Is it me, or does every band, every concert, every festival offer some VIP package these days? If hundreds (thousands?) buy into the privilege... is it really still a privilege?
I think the entire current trend of VIP hysteria is a load of crap. I saw Uriah Heep Friday night for $5 and guess what? The band was selling a VIP package for $100! That got you a seat on stage and a shirt. Our friend and BBG! writer Brian mentioned to me the other day that Cinderella is offering VIP packages on their summer tour. He said something about $700 but I can't believe they would charge that much. I mean, could they? Who is going to pay $700 for a meet and greet? Or just for the chance to "be up close." Insane.
Then there are those VIP packages that expressly say you will not get to meet the band but you get a close seat... and get early entry to the merchandise tent. Great. A more private chance to spend more money. Bon Jovi does this. I'm sure other really big bands do, too. I know Britney Spears did some VIP packages on our Circus tour that featured front row "couch" seats for a grand a pop or something. You got to tour backstage -- you did not get to meet Ms. Spears.
Then there's Motley Crue. On past tours, they charged hundreds to sit in the first 10 rows and to "meet the band" which was basically a cattle call with a photo.
I've had VIP wrist bands at Rocklahoma and Rock the Bayou. I bought those for the air conditioning. I never care so much about where I'm sitting at a show, especially a festival but I can't take the heat very well, so I plunked down the cash for VIP. This was okay at Rocklahoma but I got ripped off at Rock the Bayou. That festival was in Houston at the end of August and the air conditioning basically broke on the first day. It was miserable and I was out a ton of cash. Sure I was up close, but it didn't matter. There were so few people at that fest, it wasn't hard to get to the barrier whenever I wanted.
Maybe I come at it from a different point of view. I know I'm lucky because I get many media passes to shows and festivals and I can freely talk to bands if I so choose. You will never find me just randomly hanging out backstage -- if I'm around a musician, it is because I am working. I understand I have some certain opportunities others may not, but still. I just can't fathom spending $1,000 to meet... anyone.
Brian disagrees with me. He thinks that VIP is worthwhile in instances where you get certain perks, namely close seats. He had front row at M3 last year and had a ball. I still say it's all a cash grab and it's painful for me to say that. I'm an unabashed capitalist -- but I still just don't think it's "VIP" if just anyone with a credit card can get front row or backstage or whatever. It used to be you didn't have to mortgage your home to meet your favorite bands. You went to shows, you hung around near the buses, and you met your heroes. End of story.
So go ahead. Bash away. I'm sure I'm in the minority opinion here.