you can make it anywhere but I sure do miss Old New York.

Alan said...

Sal, I can feel your pain. For an inveterate club rat like me, I've always hated the stadiums, arenas, and auditoriums with SEATS! Give me an outdoor stage or a smoky club any day. That way, if you encounter douche bags, you can stand somewhere else. I saw Neil at Voodoo Fest and it was great. (We scattered Joan's ashes there, which was very nice, too.)

Brooklyn Girl said...

Well, to be fair, the big display boards hanging from the middle of the ceiling have always been there. Apparently the plan is to raise the roof, which hopefully means that thing will be gone. My problems with the Garden are the huge speakers hanging on either side of the stage and the muddy sound system. But I found the remodeling to be fairly sophisticated overall.

The Barclays Center has better sound, and is very dark, but the upper tier is so steep I would never get tickets up there. And if you think the concessions at the Garden are expensive, you'd better prepare yourself for $13 for a SMALL glass of wine.

As far as the assholes go, they are plentiful no matter what the size of the room is.

ASH On The Beat said...

Great post Sal. I found myself nodding all the way through.

With the odd exception, I've now largely decided to go to no venue that has to put video screens up so that you can see the band.