October 09, 2006

Things to Consider When Buying Roger Waters Tickets (or "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Dumb")

(I wrote this for a posting on the ticket sales part of craigslist, but wanted to save it here for posterity and search engines. Seated tickets for the show in Mountain View, CA are US$93 and $135 before Ticketmaster fees and has been solidly sold out for more than four months.)

I wanted to impart a bit of advice for anyone interested -- especially if something like $300 (or more) for a pair of tickets seems like a lot of money to you:

* Roger Waters has a well-known open disdain of fans of The Pink Floyd. To be clear, what this means is you are giving money, and fair amount of it, to a person who basically hates you.

* Roger Waters has done nothing of musical merit in 15 years. If you take away his "coolness" for being part of The Pink Floyd, he's really nothing more than a Barry Manilow with a whole lotta angst. There's nothing wrong with him touring, but there's a huge amount wrong with him doing so at these types of prices.

* Roger Waters is not The Pink Floyd. There are three other members of that band (if you [reasonably] exclude Syd, R.I.P.), none of them will be there, and yet that is nearly the entirety of the music you will be hearing. You are paying to see a cover band of The Pink Floyd.

* I don't know why no one ever talks about this, but the sound at Shoreline can be VERY marginal. There are numerous dead/mushy spots at the amphitheater. If you aren't pretty much in the first six rows or dead on center, you'll get strangeness. (Don't believe me? Go to any show there and as you enter the venue, say between the 100 and 200 sections, just stop and listen. It's nearly impossible to hear anything clearly there. Now look around you -- yes, there are people seated right there. Or just walk through the lawn seating sometime and really LISTEN to the differences.) This is complicated by the fact that sound techs there often over-drive the bass -- I expect this to be exceptionally problematic with Roger Waters since he's a bass player. Worse, Waters likes to use a quadraphonic sound system and while it's likely that it cannot be installed in its full glory at an outdoor venue, any attempt at doing so (and there will be SOME kind of attempt) will complicate things to a point of sonic impossibility.

* The light crew at Shoreline are easily the worst of any venue I've ever been to (including my high school productions). For some reason they. just. can't. hit. a. cue. Considering the complexity of the music being played, Waters may bring his own light techs -- that would make it considerably better (even if they were, say, blind).

* It's likely that The Pink Floyd will re-form, given the success of this and "The Pink Floyd" tours (They have already played re-formed at "Live 8." Waters and Gilmore are now speaking to each other frequently.) Okay, then what? Will they play DSotM in its entirety? No. But wouldn't you rather see the complete item playing the real material than what is essentially a reasonable facsimile? (And you better believe, tickets for that show are going to be EVEN MORE expensive.)

I'm really not trying to rain on any parades here, but the scalpers are all over this show and they're going to hype-hype-hype it to their own benefit. Think about what that money means to you and how it can be used both now and in the future.

Thanks for reading. Good luck.

(I'll step beyond the norm for me and post a review of the show here later this week. Yes, I have tickets and no I didn't pay those outrageous face values.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In spite of your comments (and they are very good ones), I'm still envious that you got to see the show.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 1:51:00 PM  

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