Today marks the release of U2″s new album No Line On The Horizon. However, thanks to someone Universal the album was put on sale early and subsequently making its way around the file sharing community I have listened to the album thoroughly. However, this post is not an album review, but a discussion on what will be following very soon: a world tour.
I have seen U2 in 2001 and 2005 and both shows were an experience onto themselves. U2 may have been slipping with their effort in the studio but they are the best live act I have seen and have vowed to travel whatever distance to see them live. Therein lies the problem.
In the last few months there has been talk about Ticketmaster and Live Nation merging, which could raise ticket prices. U2″s tour company is Live Nation and hasn’t been without their ticket sale issues in the past but this merger has me concerned as a fan, especially one trying to buy tickets for one of the biggest bands in the world.
Recently there have been issues with Leonard Cohen and Bruce Springsteen tickets going through an auction site, well before the public on-sale date, and charging an unfair amount to fans. I am afraid, and almost expecting, this to happen for U2.
If I could pay to guarantee my priority ticket purchase, could I justify it? That is what has been going back and forth over in my head. U2.com offers a subscription to their website, in addition to exclusive-this and behind the scenes-that when there is a tour involved members of the site get an exclusive on-sale for them. This is something other bands have done, the first that comes to my mind is the Pearl Jam Ten Club.
I bought a membership in 2005 and used it to secure seats to their Vancouver performance. Would I have still gotten tickets without the membership? Sure, I think so, but I may have been fighting for 300-level seats instead of the 100-level ones but the first show sold out very fast a second was added and I could have been directly in the middle of that mess trying to get it sorted out. However, I also know someone who went to 13+ Vertigo shows, and the U2.com membership was not used for all of them, so is there much of a benefit?
What does it all mean? Is $50 worth it to be the first in line to spend $300+ on tickets? It kind of feels like a “Sucker Tax”. Although when U2 performs that one song that speaks to you on a different level, puts on a visually stunning display during Where The Streets Have No Name or takes you on an amazing musical journey for two hours you aren’t thinking about the extra $50 you spent to get there.
It was that feeling, the one that I have only seen U2 been able to pull off, that I decided the extra cost was worth it for peace of mind. Now I have to spend the next few weeks (or months) reading rumors on potential tours and scouring fan sites looking for any bit of information I can glean, like I have done for the last two tours.