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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Expecting To See Neil Young: For The Turnstiles, Cough Up The Buck$, Watch Out For The Greedy Hand

Late Thursday, 4 Neil Young concerts were announced for ticket pre-sales on Neil Young Archives (NYA) Times-Contrarian:

  • Sep 26 & 27 @ The Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY (w/ Promise Of The Real)
  • Sep 30 & Oct 1 @ Tower Theater, Upper Darby, PA (Solo)

And -- predictably -- the praises and indignation began. Prices too high. Annoying measures taken to thwart scalping. Neil's support of Democrats. etc.

We do find it sort of perplexing that after all these years -- and hundreds of comments later -- folks are still bitching and moaning about concert tickets. Even after Neil delivers exactly what his fans have been requesting.

Here's a comment on "4 SHOW PRE-SALE NOW - Neil Young Concert Tickets" by dd:
I don't begrudge a musician charging whatever he wants.

It's his business, both literally and figuratively. I was simply stating that it was funny/ironic that was praising him for keeping the prices relatively static so many years later and was then faced with an increase hours later. I know Port Chester is a small venue, half the size of the Wang Theater. Perhaps that's why he's charging more. And he's certainly not the only one doing so.

And of course I get that record sales aren't paying the bills (although I don't know that Neil's records have paid the bills since...Harvest Moon? He hasn't been a big seller since Harvest, I suspect, which is purposeful, to some extent. He didn't want to be middle-of-the-road, so he veered into the ditch, to paraphrase the man himself. It does, however, make it difficult for younger fans, at the very least, to come up with the funds. Of course, they can grab a grass seat at an amphitheater, which is affordable. No one sells those for over $100. I was just feeling sticker shock, since it's the most expensive ticket I've ever purchased (and the seats were even more). I remember being a teen, bummed that the balcony seats were all gone and that I would be spending all of my money on the orchestra ticket. I don't regret it now, I didn't regret it then.

BUT I do believe there is more to it than what the market will allow.

Just because you CAN charge a price doesn't mean you have to. I'm a firm believer that an artist gets to choose his/her audience. Neil, so individualistic and idiosyncratic, has nurtured a loyal fanbase that has followed him for decades. At the same time, by charging prices that only the most fervent and/or well-to-do can afford, you may not have the best audience mix. It's an art, not a science, but I've been to almost 1000 concerts in my young life (36) and I've seen what those gold circle front rows give back to the artist. Sometimes they're amazing, often times they aren't.

That's why bands like Pearl Jam make ticket prices the same for the whole venue and allow the fan club to have prime access to those seats. They could raise the prices and I'm sure a lot of the fans would go along with it. I'm hopeful that instituting the mobile ticket system will discourage if not completely eliminate scalpers, thereby getting the tickets into the right people's hands. I was just at a Radiohead show where a bunch of banker types showed up late and talked throughout the show. These people can't get priced out, but the fans that contribute to a show's 'magical' quality can. I think that's at the heart of some people's gripes. Personally, it's Neil's call. The truth is, if he were a younger artist, I wouldn't have bought the tickets (Ween, Jason Isbell, etc).

I just don't know how many more opportunities I'll have to see the man, so if it means driving 7 hours roundtrip to Saratoga Springs..or taking a bus on a work night to Philly...or a train to Port Chester, I'm going to do it. But I feel for people with kids and mortgages and other necessities whose 'fun money' jars isn't big enough to make it happen.
@ dd - thanks for all of the context and background in your comment.

Wow, not bad to see 1,000 concerts in 20 years or so. That's pretty cool. And we weren't busting on you specifically and agree with a lot of what you're saying. These links below echo much of what you and others are saying.

The point is that no matter what Neil does, folks always seem to think they know best what should have been done differently. We'll also add that a couple of these shows will be live streamed which is extremely cool. The west coast streams recently were quite awesome.

Like with everything, there is no one magical solution to the problem.

We would argue that the cheaper GA upfront, more expensive reserved in the back is an innovation that we here @ TW championed for years. See:


Cough Up The Buck$ Crew
HarryO, Volume Drinkers: Brand New Guy, Paul D.
Madison Square Garden, NYC, NY - 12/15/2008

just might have to re-visit that "Cough Up The Buck$" video ...

For the Turnstiles

"All the sailors with their seasick mamas
Hear the sirens on the shore,
Singin' songs for pimps with tailors
Who charge ten dollars at the door.

You can really learn a lot that way
It will change you in the middle of the day.
Though your confidence may be shattered,
It doesn't matter.

All the great explorers
Are now in Granite Lake
Under white sheets for the great unveiling
At the big parade.

You can really learn a lot that way
It will change you in the middle of the day.
Though your confidence may be shattered,
It doesn't matter.

All the bushleague batters
Are left to die on the diamond.
In the stands the home crowd scatters
For the turnstiles,
For the turnstiles,
For the turnstiles."

deja vu over and over again, our friends

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At 9/15/2018 03:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is philly sold out I can't get anything to happen in Ticketmaster presale

At 9/15/2018 04:09:00 PM, Blogger Kathy Shanahan said...

Keith, go to Neil Young Archives. The link for tickets is through the Contrarian page.

At 9/15/2018 04:14:00 PM, Blogger Kathy Shanahan said...

If anyone is interested in listening to what may be played at the shows I've created playlists on Spotify based on the shows this year: Neil Young and POTR 2018 is one and the other is Neil Young Solo 2018. There were a few tracks I couldn't find but it's mostly complete.

At 9/16/2018 12:21:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

More info about live streams plz....

At 9/16/2018 12:50:00 PM, Blogger GIANTWALKING said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9/16/2018 07:28:00 PM, Blogger Jaguar Paul said...

I'm in California for a month (from the UK) and just saw these Port Chester concerts on the archive page; thought about it for a bit but flights and tickets now sorted. One more Neil Young concert . . . Yee Ha! . . . There'll come a time when there won't be any more Neil Young concerts so hang the expense . . . Yes the tickets might be 'expensive' but I believe that Neil operates with integrity and it seems to me that he uses money to support good things. Lucky Paul, Redding CA, Bristol UK.

At 9/16/2018 10:05:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hay I have been a Neal Young fan at age 13 now still a fan at 61 I will never have the money to see him live still will be a fan till the day i die go Neal

At 9/17/2018 12:31:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

How much are good seats for these shows? I'm done going to concerts but am curious what they're going for. In 2010 & 2011, I think I paid $202 per ticket I think for 2nd row pit seats to see Neil solo.


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