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About nbayer

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Interests
    Cycling, SCUBA, coaching mock trial
  • Favourite U2 Album
    Achtung Baby
  • Favourite U2 Single
    Until the End of the World
  • First U2 Gig
    Zoo TV indoor broadcast, Rosemont Horizon Chicago, March 1992
  • Recent U2 Gig
    Croke Park, Dublin 2017
  • Best U2 Gig
    September 13, 1992, Camp Randall Stadium, Madison WI (the band had the courtesy to play on my birthday!)
  • Favourite U2 Person
  • Fav. Other Bands
    Pearl Jam

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  1. The correct answer is "Kite" and "Wild Horses."
  2. Always great to meet a fellow Milwaukean and Pearl Jam fan. Did you catch the 3.5 hour Lightning Bolt show a few years back where they played all of Yield? And sang happy birthday to Tom Petty. Amazing show.
  3. One clarification about my set list comment... I agree that the band does retain artistic control over their set. However, as a practical matter, there is no way the contract with Live Nation doesn't influence the type of show they play. Why? Because Live Nation doesn't back the brinks truck up and dump gobs of money unless you sell out arenas and stadiums. Doing that requires that you play your hits. I would argue what we have seen since the Vertigo Tour is a pretty straightforward formula: 6-7 songs of the album being toured with, and then a staple of remaining hits that are constant, and only a few slots for something out of the ordinary. With JT, it was that album plus basically the same hits used over and over again. And on the 360 tour, by the last leg, that was basically a greatest hits show with very little off of NLOTH. Vertigo was the last tour with wildly varying openers and set lists. Heck, they even routinely plucked guitar players out of the crowd to play impromptu covers. My favorite recent tours have been Vertigo and Innnocene/Experience, but I digress... Not that this has anything to do with the recent prices, or make them more affordable for any individual fan, remember that early in their career, the band spent a ton on elaborate touring sets while also making a conscious decision to eat much of that cost to keep ticket prices low. Zoo TV had to cost a fortune. If i recall, my pretty decent tickets to both the indoor and outdoor legs was less than thirty bucks. Pop-Mart was equally expensive. I'm not suggesting that they are hurting financially, but I think that historical context should be understood as well. Finally, this is way off topic, but I'll throw it in anyway.... I finally received my free CD's from my concert tix purchases yesterday, and I am now more excited to see this show than I've been about any show for quite some time. The Little Things That Give You Away blew my away when the closed with it in Dublin this summer. Now after getting to hear the studio version, its as good as anything the band has ever done. And Get Out of Your Own way is an earworm I just can't stop humming. This is brilliant stuff. I'm hoping we get what we got on the Zoo TV tour, which opened with I think the first 8 songs of Achtung Baby. The band had the best album on the planet and knew it. I hope we get that again...
  4. nbayer

    Croke Park, Dublin 2017

    Joshua Tree at Croke Park
  5. The market for concert tickets has always fascinated me as a microcosm of the supply and demand economy. Plus, as an avid music and sports fan, I wanted to understand how this economy worked, in order to optimize the opportunity to get the best seats possible without paying too high a premium. Given all the hand wringing over the E+I tour tickets, I thought I would share a few misc. ramblings on the topic here... For many decades, many top artists undervalued tickets to their own shows. Whether you think the price set is "fair" or not, in the abstract, doesn't change the fact that that artists were leaving money on the table. If they sold a $30 seat, and it got resold for $150, then the true value of that ticket was paid to someone other than the artist. Someone else profited off their "art." Whenever there was an disparity in the "face" ticket value and its true value, a market would spring up to profit of off the difference. Back in the old days, when was young, "scalpers" used to pay people to drive to different, out of the way Ticketmaster locations far from the venue where the show was to be played, and buy as many tickets as they could. Now, there is two ways to look at this. Some artists make a conscious decision to leave value on the table because they believe many of their core fans can't afford to pay the "true value," or shouldn't have to stretch and pay the "true value" from a scalper. This is the Pearl Jam approach. Verified fan club members pick up their tickets on site at the venue, and there is no resale on the best seats, which go to the fan club members. Just as important, the band handles tours itself, rather than signing with an outside vendor like Live Nation. The other way to look at it, is to funnel the actual "true value" of the ticket to the artist. The basic principle is to beat the "scalpers" at their own game. In other words, price the tickets from the outset at their "true value." This is essentially what Live Nation (I specifically say "Live Nation" and not the band. Discussed below further...) has attempted to do here. The tour management companies for other big acts, like the Rolling Stones, have done this unapologetically for years. The risk in such an approach is attempting to guess what the actual "true value" is, before the tickets have actually gone on sale. In the free market, with "scalped" tickets freely available, that equilibrium occurs naturally. But here Live Nation had to guess. It ultimately decided that the ticket prices we have all seen for the E+I tour represent what the market will readily bear. I think it is learning that their estimation may have been... a tad off.... Take a quick look at tickets in various markets, and especially in markets where a second show was added. I'll take Chicago, since that is one I bought tickets for. Make sure you eliminate the "certified resale" tickets, and limit it to "regular" tickets. Plenty of good seats still available for night one. I'm almost embarrassed for the band on night two. It looks like half the venue is still for sale, and NOT through the second hand market. Something has got to give there, and I doubt it will be a cancelled show. I predict it will be reduced tickets to increase attendance. To save face, Ticketmaster may switch them over to the "verified resale" section so it looks like someone else already paid face value and took the loss, but one way or another, U2 can't afford to play to a half full venue. If you are going to Chicago 2, there is no incentive to buy a ticket right now. Wait until they go down, and snag it later. It won't sell out either way. My next point relates to how little control the band likely has over ticket prices. I'm going to make some assumptions here, because I obviously don't have the Live Nation/U2 contract available to me, but I think I am right... My understanding is that before U2 360 the band signed a 10+ year contract with Live Nation. My belief is that Live Nation guarantees a set amount of money to the band per show. In exchange, Live Nation handles logistics, booking venues, and setting ticket prices. Any profit above the guaranteed amount plus expenses goes to Live Nation. And as you all know, putting on a U2 show isn't cheap. One thing I've always admired about the band is that it tries to reach the top row in the back of the arena just as much as the front row. (I wrote a review here of the U2 360 show titled "No One Else Tries This Hard.") But of course, U2's set pieces cost an exorbitant amount of money. And the contract requires the band to perform a certain number of shows over the lifetime of the contract, be it in arenas or stadiums. (I'm convinced contractual obligations had at least something to do with the Joshua Tree tour, as Songs of Experience was delayed so long, but that is another topic for another day.) There obviously is pressure for the band to deliver on Live Nation's behalf. I believe that has translated into certain songs (i.e. "hits") in the U2 catalog never leaving the setlist, but again, that is a topic for another time and place... But the point is, I don't believe the band has any control over ticket prices. Here are a few things to consider about the secondary market... First, I hear people complain all the time about "tickets being on sale on 'X' web site before even the pre-sales." Here is the truth: they don't actually have those tickets yet. There are people that essentially sell ticket "futures." Once the get an order for a ticket, they then attempt to go on the secondary market themselves and buy a comparable ticket to the one they sold to fulfill the order. They make money off the difference. I bet there are some here you have bought tickets on such sites only to get the "we cannot fulfill your order" email. Another thing to keep in mind is that because a ticket is advertised on a secondary market for a set price, does not mean in any way that it will sell for that amount. There also needs to be a distinction between a professional resale site, and the guy who puts $2,500 worth of tickets on his credit card and thinks he is going to get rich. When the credit card bill comes due 30 days later, and he can't pay the bill, dumping the tickets fast becomes a bigger incentive than paying 18% interest on a credit card. (Check Craigslist about 30 days after the general on sale date. Deals to be had...) Professional resale sites, on the other hand, make money by dealing in volume. And to sights such as Stub Hub, the actual price that the ticket changes hand for is somewhat irrelevant to them. The reason is that they make money off the transaction itself. Much of the transaction fees are the same regardless of the ticket price. I hope that helps put into perspective what I think we are witnessing: U2 fans being used as guinea pigs in Live Nation's experiment to try to beat the scalpers at their own game and sell, from the start, tickets at their full market value. But music is like sports; much emotion and feeling, less practical sense. Spending $300 or $1000 on concert or sporting event is a decision made with the heart, not the head or wallet. But ultimately, music is art, is it not? And I would argue that taking the Pearl Jam approach and leaving money on the table, handling their own tours, and hitting the road with a low key set, which allows keeping the focus on the music and varying wildly the set lists, has created a fiercely loyal fan base that has compensated the band very very well. Further, that fan base will continue to do so for many years to come. I hope U2's deal with LIve Nation hasn't damaged its relationship with its own base... At some point, the market will only bear what it will bear... All the best.
  6. I don't want to discount those who had issues with the pre-sale, or gloat, but I do want to thank u2.com for some great tickets and recognize that they are doing the absolute best they can. They don't dictate the pricing, and can't control Ticketmaster, which I think we can all agree doesn't have fans best interests in mind. (Another of my favorite bands tried to take them on back in the mid 90's, to no avail...) My experience yesterday was easy and user friendly. Around 10 am I was headed to Chicago for a work appointment, so I exited the freeway, pulled over, and almost instantly pulled up two tickets. For the first time ever, I obtained Red Zone for the Chicago show. Other than when my wife's ticket was randomly scanned for the "inner circle" on the Vertigo tour, this is our first experience with RZ, so very excited. In addition to these tickets, the fan club also helped me get Joshua Tree tickets in Dublin for our first trip to Ireland. The club also has incredible exclusive gifts every year, and great on-line content. Thanks again to the u2.com staff for all you do. Enjoy the shows!
  7. Anybody have pics to post from the red zone? It looks like the stage is pretty high up from the field level, so it might be hard to see the band over near the center of the stage.
  8. Hello: I have 2 very good seats for Saturday June 3 in Chicago in Section 108, row 2, close to the isle. (Thanks to U2.com!!) I am very happy with those seats and thankful to have gotten them, but I was thinking of trying to arrange something special, as the concert also falls on my wife's birthday. On the very unlikely chance that there is someone out there who is having second thoughts about standing all night and looking to swap from red zone to seats for some reason, shoot me a message. I realize that is probably not going to happen, but file this under "it never hurts to ask." Thank you. Nathan
  9. Was hoping someone could weigh in on these lodging options for the weekend: Fleet Street Hotel, The Morgan, Temple Bar Inn, or Eliza Lodge. All are located pretty close together in the Temple Bar area. Eliza is by far the most expensive, so unless it is significantly better than the others, we will probably choose one of the others, but I'm open to it if it is the best. Fleet Street and Morgan include breakfast, but that's not a huge factor. Temple Bar Inn looks very modern and new but the rooms look smaller. But again, probably won't be doing anything there except sleeping, after arriving home quite late. Reviews suggest these are all "noisy," but we've stayed often in New York and Chicago, and we live in a bigger city, so are not really bothered by that. Thanks in advance for any feedback! See you all at the show!
  10. I could be wrong, but i think i have a bootleg tape buried in the basement somewhere from a 19887 or 1988 show in Chicago with Red Hill Mining Town on it. If am remembering correctly, Bono stops the song and tells everybody to shut up for a second. He says something like "this isn't the Beatles, its U2." People were screaming and whooping it up. Maybe that's why they stopped playing it. I think that's Springhill Mining Disaster you're thinking of. I believe you are absolutely correct. The Peggy Seeger song. Thanks Oh, and I've been waiting to hear "A Sort of Homecoming" forever..
  11. From Joshua Tree, Trip through Your Wires and One Tree Hill. From other albums... I've been waiting for the return of Last Night on Earth since PopMart. The version from the Mexico City show is just amazing, and i thought it would have projected very well in the arena shows on the 360 tour. Thematically, I think it fits the times. Oh, and Hawkmoon and God Part II.
  12. I could be wrong, but i think i have a bootleg tape buried in the basement somewhere from a 19887 or 1988 show in Chicago with Red Hill Mining Town on it. If am remembering correctly, Bono stops the song and tells everybody to shut up for a second. He says something like "this isn't the Beatles, its U2." People were screaming and whooping it up. Maybe that's why they stopped playing it.
  13. Dublin and Chicago. U2's home, and their "home away from home." Something great always seems to happen in Chicago. I'm going to try to avoid knowing anything about the set list, stage, or show before going on June 3. I may not be able to help myself, but it would be a great surprise. Special thanks to U2.com to accessing these tickets!!!
  14. Somebody who is connected needs to get this thread to the band!
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