Yesterday I received my VIP goodies in UPS – they were brilliantly packaged in a poster tube! In the package I received a T-shirt, a laminate (meant for a lanyard) and a poster. Pictures below:
The t-shirt is decent quality, it’s lightweight, but definitely not tissue weight, and it’s generously sized. I ordered a large and it’s going to be big on me – which in my case is what I wanted. The one thing that would have been nice, but it wasn’t at all promised, is that it have VIP on it somewhere – and really I think the key would have been to have it be a tour design shirt with the US dates on the back. (I don’t even know if they have a shirt for this tour) That would have truly been commemorative, but as I mentioned – that wasn’t what was promised, so it’s not as though they didn’t deliver.
The laminate is just that – a small laminate that is meant for hanging on a lanyard that was not included. This is the one item that I think is lame. There are no tour dates on it other than the year, and compared to others I’ve received in the past – which already came hanging on a lanyard – I don’t see the point. The photo used is the photo on the front page of DD.com – not a bad picture to use, but there’s really no point unless you’re into collecting them, which I suspect many VIP’ers must be.
The poster is the best item included in the package by a landslide. It’s heavy weight posterboard (nearly cardboard, but not quite as it can be rolled and put in a poster tube without causing damage) and the photo is gorgeous…and recent…as can be seen by John’s blonde bangs. (thank you thank you thank you John Taylor.) The poster is so nice that I dared ask my husband if it can be framed and hung in our room. (as opposed to being hung up in my tiny little closet along with my other Duran Duran posters that have somehow lasted through the ages!) Jury is still out on that one, but given the fact that HE suggested framing it…I may just have a chance! The only thing missing on the poster in my opinion, well two things actually, are Dom Brown (granted he is not a member but it just seems kind of empty without him) and the signatures of the band. Not a likely addition that could be made, but one can certainly dream.
All of this, plus a guaranteed “premium” seat was an extra $125 USD on top of the ticket price. Total for my show in Valley Center was about $250. My seats (my husband Walt is going with me) are 3rd row in the middle section of the arena floor and if you’re looking at the stage – I’m on the aisle to the right of Simon’s spot. Not bad seats by any means, but again – is it worth the price?
Back in 2005, I went as a VIP to the Chicago show. Again my seats were 3rd row, this time on John’s side. I remember getting a lanyard, a decent tote bag that had Duran Duran printed on the bag…I can’t remember if we got a t-shirt or not (I have one from that tour, but I don’t know if it came in the package, anyone remember?) and we had a pre-show party with a couple drink tickets. I have to admit that at the time, I did sort of feel like I was a VIP. It was the new-ness of the situation I’m sure, along with the excitement of being at the show with my friends that made it worth my money. The party was OK, but it was all so rushed that none of us really had a chance to enjoy it – although at the time, I still had fun. I believe that my ticket for that show was somewhere around $300 plus fees, and yes, the price hurt. Some time after that I did VIP for the fan show in NYC – I think I paid closer to $350 or more for that show and I was up in the balcony. The party was nicer with really good food, I received a very nice bag that was both suede and canvas with the show printed on the side along with a poster and a lanyard (a very nice lanyard – the best quality one I have), but the sting was that my seat was ridiculous – and ridiculously priced for what I ended up with. After that I swore that my VIP days were over. Famous last words, right?
One thing I need to mention is that in addition to the other goodies mentioned, there was always the dangling carrot of having an teensy-weensy chance of winning a Meet and Greet with the band. If you can’t tell by my tone, no, I’ve never won one. The closest I’ve come to a meet and greet is a signing that I waited hours for over the course of two afternoons/evenings in Los Angeles – and yet I’m still thankful I had the opportunity. I know of many fellow VIP’ers that have won not only one VIP meet and greet, but several over the years. Apparently my band karma sucks or I’ve pissed the wrong person off. Those are the breaks.
I should also back up and mention that in more recent years, there were differing levels of VIP – silver, gold & platinum – and of course with each level up there was a price premium and the promise of more merchandise and better tickets. I think that for the most part, Amanda and I stuck to “gold” which put us between rows 5-10. I know people who have payed as high as $550 for their VIP tickets, and I can’t imagine the merchandise they were given was any better or worse than I have right now. VIP prices have definitely gone down with this tour, and the merchandise quality has probably taken a little hit as well. There’s no longer a chance for a meet and greet with the band, either. While my seat for Valley Center is good, I probably could have taken my chances and gotten a seat on Ticketmaster, or even gone to StubHub and paid a premium but still ended up with a good seat.
I’m not sure what exactly it comes down to for me, but I’ll try to explain my thoughts as succinctly as possible. I know that I can go to StubHub and pay somewhere between $200-$300 for really good tickets to any Duran Duran show and be relatively near the front. Not front row, but not horrible seats either. I also know that I can use my DDM membership and get VIP tickets for nearly the same price point that are going to probably be in the first 5 rows or so and I’ll get some merchandise as well. I also know that I’m not happy with just any seats these days. I want good ones unless it’s GA, and then I relegate myself to the back because I refuse to wait in line for an entire day to get to the front. (maybe I’d do it again if I were with the right friends – but to just wait by myself? Nah!) I guess my point is that if I know I’m already going to be paying $200 or so, I’d rather just do the VIP thing, end up with a guaranteed good seat and some fun merchandise on top of it all.
It all comes down to budgets and choices, doesn’t it?