Concert tickets are expensive. Yes, there are some bands that you can see on the cheap at local clubs, but, most major bands have stopped hitting the small arena circuit and set their sights on NFL & MLB stadiums. In the last year or so, my budget per show of tickets has slowly risen from under $100 to just shy of $150 (fees included). Add to that the merchandise you plan on picking up along with concessions, the night can get pricey very quickly. It’s not that these things are ever a surprise, you can plan for them; budget even. You’ll always be able to find that one fan that says, “Man, I remember when it was all about the music, man.”
Not saying I’m that guy, but it’s getting close. I have been lucky to live in or close to major metro areas for most of my adult life. Getting to see a major band in concert hasn’t been an issue. Even some of the smaller tours always seem to find a way to do a drive-by near me. Before the internet, if you wanted to get an audio or video copy of the show you could get one if you looked really hard…or made a stop at the Route 1 Flea Market. Nine times out of ten, it was a shitty copy of a show that you weren’t at. It was just one stop that one of the tape traders was able to sneak a VHS CamCorder into without getting caught. There was usually a guy blocking the view and the sound was muffled. Or, the view would be from so high in the nose-bleeds that the stage looked like a pulsating, throbbing ball of light with the accompanying soundtrack.
Sometimes bands would release a live album from one of their shows. It could be one show that you weren’t at or an amalgam of all the shows on the tour and they just picked the best performances. I’m still on the fence about live albums, they’re great in that it’s almost like you are there. True, you don’t have to sit through the 3 minute intros to each song or band member but you give up hearing the mistakes, start-overs, and songs that eventually get cut from the final track list.
The first band that I heard doing bootlegs the right way was Phish. I am not a jam band aficionado but I like the concept of paying for a ticket and you get a free audio download of the show after. Phish have really pioneered fan engagement for those that can’t make the show. Doesn’t matter if you are in the same city or 4,000 miles away you can login and hear the live webcast of the show. With the code on your ticket, you can download the audio of the show to your own devices. Over and above all that, if you really wanted to, you can have a CD burned of the show(s) and have it in your own personal collection as a memento of the show.
When I bought tickets for Metallica’s stop in Seattle, I was prompted at checkout if I wanted a CD or MP3 copy of the show. I was excited as I thought I was going to get a free copy copy of the show but that was too good to be true. Turns out it was a $20 add-on. I still bought it thinking it would be a cool little keepsake from the show. I learned long ago that these shows are planned far enough in advance that almost every minute is scripted, from the set list to the banter in-between, all scripted. When I listen to the show I can say, “I was there. I remember that.”
It’s not just the music that you remember when you are listening to the show you were at. You remember who you went with, who you saw there, what you ate/drank, and everything else you wouldn’t if you just bought the live album from a random show. I wish bands would see this more as a value-added item to a ticket purchase than a cash grab. If I didn’t buy a ticket and one of my favorite bands was making a stop in my city, I would love to pay $20 to have a CD or MP3 copy.
|For Whom The Bell Tolls||5:22|
|The Memory Remains||4:44|
|Now, That We're Dead||10:56|
|Moth Into Flame||6:27|
|Wherever I May Roam||6:30|
|Halo On Fire||9:30|
|Kirk & Rob Doodle||6:01|
|Sad But True||9:02|
|Master Of Puppets||8:38|
|Fade To Black||8:51|
|Seek & Destroy||11:39|
|Nothing Else Matters||6:26|