Tag Archives: VIP Package

Duran Does It Better!

Over the years, Rhonda and I have written many, many blogs covering Duran Duran presales, concert tickets and VIP packages.  In some (okay..maybe…many cases), these posts have been critical of some aspect of Duran Duran concert buying details.  Likewise, many fans have also expressed frustration over the process during the last ten years or so.  I remember a LOT of complaining (with good reason) about the use of Ticketmaster, for example.  Ticket prices have also been a big discussion over the years as have VIP packages and what they include.  Many Duranies express frustration that meet and greets are no longer a part of any VIP package.  Others wish that they got more for the money, in terms of either merchandise or parties or whatnot.

Usually, when the topic of fan clubs and presales happen in the world of social media, I hear fans discuss how this band or that band does it better because…These fans offer alternative methods to how Duran sells their concert tickets.  As time has gone by and ticket prices continued to increase, I had to wonder if these fans weren’t right.  Maybe Duran Duran needs to learn from other bands?!  Then, this week forced me to rethink this.

Rhonda blogged earlier this week about Depeche Mode’s method of presales where fans chose their city to buy tickets for and move up in line based on how many albums they purchase, how often they post on social media, etc.  She expressed extremely valid concerns about this system.  I agreed with many of her points but still planned on participating in the presale.  Depeche is one of my favorite bands and I always try to see them when I can.  That said, I don’t travel to see them so the idea of picking one city worked for me.  I did not do much else to improve my spot in line.  I purchased one album and that was it.  My schedule did not allow for more, even if I had wanted to do more.

Soon enough, the presale date rolled around and I found out that I was in the second group.  Okay.  I could live with that.  The presale time came around and I was prepared to buy ticket for a few friends and myself.  I asked for the 4 tickets and I got somewhere around the 20th row.  The ticket price?  With fees, they ran about $175.  Uh.  No thanks.  I do not mind spending money for concert tickets (that’s pretty obvious with Duran, right?).  I do have a problem of spending a lot of money for not great seats.  I thought I could do better.  Later in the day, when I had a bit more time, I decided to search on the map to see what was still available for the fan presale and for how much.

I’m posting the map here to explain what I discovered:

First, let me tell that I have seen Depeche Mode here (Chicago) many times.  Most recently, I had row M in section 104 back in 2013.  Those seats cost $119.  This time, I found that row M in section 103 was a VIP seat.  In fact, row MM in section 204 was also considered VIP.  How much are those VIP tickets and what do fans get for them?

***FRONT ROW PACKAGE*** 
– One (1) Front Row reserved ticket 
– Priority check-in and entrance 
– Pre-show hospitality with specially selected hot/cold appetizers, dessert, complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks 
– Hospitality room featuring themed décor, photo backdrop and playing your favorite Depeche Mode music 
– Crowd-free merchandise shopping (where available) 
– Merchandise item designed and created exclusively for package purchasers 
– Collectible laminate to remember your evening 
– Onsite check-in staff 

***HOSPITALITY PACKAGE*** 
– One (1) Premium reserved ticket 
– Priority check-in and entrance 
– Pre-show hospitality with specially selected hot/cold appetizers, dessert, complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks 
– Hospitality room featuring themed décor, photo backdrop and playing your favorite Depeche Mode music 
– Crowd-free merchandise shopping (where available) 
– Merchandise item designed and created exclusively for package purchasers 
– Collectible laminate to remember your evening 
– Onsite check-in staff 

***GOLD HOT SEAT PACKAGE*** 
– One (1) Premium reserved ticket 
– Merchandise item designed and created exclusively for package purchasers 
– Collectible laminate to remember your evening 

***SILVER HOT SEAT PACKAGE*** 
– One (1) premium Price Level 2 reserved ticket 
– Merchandise item designed and created exclusively for package purchasers 
– Collectible laminate to remember your evening

Right away, I noticed that none of these VIP packages include meet and greets.  I also realized that most of them do not describe what a premium seat means.  I think back to Duran’s VIP packages during this Paper Gods tour and I know that Ultimate had front row.  Gold packages included seats in rows 2 through 6.  DDHQ made it clear where the seats could be, at least in terms of rows.  Depeche doesn’t give any information.  Now, how much are these?  Some of the seats I found were:  Section 103 Row M for $585, Section 102 Row A for $950, Section 204 Row MM for $300.  Wow.  Yesterday, I saw prices for the Hollywood Bowl.  Prices for the front sections there ranged from $865 to $1495 through Ticketmaster.  These are not prices through a ticket broker.

Now, I’m sure that some of you are saying that Duran tickets are expensive.  Sure, they are.  The tickets for next weekend, for example, cost about $350 for second row center with some merchandise.  The Hollywood Bowl show cost $445 for us in October of 2015.  This price included second row center seats, merchandise and a party.  Depeche is clearly charging twice that for their packages there.

After seeing all of this, I have to admit that I’m glad that *my* favorite band is not Depeche Mode.  I couldn’t afford to go to many shows, especially VIP, that’s for sure.  The presale process would already limit where to get tickets and the price guarantees that it is just one city.  Perhaps, their team assumes that fans are only going to one show so maybe they will go all out for that one concert, in terms of tickets.  I don’t know.

Later this morning, I will attempt again to get tickets through the public sale.  I will not be buying VIP tickets, but I will try to get the best tickets I can for a price I can feel comfortable with.  Thankfully, I don’t feel the need to see Depeche up close.  This little experience taught me that Duran does the whole concert ticket thing pretty well, in comparison.  Yep, I’ve said it before and I’ll say.  Duran does it better.

-A

VIP Package Review: Summer 2016

My mailbox has been seeing quite a bit of action lately whether it’s the arrival of tickets or boxes filled with VIP merchandise.  Apparently, tour time is just around the corner!  Last fall, I reviewed the VIP package in a blog here.  I thought I might comment on the new one.

Before I start on the actual items, let me refresh everyone’s memory about the different level of VIP packages available for Duran’s upcoming leg of the Paper Gods Tour.  Ticketmaster describes the options this way:

Don’t miss iconic Duran Duran when they return to North America in support of their new album Paper Gods. See the show as an exclusive VIP. Select from a variety of packages which can include: 

The Ultimate VIP Experience 
1 Front Row Ticket 
On-site VIP concierge 
VIP cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages 
An autographed Duran Duran photo 
Behind-the-scenes backstage tour 
A copy of Duran Duran’s “Paper Gods” CD 
Custom-designed Duran Duran Bag 
Custom designed Duran Duran beach towel 
A Commemorative VIP Tour Laminate with Lanyard 

The GOLD VIP Experience 
One Premium Ticket in rows 1-6 
VIP cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages) 
On-site VIP host 
A copy of Duran Duran’s “Paper Gods” CD 
Custom designed Duran Duran Bag 
Custom designed Duran Duran beach towel 
Commemorative VIP Tour Laminate with Lanyard 

The SILVER VIP Experience 
1 Premium Seat in Rows 1-6 
Custom-designed Duran Duran Bag 
A copy of Duran Duran’s “Paper Gods” CD 
Custom designed Duran Duran beach towel  
Commemorative VIP Tour Laminate and Lanyard 

The BRONZE VIP Experience 
1 Premium Reserved Seat 
A copy of Duran Duran’s “Paper Gods” CD 
Custom designed Duran Duran Bag 
Commemorative VIP Tour Laminate and Lanyard. 

Lanyard:

All of the packages receive a Paper Gods CD (these came earlier!), laminate, lanyard and bag.  These have been reviewed previously for the fall leg of the tour.  The only difference is the hook on the lanyard.  In the fall, the hook could be easily opened.  Now, it is more difficult to open, to attach the laminate and is also more likely to be stretched and ruined.  (We use the same type of lanyard at work and I often stretch out the fastener causing me to need new lanyards frequently.)  If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, hopefully the pictures will help.

Lanyard from Fall 2015
Lanyard from Fall 2015
Lanyard Summer 2016
Lanyard Summer 2016

Beach Towel:

As far as the new merchandise goes, they opted to send us beach towels rather than t-shirts this time.  Honestly, that was probably a wise choice.  As much as I like Duran shirts (and I do!), it is always sort of a nightmare when ordering the tickets as I have to remember what sizes to put in and that adds another task before a ticket order can be finalized.  I can also imagine how much difficult it is for Duran’s team to have to make sure to put the right sizes in all of the packages.  As far as the beach towel goes, it matches the Paper Gods cover as you see below.

Beach Towel--Front
Beach Towel–Front

The towel is little less than 5 feet by 3 feet, which seems a bit on the small side.  That said, it is incredibly soft.  In fact, as I told Rhonda, it felt more like a soft blanket.  It has a much better feel to it than the store bought beach towels.  The colors and the images are incredibly vibrant as well.  I also think it is pretty cool that there is no reference to Duran Duran on the front.  The towel lets the symbols representing Duran’s history speak for themselves.  The back of the towel is pure white with a little tag that does identify it as Duran.  I love it!

Beach Towel Tag
Beach Towel Tag

Cocktail Hour:

I obviously can’t speak about the VIP cocktail hour yet as those happen with the shows themselves.  I did attend one at the Hollywood Bowl in the Fall and I have to admit to being a bit disappointed.  They offered a few types of appetizers to eat, some vegetarian friendly (thank you!) and some not.  The wine selection was fine.  My disappointment did not stem from anything the Duran team did or did not do.  It had more to do with the fact that we had just come from a meet-up at the Hard Rock that we had organized where music played, people mingled, took pictures, etc.  It was a more relaxed atmosphere at the Hard Rock and, yes, I’m sure that it helped that I knew more people at our meet-up than at the official VIP party.  That said, I’m looking forward to the ones I will be attending this summer.

Backstage Tour:

Like the cocktail party, those tours take place the night of the shows.  I did not attend one last time and I don’t have Platinum tickets to get one this time.  That said, we did have a guest blog talking about it after the fall leg, which you can read about here.  If anyone attends one this time, we welcome more guest blogs!

Communication and Shipping:

I wondered how these VIP packages would go this time around since most of the tickets were sold through Ticketmaster.  I was concerned that the merchandise wouldn’t come or wouldn’t be right.  Yet, the merch came without a problem.  I also appreciated the emails alerting me to the packages being shipped.  That said, part of me had to wonder if they could have been more efficient by putting all of the packages I purchased into one bigger box rather than multiple smaller boxes.  I wonder if that wouldn’t have saved them money for boxes and shipping.  Of course, I realize that a process like that would require more organization and could result in more errors.

Overall:

The team surrounding this leg of the tour delivered on the VIP packages.  They arrived on time and with exactly what was promised.  In fact, I haven’t heard or seen one complaint!  The beach towel is super nice, too.  Now, I have to hope that the VIP parties deliver as well.

-A

The Ticket Gods Were Kind!

This week the phrase that happens to be the title of this particular blog post was uttered one or two or a hundred times by my partner-in-crime and myself.  We said it over and over again in hopes that the ticket gods, indeed, would be kind to us on Tuesday morning when the tickets for the California Mid-State Fair went on sale.  Were they kind to us?  Well, it was an interesting pre-sale…

That morning, I woke up, posted the question of the day, got ready for work and proceeded to feel really sick.  I sighed heavily and assumed that it was just pre-sale nerves.  After all, the last pre-sale that happened was through Ticketmaster and it was rough, to say the least.  That pre-sale resulted in not getting the tickets we wanted.  Therefore, I assumed that my sick feeling was like bad deja-vu and off to work I want.  By the end of second hour, I desperately wanted to curl up in a fetal position and lay down.  Instead, I do what most teachers do and push through, as I wandered around the room, helping students with their research.  I had planned on leaving school under the guise of getting “supplies” (tickets are supplies, right???) right at 11 when the tickets went on sale at 12.  Unfortunately, my body was definitely NOT cooperating at that moment.  I couldn’t believe it and began to sweat as I worried that I wouldn’t make it home on time on top of being sick.

Somehow, though, I managed to get myself to my car and drove home.  I logged into DuranDuranMusic and anxiously awaited presale time while trying to ignore the very sick feeling at the pit of my stomach.  So, in order to pass the time, I did what I usually do.  I texted Rhonda.  She assured me that I would be fine.  I tried to respond in agreement but…I was worried that I might not make it.  I watched the minutes slowly go by as I started to worry that not only would the ticket gods NOT be on our side but that they were actively working against us.  Finally, the hour struck 12 and ticket options appeared after frantic refreshing.  Yes!  I got tickets in my cart that were pretty damn good!!  I completed the purchase and texted Rhonda.  I try to draw out her anticipation with some cryptic texts but soon enough I came out with it.  We got good seats!!!  Really good seats!  To say that I felt relief was an understatement.  I still felt like crawling into bed and dying but I didn’t have to worry about missing the presale.  Let’s face it.  That was the important thing.  Of course, instead of being able to do that, I forced myself to go back to work with a promise to Rhonda that we would celebrate later!

Now, a few days later, I’m still thrilled with the results of the presale. Do I think we were lucky because the ticket gods were on our side?  I don’t know.  Was it luck?  I’m sure there is a little bit of that.  Was it to make up for my being sick?  I doubt it.  No, I think the results of this presale were for three big reasons that I have outlined below.

No Ticketmaster

For this presale, Ticketmaster was not ticket outlet of choice.  It was Tickets Today.  When I realized that it was not Ticketmaster or some outlet I knew, I worried but I shouldn’t have.  It was SO easy.  I went to DuranDuranMusic.  I logged in which allowed me to click on the link for the presale.  From there, I was able to refresh the Tickets Today site until the VIP packages showed up.  I was confident that the only people with access to this presale were people who were DDM.  People couldn’t get a password to use.  No, they had to go through the fan club.  It was the only way, from what I could see.  On top of that, the Tickets Today website was so clear and easy to see and deal with.  With Ticketmaster, I had too many drop down menus to deal with in the heat of the moment.  I had to decide if I wanted Ticketmaster to find me tickets or to use the map.  Then, each VIP package required a different drop down menu to search for them.  In this case, I could easily see where to buy VIP packages and my request went through without a problem.  Needless to say, I couldn’t be MORE thrilled that they used someone else and I SO hope that they continue with Tickets Today for the Chicago presales coming up in April.

Silver VIP Option

Another aspect of this presale that worked well was the fact that there was a Silver VIP option.  Silver, in case you are unfamiliar, includes the following:

The SILVER VIP Experience $150 + Ticket Price (No Additional Ticket Master Service Charges) 

– 1 Premium Seat in Rows 1-6 
– Custom-designed Canvas Bag 
– A copy of Duran Duran’s “Paper Gods” CD 
– Custom designed Duran Duran beach towel  
– Commemorative VIP Tour Laminate and Lanyard

For many of us, good seats up close is what matters the most.  This package allows that possibility for a reasonable amount of money compared to Gold or Platinum package.  Gold gives the same possibilities for seats in rows 1-6 but costs $260 plus the ticket price.  Yes, I realize that there is a VIP party with food and beverages.  Generally, I don’t need that.  I would prefer to go to meet ups that Rhonda and I organize.  Therefore, Silver offers the best chance for good seats at the best price.  Unfortunately, Silver has rarely been offered during this tour.  I hope that DDHQ considers doing more Silver packages in the future.

Other Factors

Besides the two big factors of Silver VIP and Tickets Today, there were a few other factors that helped the ticket gods help us.  First, I was able to leave work in order to complete the presale.  I didn’t have any interruptions or have poor wifi.  That was huge.  Second, this show was the only show that I or the system had to worry about.  I remember how in 2005, presales for various shows and locations were staggered.  This would work better for people buying for more than one show and I would think it would be easier for the system and DDHQ, too.

On that note, maybe the ticket gods were on our side.  Maybe they helped with having the presale go through Tickets Today.  Maybe they helped with the types of packages.  Next time, though, I would love for them also to help me not be sick at the same time.

-A

Paper Gods VIP Package Review

31 days from now, I will be leaving to head to the west coast, to California, to see my partner-in-crime as well as other friends, and to go on tour!  In some ways, I can’t really believe it!!!  It has been so long since I have seen a full show that part of me started to feel like it was normal to not tour.  I started to believe that I would never tour again.  Even after buying tickets to shows, part of me doubted that it was going to happen.  Like the album, even with ticket confirmations in my email inbox, I could ignore and put the tour on the back burner.    Yesterday, though, it hit me.  It really hit me.  I’m going on tour soon!  What caused this?!  Simple!  The merchandise for the VIP package arrived!!!  It felt like Duran Christmas or a birthday (or a pretty view!).  Who doesn’t love opening up packages with Duran stuff in it?!  That said, I thought people might be curious as to what I thought about what we got!

The VIP package contains 4 items:  tote bag, t-shirt, laminate, and lanyard.  3 of the 4 items were very focused on Paper Gods with the album cover theme.  The t-shirt was not.  So, what do I think of each item and the package as a whole?

Laminate:

In case, you don’t know what I’m talking about, a laminate is like my work id card that is worn to show, to indicate one’s status as a VIP.  In the past, Duran has included these in their tours as well.  Yet, there has been a varying degree of quality.  For example, for the Astronaut tour, it appeared that the laminate was created with a piece of paper and a simple laminating machine.

Astronaut Tour Laminate

For the All You Need Is Now tour, they appeared a little more professional.

2011 Tour Laminate

This time around, clearly, they are even better!!

Front
Front
Back
Back

In this case, there is no plastic shown at all.  It looks very professional!  I’m impressed!  The only thing that could have improved them would be to add the location and date on it.  Clearly, yes, these are universal, which is fine, but I wouldn’t mind the reminder of when and where I went VIP to a show.

Lanyard:

If you look at the first two pictures above, you can see what the lanyards looked like for previous VIP packages.  Basically, they were like shoestrings that had a fasten at the end to attach to the laminate.  In the case of the first one, the lanyard was black and, in the case of the second one, it was white.  Both were fine, in my opinion.  I would not have even thought about how to improve this part of the package before I saw the one sent for this one!

Lanyard

This is NOT just a shoestring, by any stretch of the imagination.  No, it is silk like material and very obviously displays the color scheme of the album along with the stickers and logo.  It truly goes along perfectly with the laminate.  I’m impressed.

Tote Bag:

How many of you use tote bags?  I do.  I use them a lot.  I use them at the grocery store or places like Target all the time.  I’m one of those people who want to carry all of my packages in at one time and tote bags make this much easier for me.  Thus, I have a collection.  I even have a Daily Duranie one.  (You can, too!  Visit our Cafe Press page here to get one for yourself!)  Anyway, I was excited by the one that came with the VIP package.

Tote bag

Again, it captures the album art well and the image is sharp.  I could almost see discussions take place as people want to know what the various pictures represent.  I also appreciated that it was of good quality.  While it isn’t super huge, it can hold some weight as it isn’t paper thin (ha!).

T-Shirt:

I am a sucker for all things Duran, in terms of merchandise.  I won’t lie.  I’m an easy sell, which is why I have a ton of Duran t-shirts.  I stopped counting how many because I fear that I crossed the line into ridiculousness.  That said, I couldn’t wait to see what the t-shirt for this tour was going to be like.  In the recent past, it was the Careless Memories single cover or the logo from the first album.  Thus, it has typically been more retro in content.  This one is no different.

T-shirt

Obviously, this t-shirt is focused more on the Is There Something I Should Know/Seven and the Ragged Tiger/1983 era Duran, style wise.  I loved that logo.  I still love that logo.  I don’t have much with it so I welcome that.  That said, I was really thrown by the colors here.  Those aren’t the colors I think of when I think 1983, at least not all together like this.  Then, the colors seem so off when I think about the current palette.  The blue works but the red?  The brown-orange?  I think what they should have done instead is use the retro logo but combine it with the current colors.  After all, the album cover features new and old.  On a different note, the t-shirts seem maybe slightly on the big side, size wise.  That isn’t necessarily bad, just something I observed.

All and all, I thought that the package was good.  The items were clearly made by professionals with quality.  The only part that did not live up or exceed my expectations was the t-shirt.  I’m sure that I’ll live, though!  😉  Now, if the tickets would just arrive…

-A