Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sign the economy is still bad? Layaway for concert tickets

Can't afford to see your favorite summer concerts this year? Don't worry, Meadowbrook up in Gilford, N.H. has a brand new plan - layaway for concert tickets:
For the first time ever, we are offering the option to put concert tickets on layaway. Reserve the best available seats right now by putting down only a small deposit and then have the luxury of paying off the balance with three weekly installments ... the perfect cure for the low-budget blues!
Well now, when I first saw this I thought, How silly. But thinking about it now, a bit deeper, this is an interesting idea. Instead of charging tickets or taking all the money out for the tickets, you can just make the small payments yourself, like everyone used to do in the old days. This actually will be a much better system next year, if they decide to continue it. When they start the sked in February or March, you can line up your tickets and then make small installments weekly until the tickets are paid off. This way, you take money away from the credit card companies, you don't take a huge lump sum taken out of your pocket, and the venue and bands get people in the seats. That's a win, win, win.
However, this is a sign of a bad economy. People just don't have hundreds of dollars a month in disposal income to be throwing at pretty mediocre bands to begin with. I mean, look at the bands that are left: Steve Miller and the Doobie Brothers ... retire already! Lynyrd Skynyrd and Joan Jett ... OK, Joan Jett rules. But Skynyrd? Come on. Aren't half those guys gone to the netherworld? The Moody Blues. I love the Moody Blues. But there are only three original members at this point, and the brilliant keyboardist Patrick Moraz left years ago. I saw them in 1986 and I don't think they will ever be able to top that show, even with all the cool gadgets. Priest? Ugh. Allman Brothers? Hmm. Whose playing guitar? And then, country stuff ... ugh.
Or, maybe, there are just too many acts touring these days. I don't know if it is just me or not, but I don't have a lot of interest in seeing many concerts these days. I would much prefer to buy a DVD for $15 and have the entire concert available to view any time. I was thinking about getting Blondie/Pat Benatar tickets because, who knows how many times Blondie will tour again, and I've never seen them. I did go see the Psychedelic Furs, but that was a bit different. I should have gone to see the Curtain Society last night with Mark Burgess of the Chameleons but came home to sleep instead [Marty Wilson-Piper from The Church apparently showed up to sit in on a few songs ... what was I thinking by not going?] The Pretenders and Missing Persons are playing at two different New Hampshire venues on Aug. 8, a night I have family stuff going on. Oh well.
One of the things we music fans don't really realize is that many musicians don't have a lot of money. Some have tons - or did before their investments tanked too. But if they weren't frugal, they have probably blown through whatever they had during their heyday. That means they have to go to work, not unlike retired sports stars. But, there comes a time when there are just too many bands competing for too few fans at concert venues. I don't know if we have reached that time but I bet we're close to it.

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