Well, since it is slowing down around here, I thought I would throw this one out.
One of my latest pet peeves has become the VIP Packages that artists are throwing out at Ticketmonster and other sites. These include a ticket, a shirt and a meet and greet, all for the 'low' price of your first born or left arm. Now I can understand the prices if you actually got to spend time with the artist, or were backstage, but to just be part of a cattle call and get a quick signature seems ridiculous. Mr Hughes on the other hand, has always tried to find time for his fan base, sometimes before and always after shows (time and venue permitting), while never charging an extra nickel.
I was really thrilled to see Mountain and Joe Satriani this coming weekend, but between the $85.00 ticket price, which is absurdly high, and the $225.00 and $175.00 "VIP" packages, I just will not do it. Now, not that I wouldn't enjoy meeting the bands, but each group charges separately for the meet and greet, so I would need to spend $400.00 and have two tickets for myself to see both.
Now I have spent time in the past with Leslie West, and he never did anything like this before. I just don't know what the point of saying "only fans with a bucket of cash can meet me" is. In pro sports we have gotten ridiculous with ticket prices, parking and "premium seating", but at least players will still sign a ball for you without a "package deal".
So when we realize just how fortunate we are to have a man like Glenn sitting down with us after a long and exhausting performance, I see someone who really does care about his following.
I don't know if others here would pay for these VIP deals, but I refuse, just like I would never pay to have someone sign something for me in a mall (Pete Rose comes to mind). You are nothing without loyal fans, and Glenn has those and keeps giving back.
I will stand shoulder to shoulder with you on this issue. I am not going to bitch about ticket prices in general....yeah, you get the folks who write stuff like : "I saw Rucka Rucka and Humma Humma at the Enormo-Dome back in 1976 and it only cost me $8.00". The touring business has changed and not all for the better....and the ticket prices do reflect this. I paid 60 bucks to see King Crimson this past August in NYC and it was worth every single penny... Speaking for myself, I am fairly selective as to who I go see given the fact I don't have the disposable income I used to have..
A lot of bands have discovered the niche touring market of the casinos around the country. They can't or don't want to fill the hockey rinks anymore so they play to a smaller crowd at a higher ticket price. I hear folks bitch about that too....speaking for myself I would pay more money for better sight lines and clearer sound. But that brings me right back to the point of being more selective about who I lay down my hard earned cash to go see.
But in the past 10 years or so, this whole mindset about VIP packages has become a huge selling point. It started with premium seating....and then added the carrot of a shirt and a meet and greet; the sort of cattle call that Frank speaks of. There are those who feel; "Hey, if people will pay the money..let them do it!"
100 bucks for a package meet and greet; translation; a quick handshake and autograph? Screw that. I can get an hour with a psychiatrist and a comfy couch for that kind of money. And that brings me around to the meet and greet in general. Personally, I don't need it. I listened to the music and took in the visual show and that is plenty for me. And I certainly don't feel it is my divine right to get an autograph and a handshake...though there were a lot of folks on the Grand Funk Railroad forum who felt differently. There would be someone who would start a list for the meet and greet after the show...the Roadkillers had first dibs basically. This caused more than a few problems with people getting their noses bent out of joint because they felt snubbed....really petty stuff. Eventually the band put out a notice through the website asking the fans to refrain from setting up these lists.
And there are some acts that treat their fans as mere cash cows..KISS and The Eagles come to mind. Messrs Frey and Henley won't even sign autographs at all from what I understand. That is their perogative But if you blindly pay that money you have no right to bitch about how you feel you are being treated. Vote with your feet.
Some bands have meet and greets that are invite only, usually done through their website. UFO had such a deal at the NYC show I saw this past April. I had no heartburn about that at all. I enjoyed every second of the show and I got my money's worth and a ton of great memories.
I flash on the meet and greet that Uriah Heep had after their show in Indy back in 2001. It was more like hanging out in someone's back yard and shooting the breeze over a few beers. I remember meeting John Entwistle after a show his band played in Indy back in 1996. it was a club gig..I have told this story on My Space in my blog page but I will summarize here. The line is moving towards the back dressing room and I am trying to think of something profound or even funny to say to John...I have admired his artistry for years....and then my moment comes and I find myself standing in front of The Ox in all his silver haired splendor. I open my mouth to speak and suddenly feel like Ralph Kramden...you know; "homina homina homina...."After what seemed like eternity and some change, but was maybe two seconds, I manage to tell him how great it was to see him out playing.....He gruffly replied; "Well it was pretty frustrating tonight.." a refernce to the dreadful house sound that the band fought against all night.
In closing, I am flashing on a March night in 2003 in the Velvet Lounge....I am sitting across the table from Glenn who stayed up until almost 3 a.m. talking with our group....He and Gabi had flown in that evening and I know they were tired from the flight. I would have been. Yet he stayed up to talk to us for all that time. I will never forget that night. And when you consider the high dollar cattle call meet and greets...handshake and an autograph and see you later Charlie...it only shows what a giving, chrome plated cool human being Glenn Hughes really is.
Yeah Bill, I remember seeing the Heep in Pittsburgh on that tour. I drove up from Florida just for the show, and when I met Phil Lanzon and told him how excited I was and where I had come from, he ushered me backstage to hang out. The whole band was just great, and Bernie Shaw and Mick Box were incredible. It was a great night. Then we met up at a hotel bar until 2:00 AM and just talked all night. Outstanding !!!
I don't know if Glenn realizes how much we all admire his attitude and the way he treats us compared to others.
I don't know if Glenn realizes how much we all admire his attitude and the way he treats us compared to others.
Trust me...he knows it There's definitely mutual respect on both sides.
As for your other comments...you can add Heart to that list. I don't understand how Shirean puts up with it! Although they do provide an excellent fan club; allowing for premium seating and a 'lottery' meet'n'greet system, at practically all their shows. But considering the high price starting point, you're still left with the impression that your being fleeced. At least, that's what I remind her of, as she hands over her $$ each and everytime
Going to see concerts is just not in our budget, and it hasn't been for a long time. I wouldn't go to hear live music anymore when I'm not playing, it's too much of a sacrifice for us in too many ways. As a musician that played all my life and wants to again, it is very hard for me to be around live music much and not be a part of it, I can't explain it, but it's a fact. I won't pay money to feel bad. lol Like a Chef that visits restaurants all the time, and no one comes to his..lol, and a million other analogies of someone whose trade and life is wrapped around something that he can't be a part of for some reason, although I know I will soon. And as you mentioned, it is silly expensive.
But we will go see Glenn play, by God, if there is anyway at all we will find it. That's an experience that we can't miss in this life, and the reasons could fill a book. We can rationlize it by saying since we don't spend it on other concerts we can splurge to see his....but there is SO much more to it than that. It's always a VIP package when you can see that much God given talent, that makes me feel special enough...the fact that he is ultra cool is a great icing on the cake.
you all make great points. i'd just like to add that the way that I see it is like this. For me,and I assume for those of you who have been on here longer than me, going to see Glenn play is like going to a family reunion more than it is going to a concert. we get to see many of our brothers and sisiters that we haven't seen for a while, and meet new ones for the first time. Then the Patriach ( Papa) of the family shows up and with a few more of our cousins and then the good ol' fashion musical 'ho down' begins.
times are a bit tougher for most of us right now, but you can bet that if Papa G. calls for another US family reunion, there will be many of us, brothers, sisters, and cousins showing up so that we can all spread and soak up all of the love.
that's the way that we "shape that love communion"
and, i'd like to add that there is never an added VIP type ticket package. in our family, we're all treated like VIPs, and Papa makes sure of that. Just another reason that we all love him so much.
peace and love to you all,
Like Bill, I have told some of these stories before, be it here or elsewhere, but I have been very lucky to meet some of the musicians and bands I have been following for quite some time, and I didn't pay for meeting them.
Yet I haven't been lucky enough to meet Glenn yet! I'm sure my time will come though.
Here are some of my stories:
My brother and I met Robert Plant on the street here in Vienna, June 1993. Quite accidentially really. He just went for a walk to the park near his hotel on a warm summer evening. We chatted (well my brother did the talking, I was pretty much speechless) and he was kind enough to sign my Now & Zen CD cover and The Honey Drippers album sleeve.
Only 2 weeks ago I had a nice conversation with Will Calhoun of Living Colour about their Staind album, how much I liked it and how delighted I was that they played most of it in their current set. Doug Wimbish and Vernon Ried joined in the conversation. Corey Glover stayed backstage.
Colosseum, Brian Auger, numerous times! Not only fantastic musicians but great people who take a lot of time to talk to their fans.
Mountain, 1996. Leslie West was a bit in a hurry, Corky Laing incredibly funny and Mark Clarke nice and thankful, especially after I had told him how much I liked his singing.
Ken Hensley, 1997. I met him in a music store at a Crate Amplifiers presentation. Later that day he was the surprise guest at a show with Marty Friedman (of Megadeth) and a local band, played a couple of Heep classics (The Wizard and Easy Living) and allowed me to take some pictures backstage. Great!
Tony Ashton, Pete York, Colin Hodgkinson, Miller Anderson Spencer Davis & Albie Donnelly allowed me to go backstage (1995)... this is the story where Tony Ashton farted The most friendly and generous people. Like the guys from Spooky Tooth, they seemed to enjoy our conversation very much!
Rick Wakeman, 1993. While my little brother talked to him about the Microcosmos computer game (Rick's music was in it) I was so overexcited that I was unable to say anything!?
Marillion, 2004 and 2005. Mark Kelly is really funny, so is H. Pete Trewavas seemed a little annoyed, but Steve Rothery was very thankful. And Ian Mosley is a legend by all means.
Chris: That was cool meeting Plant I bet. I never cared for Led Zeppelin that much, but I like what he did with his new band on a Soundstage show I saw not long ago, and I like what I heard him doing with Allison Krause, although she can do no wrong in my book.
I have played onstage with U2, Arnet Cobb (jazz sax player), Tom Russell (folk singer), Shawn Phillips several others (blues cats) and opened up for many of the bigger country acts in the 80s....Mary Chapin Carpenter, Keith Whitley, Clint Black, Gary Stewart... I have met some guitar heroes at little clubs and partied hardy with a bunch of them in my party days; some I've met were, Roy Buchanan, Rory Gallagher, Steve Morse, Danny Gatton, Eric Johnson, Alan Holdsworth, Allman brothers band, and more. In this life, out of all of it for me, there are only a couple of musicians I really want to speak to now....because I really feel like they shaped me, my life, and I want them to know it. Glenn, Merle Haggard, and I was lucky enough to tell Mel. I wouldn't mind meeting Robin Trower, also.
But Glenn most of all, I have so many questions and observations...yet when I'm around him I just sort of go blank a bit, thinking how surreal it is that I finally got to meet him!! lol
Or laughing out loud, cause on top of being the greatest singer I've ever heard and a killer bass player, he is also a stand up comedian. lol
One of my latest pet peeves has become the VIP Packages that artists are throwing out at Ticketmonster and other sites. These include a ticket, a shirt and a meet and greet, all for the 'low' price of your first born or left arm. Now I can understand the prices if you actually got to spend time with the artist, or were backstage, but to just be part of a cattle call and get a quick signature seems ridiculous.
My experience of these packages is that in most cases the band don't know about them and the first they hear of a VIP meet'n'greet is when they read about it on the venue's website or when they arrive on the day.
The band just get their pre-arranged fee and the VIP packages are put out by the promoters as a way of clawing in extra cash. If the promoter hasn't checked with the tour manager prior to setting up the meet'n'greet, it can leave the band in an awkward situation as the scheduling often means we have to travel overnight straight after the show to the next city, and there's barely time for the basic stage-door autographs/photos etc. - even though the band look forward to meeting the fans as much as they look forward to being onstage!
So when a promoter takes money up front for something that isn't built into the timing, people feel ripped off by the band if the event is rushed - unfairly, cos it's not the band's fault.
Thanks JJ Web for that information.
I have met with so many artists over the years, and never had a problem with the availability to just shoot the breeze or get something signed, but these Packages really grind me.
In the years I spent as a Coach in MLB, every chance I had to do something for a community, I jumped at. Being a 'no name' for the most part, I always took the time to speak with people, sign balls or caps, and usually was able to do at least one free guest spot at a Baseball School everywhere I traveled for more than a few days. It was something I felt strongly about, and never would associate myself with the money grabbing of some players and former players.
I have decided, whether correct or not, that any show which offers these packages will not see me in attendance, period. I buy the album, the ticket and the shirt, and you want more from me, whether it be the promoter or the band. At the price of ticket, I don't think these are needed by promoters or Ticket companies. I just cannot see beyond the grubby paws of promoters and the convenience charges I have to pay to see a gig.
If you all would like to see a good set up, take a look at what NearFest does every year and how they raise the additional money for the upfront costs. Plus all the acts mingle at the hotels and venue throughout the weekend, and are always willing to just sit and spend time with the people.