Mel’s tips for concert promoters

You know, generally I try not to get all ranty mcranty pants on here on the blog but every once in a while words have to be had.  Tonight is one of those nights.

You see, perhaps I’m being Captain Obvious but I would say that in general, people taking themselves off to a concert after paying upwards of $100 (and often way more than that these days) want two things.

1. Good sound.

2. To be able to see the act they came to see.

Two things.  Not that difficult. In fact, pretty much your job to ensure if you are a concert promoter/music impresario type. Now, I have already been to one concert where we had 2 but not 1. Tonight, it seems I’ve managed to reverse the procedure and have 1. but not 2. Hopefully I never manage to go to one where I get neither!

Now, I accept that outdoor concerts are harder to get a good mix at than indoors but tonight, yay because that problem was conquered (though I heard some mutters in the crowd that might indicate that this did not hold true everywhere which is pretty much the bane of the outdoor mix).  But really, if you are going to hold a concert at a frakking racecourse which is set up so that you have a grandstand leading onto a lovely sloping piece of grass that runs down to the track then THE LOGICAL PLACE TO PUT THE STAGE SO THAT ALL YOUR PATRONS WILL BE ABLE TO SEE IT IS ON THE FREAKING TRACK!!!! Not at the far short end of the rectangle of grass, down in the bottom of a dip so that really at least 50% of the people there had a lovely view of the lights and the tops of the banners at the back of the stage and bits of the drummer on a raised platform.  When really, we were there to see this dude:

Again, perhaps this is repeating the obvious but when people go to a Chris Isaak concert then a high percentage of the audience who are female are probably there to gaze at the delightful face of Chris. Who is, and always has been, a damn fine looking man as well as a damn fine singer. Piss these people off and you are not doing yourself any favours in terms of repeat business.

If for some reason you cannot put the stage on the track because to do so would besmirch its grassy smoothness and endanger the delicate legs of thoroughbreds and give the racing committee the screaming heeby jeebys then:
a) Look for another frakking venue;
b) Perhaps use the vast expanse of greenery on the other side of the grandstand; or, if you really have to use that venue, then
c) do not be complete tightwads and spring for some video and some screens scattered around the place so people can see.

Chris sounded great and was entertaining as usual but I’ve been to five Chris Isaak concerts and this is the first one that I’ve seen people walk out of early. Hell, even I left before the last song, figuring getting out of the car park quicker was better than sitting in the dark listening to, yet not seeing, another song. And I don’ t think I have ever left a concert early before. It was somewhat a lesson in the power of a frontman to keep the audience glued to the stage. If the audience cannot see your charismatic frontman drawcard performer then you lose them. And losing lots of people from a Chris Isaak concert (as he damn well knows how to put on a show) means you have pretty much landed yourselves in FUBAR territory.

And to complete my rant, possibly the third thing concert goers want is a venue that is easy to get into and out of fairly quickly. If you have sold X amount of tickets you need to figure out the number of entrances you need to operate to move that number of people through in a reasonable time, particularly when you’re letting them bring stuff into the venue and therefore want to search all the many bags/eskys/baskets etc they are carrying. If you can’t do this and therefore wind up with a hellaciously long queue, what you definitely do not do, when you finally wise up and start to operate a second queue, is move all the people at the back of the queue who have been standing in line 5-10 minutes to the new queue so that they get into the venue ahead of the people nearer the front/middle of the first queue who have been standing in said queue for closer to 45 mins thereby ensuring those people (WHO WERE THERE FIRST) end up in the seating Siberia where one cannot see the band. This makes people cranky.

To sum up.  GET A CLUE.

If I had never been to a Chris concert before I would be royally pissed instead of just cranky and probably be asking for a refund.  As it is, I will limit myself to blog ranting as I did get to hear Chris sing Wicked Game which is one of my favourite things ever and I did get to see the rather gorgeous super moon.

(I know they’re grainy (that’s iPhone zoom for you) but I like ’em anyway…kind of atmospheric).

To sum up again. Chris Isaak good. Super moon pretty. Driving in car with old friend singing along to iPod good. Mornington Racecourse crap concert venue. Whoever concert promoter is…no soup for you!

3 Comments

  1. Loved your comments. I live nearby…Carrum Downs, and I did not bother to attend this crap venue. McAnus needs a kick up the arse for this farce.

    I attended the gorgeous State Theatre Show on Wednesday night. Absolutely freaking worth the hotel, kennel fees, flight – on points, and meeting other Victorian fans pre-show. The Show rocked. We danced most of the night. Chris sorted the hideous Security out, and we rocked and rolled for nearly two hours.

    If pay to see and hear a good looking Entertainer, I want to see him. I can be in the dark at home and dance under a Super Moon at no cost and no queue.

  2. Couldn’t have said it better myself. We at least were lucky & could see the man. At least waiting in line to get in prepared us for waiting in line for absolutely everything else. And what was with security stopping the girls from dancing in front of the stage? Sent an email to AMP and got a standard reply thanking me for my feedback and my comments would be taken on board – from the receptionist. Nice to know it got as far as the front desk.

  3. I beg of you to send this to http://www.ampresents.com/

    After the 2009 VIP debarcles in each state I basically told CI to his face that after seeing him live for the last 25 years I was ceasing due to the vile venues AMP books for him. A lot of the “old time” fans feel the same. Its a shame when CI is a brilliant guy who puts on a brilliant gig – but when the promoter is simply after cash and is not interested in the fans who actually provide that cash – the situation is not going to improve.

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