Tag Archives: Summerfest

The Importance of Live Shows

I am moving super slowly today as I knew that I would. Yesterday, I went to Summerfest in Milwaukee with some friends. Summerfest, for those unfamiliar, is the “largest music festival” with a bunch of different stages and bands over an almost two week period. While it showcases a number of smaller, local bands, it also brings in headliners. Last night, that big act was the Killers.

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know that we adore the Killers. In fact, I would say that they are my second favorite band. What this means to me is that I will go see them whenever I can. I’m not sure that I would travel much to see them like I do Duran but I will buy any album and buy concert tickets when I can. Of course, throughout the night, I found myself thinking about Duran Duran and the importance of live shows.

I have not been to Summerfest in a really long time. I forgot exactly what it is like. While I had an amazing time, there are elements that I could have done without. For one thing, the festival does an absolutely awful job at signs so you have no idea if you are heading in the right direction to get to the right parking lot or not. Maybe if you go every year or lived nearby it wouldn’t be an issue but that is not me. The food choices also leave something to be desired as is the expensively priced and often poorly tasting. The same is true when it comes to drinks. Then, of course, it is all outside. I’m not a big fan of the outdoors. There is always a chance for sunburn or bug bites. Yeah, no thank you. Last night, though, the biggest issue was the heat. It wasn’t even that hot (low 80s) but the humidity meant that we were sweating…a LOT. Again, I’m not a big fan. But I was willing to put up with it as were a lot of other people. Why?

In between dancing and singing along to each and every song, I looked around at the audience. In some cases, I wondered what people were thinking. For example, the guy directly in front of me stood for the entire show but never moved at all. He did not even move his leg to the music. There was no waving. I’m not even sure that there was a lot of clapping from him. While I demonstrated the opposite behavior, we were both there for the same thing. We both wanted to see the Killers live in concert. Of course, there were also fans that got into it more than I did. (Hard to imagine, I know.) For instance, there was a guy at the end of the show, during Mr. Brightside, that got so into it that he took off his shirt to twirl it over his head. I also think about the fans in the front who reached out to touch Brandon Flowers, the lead singer, every time he came close.

So, what motivated all of us to be there? Yes, part of it for me was going and hanging out with some friends but why suffer through less than ideal food and gross summer humidity? I think the answer to that is simple. Absolutely nothing takes the place of a live show. I remember an interview with John Taylor years ago when he was asked about illegal downloading. His response focused on how those downloads do not replace the live show. He is right. Many record labels have figured this out, too. Touring matters. Live shows matter. I could buy all the albums by the Killers and listen to them over and over and over again. Yet, there is nothing better than hearing those songs live.

Every time I go to a concert I cannot help but to think of that frequently stated quote in John Taylor’s autobiography, “the music never sounded better.” This is very true during a concert. In fact, the music is so good that I often find myself connecting to songs differently or more deeply than I would have just listening to the album at home. The most significant example of this is Planet Earth. While I loved that song since the very first time I heard it, it was not my favorite until I heard and saw it performed live.

Knowing all this makes me think about the fact that Duran Duran has been so limited in terms of number of shows and locations. If you live in Vegas, for example, you have been very lucky. Heck, if you are like me, in that I have been able to sneak away to go, you are very lucky. I’m well-aware that lots of other fans are waiting to see Duran play live. The vast majority of Duranies have been anxiously hoping to see their favorite band in concert, knowing that there is nothing better, nothing more magical than seeing a band perform. This is why I have to hope that DDHQ really considers making some plans to get the band to parts of the world that has been significantly lacking in shows.

On that note, I’m off to take a nap.

-A

Time Will Change the Picture

This has been a fascinating week and one filled with a few surprises that I’m still shaking my head over. One of those included the ticket sale surrounding the Killers show in Milwaukee as part of Summerfest on July 5th. Needless to say, it didn’t go as planned.

Early in the week I received an email from the Killers fan club about this show in Milwaukee. It stated that I would have presale access on Wednesday. That is pretty much all the email said. There was no information about what kind of seats would be available, what the costs would be or anything. Huh? Instead of trying to figure it all out, I announced my desire to go to the show on Facebook and found multiple friends wanting to go. So, now, I decided to look at the link on this presale email. All it said was when the presale would be and there would be a four ticket limit. Great. I needed to buy 5. Now what? I thought my problem was going to be solved when my friend, Jeff, offered to buy a couple for me but that was short-lived. Turns out that he didn’t receive that email even though he also is a member of their fan club. What the heck? Did I receive it just because I live in Wisconsin? I don’t know. I think that would be dumb, if so. If I only got access to Duran shows when they came nearby, I would never see them. They haven’t been to Wisconsin since 2005. Even Chicago has been showless since 2016. Okay. I figured I would check out the presale and go from there.

Wednesday morning comes and I have my class covered to buy tickets. Cool. I hide out in the staff lounge as I wait for the 10 am hour. After the usual agonizing minutes before a presale, the buy tickets button appeared. What tickets were offered? The only ones were general admission pit. Confusion hit as the map showed seats. Were there only GA? I did get a price on those but that was it. No additional information was given. Do I buy these GA tickets? After pondering our options, I decided to throw them back and wait and see what is offered in the general sale. If there are seats, I want them. After all, I am old and hate waiting in GA especially in the summer. I still cannot really understand the idea that the fan club only offered that. Yes, maybe, that would be the best place to be the closest but still. Should the fans have the most choices or, at least, more information.

Soon enough, Friday rolled around and I was ready to try again. This time, I did not need class coverage as the public sale started at noon, during my lunch hour. I did not need to use the fan club presale but went directly to Ticketmaster. I still didn’t have a ton of info on types of tickets and prices but I decided not to sweat it. As I logged in and went to the show’s page, I saw something new. The screen said that I should click on a button and join a queue. It stated that if I didn’t, when the tickets go on sale, I would be put in the back of the online line. Fascinating. I wondered if I should have logged in sooner to get a better place in line. It also made me think that this might be an interesting idea so that fans won’t be jumping over each other. I think we have all experienced getting tickets in our cart that we don’t want and throw them back. Meanwhile someone looking at the same time might have wanted those but couldn’t see them because they were in someone’s cart. At noon, the ticketmaster screen changed to say that I had 773 people in front of me. Was that long? Would it take a long time to get to the front? I had no idea. In reality, I got to the front about two minutes after 12. When my time came, the map with seats popped up and I was able to click on the seats I wanted without a problem. Did I get the best seats? No, they weren’t front row but they are halfway up one of the front sections. I was pleased.

So, what is the point of me sharing this story? This is a Duran fan blog. I like to compare other band’s fan club and presales to Duran’s. What did I find with this one? I thought the communication was absolutely awful. Duranies would have been screaming and attempting to get answers from Katy. I don’t know how fans of the Killers felt but I found it super frustrating to not know the set up of the show and how much tickets would be. Then, the fan club should offer a heck of a lot more than just one section of tickets. That’s dumb. Fans should have choices. This made me feel so much more positive towards DuranDuranMusic and how DDM does it. Sometimes, it is good to remember that even if our imperfect presale system, it could be way worse.

My other thought had to do with Ticketmaster. I found it hard to sit there and just stare at the screen while I waiting for my turn to buy tickets but it only lasted a couple of minutes. When I got to buy the tickets, I didn’t have a ton of “some other fan beat you to these tickets” pop up, resulting in having to select different and worse ones. I am okay with the queue system if it makes the process smoother and less stressful. The last few times we bought Duran tickets on Ticketmaster, those presales were rough. I didn’t experience any of that frustration today. Could this be a sign that Ticketmaster is making changes for the better? Perhaps. The only thing I wish I knew is when I should have gotten into line, so to speak. Could I have gotten much closer if I had? Maybe.

All in all, it was a weird process. It was so strange that I had better luck during the regular sale vs. the presale. Likewise, I should be more frustrated with Ticketmaster rather than a fan club. Bizarre. I’m glad, though, that I got seats for myself and my friends. It gives me something to look forward to during the summer.

-A