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zooropamofo

Would you be happy with a mostly GA, scaled back tour?

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It doesn't cost anything to think, and I was pondering this last night: Something that U2 could consider for future tours, when playing during the spring/summer/fall months.

Based on fan feedback from the experience, innocence and Citi presales, a significant portion of U2's devoted fan base simply wants access to great rock 'n roll with GA admission.  This concept runs counter to an arena style tour, simply due to the fact that you can't fit 15,000-20,000 people on a hockey arena floor.

What about a companion event?  Example: the band books the arena tour.  We all know that corporate "ins", season ticket holders, venue and promotional holdbacks etc, etc. impact the supply of tickets that are available in US/Canadian arenas.  So fine, proceed with the arena dates that they want to have, let's say for the sake of argument 2 shows per arena.  But for each city, they could also do a mostly GA concert at a location such as the Hippodrome in Montreal, Trafalgar Square in London (I know this would require approvals and planning for some spots), Central Park in NYC (again, approvals) etc. etc.  Don't worry about intricate and costly conceptual staging...just two large video screens and a simple, effective festival style stage.  Sure, they could offer a bit of expensive VIP side-stage seating at these "GA" shows for the people who want to feel special about themselves (like we do in Ottawa, ON for Bluesfest) but for the most part it would be one, simple affordable price (say $100.00 per GA ticket, all fees/taxes in).  This would take care of four requirements:

1-It would increase the supply of U2 GA tickets in a given market for those who wish to see a U2 show from that vantage point, thereby impacting the pricing that scalpers can charge: More supply = less demand = lower prices.

2-It would still allow U2 to play arenas with their tour-specific conceptual staging, and stay profitable.  Remember, the staging/setup for the GA larger venue/field show would be far less intricate and costly to setup, tear down, and run.

3-It would satisfy those who wish to see the tour in the arena as it is currently, have the disposable income for premium ticket prices, while also offering some GA options and sensible pricing in the arena for those who are lucky enough to score the seats.

4-It would give the band an opportunity on the GA specific show to deviate from static set lists, play new tracks, b-sides etc. since a larger proportion of that audience is likely to be of a die-hard, longtime fan type.  I think without a rigid structure to adhere to, U2 could really do some amazing things and let the music speak for itself....maybe re-discover the "Slack Alice" sound, as Bono once said.

I know that you can't please everyone, and unfortunately, the current model being employed doesn't seem to be pleasing anyone.  Bottom line, as a concept, this would produce a show that a lot of die hard GA loving U2 fans would probably appreciate, and make more GA's available to the general public.  If the power of technology can weed out scalpers, the power of technology could also go a long way to making such shows special...think of a live Twitter fan vote for a segment of songs to be played during the show.

Personally, I love all of U2's work, would go to all types of shows, and I am not a huge fan of GA.  My wife is 4' 11" tall, and I'm 5' 7".  So unless it's a stadium show, GA is useless to me because someone taller than me always blocks my view.  Therefore, I tend to spring for the seats, or Red Zone on this tour.  I'm lucky in that I am ok with paying for the VIP Gold or Silver seats.  I don't spend on much else unless it's guitars, U2, Bruce Springsteen or Eric Church, and I know the days for which I'll be able to see Bruce or U2 perform are numbered.  So though I think ticket prices have gone up significantly, I realize that supply and demand sets the market and I cut back on other expenses where I can to subsidize my concert fix.

Anyways, YMMV, just some thoughts, I realize that some of these ideas may run counter to the basic concept of economics.....coincidently, so did the ZooTV tour ;-)

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The thing, I think the GA tickets are in such demand because they present the possibility of getting close to the band for a low ticket price.

If they were to do a concert at Central Park (in recent years, they've capped attendance at those shows at around 60,000 people - a far cry from the 500,000+ that showed up for Paul Simon), it would be about about 60,000 people all at the same level trying to see over each other.  Every year, they've been doing a Global Citizen Festival concert at the park that's about that number, and it's a ticketed event, though many of the tickets are given away for free.  As part of fire and safety regulations, the standing area is broken up into different sections - it's not just a free-for-all where everyone is surrounded by one fence.  So if U2 were to do a general admission concert that big, that would happen.  For Global Citizen, your section is assigned when you purchase; it's first-come, first-served within that section, but if you're in a back section, there's no amount of getting there early that would get you in the front row. 

So, if a GA ticket no longer was an opportunity to get close to the band, I think the demand would start going down.  I think tickets for the front section would be in high demand, but that there'd be less desire among fans to be standing waaaaaay in the back.

I think a big part of the reason GA is so popular is because everyone has a chance of getting close.  If they did shows that big, that chance wouldn't be there anymore, and I think it could affect demand.  I know I'd rather have my $80 side stage/behind the stage ticket which is actually in really close proximity to the band (just with a poor screen view), over an $80 GA ticket that put me so far away that I'd need binoculars to see anything.

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My vote goes for an in the round style show. Take the current b stage, make it slightly bigger and put it in the centre of an arena. This gives more space for GA and every seat has good sight lines. Drop the overplayed songs, mix in some deep cuts. Cutting back on lavish production cost would lower the ticket price. 

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4 hours ago, vertigojds said:

The thing, I think the GA tickets are in such demand because they present the possibility of getting close to the band for a low ticket price.

If they were to do a concert at Central Park (in recent years, they've capped attendance at those shows at around 60,000 people - a far cry from the 500,000+ that showed up for Paul Simon), it would be about about 60,000 people all at the same level trying to see over each other.  Every year, they've been doing a Global Citizen Festival concert at the park that's about that number, and it's a ticketed event, though many of the tickets are given away for free.  As part of fire and safety regulations, the standing area is broken up into different sections - it's not just a free-for-all where everyone is surrounded by one fence.  So if U2 were to do a general admission concert that big, that would happen.  For Global Citizen, your section is assigned when you purchase; it's first-come, first-served within that section, but if you're in a back section, there's no amount of getting there early that would get you in the front row. 

So, if a GA ticket no longer was an opportunity to get close to the band, I think the demand would start going down.  I think tickets for the front section would be in high demand, but that there'd be less desire among fans to be standing waaaaaay in the back.

I think a big part of the reason GA is so popular is because everyone has a chance of getting close.  If they did shows that big, that chance wouldn't be there anymore, and I think it could affect demand.  I know I'd rather have my $80 side stage/behind the stage ticket which is actually in really close proximity to the band (just with a poor screen view), over an $80 GA ticket that put me so far away that I'd need binoculars to see anything.

Good perspective and insight!

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19 hours ago, CorkVegan said:

My vote goes for an in the round style show. Take the current b stage, make it slightly bigger and put it in the centre of an arena. This gives more space for GA and every seat has good sight lines.

Works for me!  I saw Peter Gabriel do this on his "Growing Up Live" tour in 2002 and it was one of the very best things I have ever seen.  He also didn't really use video for the show; I think there may have been a couple projections but there wasn't really a screen that everyone was meant to be looking at the whole show.  There was something about the energy in the room, even though the show wasn't sold out, because we were all focused on the same area and looking at the stage and not watching it on a TV screen somewhere.

I really liked on the Elevation and Vertigo tours that the screens weren't a huge part of the indoor productions; I liked the idea of one monitor for each band member above the stage, minimal editing of the shots, and you could look if you wanted to, or look away if you weren't interested, but that it wasn't driving the show.

I thought the I&E tour looked great visually, but as a guy who's been seeing the band play for 20 years now, I felt less of a connection to the performance than I ever had before.  It's hard to explain - it was by no means a bad show, but when I was on the GA floor, for the first time I didn't feel the band was playing to me.

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