Re: " ticket prices"
Date: October 27, 2005 01:07
> Gazza - I respectfully disagree with you.
> I acknowledge that you've made some good points in
> this post. But I don't get the last line. You seem
> to be contradicting yourself when you say ..."if
> people pay less for a ticket, they won't be so
> fussy about what songs they hear for fear of not
> getting their money's worth."
> That seems to be essentially what I said earlier
> in this thread when I said that if they charge
> less than they could get, it diminishes the worth
> of the performance.
Ok..my argument is connected to the debate on the type of setlists they're playing on this tour (that old chestnut!)
There's this expectancy/demand amongst a lot of the audience that they play a show thats high on 'greatest hits' because thats what the bulk of the audience has come to hear. What I'm saying is that because they're charging such high prices, they're letting the audience dictate the sort of show they play - ie, if they dont play a certain 10-12 'essential' hits that everyone knows, then a lot of people are going to whine about paying $450 to hear songs they didnt know and because they didnt hear 'satisfaction'. The same people are less likely to complain about that if they paid a lot less.
IMO a band as great and as legendary as the Stones have long ago earned the right to play whatever the hell they like onstage. By charging such a high ticket price, its like theyre afraid to take chances with the setlist and feel obliged to play certain songs to keep a large % of people who dont really know much of their work happy. They should be above being little more than a jukebox for that type of audience (thats what a lot of people are getting at with these 'Vegas' jibes). To me, that diminishes them as a band.
I'll compare that to two other acts I happen to go and watch a lot - Dylan and Springsteen. Both basically play what the hell they like, and charge a lot less than the Stones do. Granted, they dont sell as many tickets as the Stones do (although Bruce does in certain markets and can still fill stadiums) but if someone goes to one of their shows and doesnt hear "blowin in the wind" or "born to run" (which both acts havent played recently) theyre less likely to bitch about it if they havent paid a week's wage for the privilege of being there.
By charging so much money, any act, far from 'diminishing the worth of the performance' actually becomes a prisoner to playing a certain type of show. If anything, I think that charging MORE diminishes the worth of the show.
And I dont think you can say a performance loses its worth if you dont charge what you can get. I think that by charging so much, you raise the expectancy to ridiculous levels and it becomes harder to put on a show that delivers it
I saw 13 shows on the last tour and enjoyed pretty much all of them. Apart from the Astoria show, all were highly priced arena/stadium gigs. Whilst I enjoyed them all (its hard not to enjoy a Stones gig), I didnt think they were value for money however, especially considering the fact that on the previous tour the tickets cost a third or half as much. Its not like the shows were THAT much better. So, the argument that if people pay it, then its worth it doesnt add up for me personally.
Dont get me wrong. I think the Stones are still a great live band and I have no problem with the fact that a "top" name live act is going to cost more to see than your run of the mill artist. But this is somewhat excessive. And talking of 'diminishing' anything - to me, it diminishes their legacy and reputation because they're being remembered more as a cash cow to a lot of people (not me personally) than a great rock n roll band who made some of the best music and gave some of the best shows of all time.
To get some kind of perspective. I'm going to see the Stones in New York in January. The price of most tickets for that show ($454) is actually $100 MORE than the cost of my transatlantic return flight. That's pretty screwed up!