I went to see Bruno Mars the other day and in my heart of hearts I just know I would have liked it a lot more if I had better seats. It is hard to get into a show when the sound is off and you are watching it on large screens, you are reviewing not the music but the presentation: you are reviewing what you are getting.
But is it fair to sell $100 tickets for crappy seats. $20, yes, sure, you are giving somebody the opportunity to catch a show they might not be able to afford. But there were people surrounding me who probably don’t go to three shows a week for years on end, for them this is a big big night out, and then they climb some of the dodgiest stairs in the business and end up goggling at the bands from a million miles away.
If that’s the experience of many members of the audience then why shouldn’t that be the experience I describe? Indeed, while the New York Times and New York Post may well be center aisle, that is not a true reflection of the concert going experience for most people. They are writing about it from a privileged position and what they are reviewing is certainly not what the paying audience (me for instance) is actually seeing and hearing. We are looking at screens and listening to bass and drums so powerful they obscure all but the strongest and most indelible of melodies. Often, if the star speaks we can’t even hear him.
Not unlike professional sports, professional touring bands are becoming affordable for extremely poor experiences. They come on stage late, they lip synch, they insult the audience, they whinge about the fans taking pictures. They charge huge prices for terrible seats.
Yup, I will absolutely review them from you’re seating.