The Stones’ 50th Anniversary tour: Price Cuts and Tom Waits

Do you know how difficult it was a find a decent photo of this gig with both the Stones and Tom Waits?

Do you know how difficult it was a find a decent photo of this gig with both the Stones and Tom Waits?

It’s official; ticket prices for the Rolling Stones’ 50th Anniversary tour are hitting critical mass. It recently came out that the Stones had failed to sell out the high-priced tickets for their opening night at L.A.’s Staples Centre. These tickets were priced at $600. The band was said to have released more $85 (£55) tickets to fill out the arena.

Unfortunately, John Meglen, co-president of  AEG Live said: “It’s unfortunate in our business that everybody wants to be cynics. The fact is, the tour is doing great and we have no problems whatsoever.” Meglen added that any price cuts were part of AEG’s “flex price” strategy to keep tickets out of the hands of touts and secondary ticketing agencies. “There are no $600 tickets turning into $85 tickets, I can assure you of that,” he said.

Quoth Meglen: “Did we hit a point where we ran out of people that would buy at $600? Yeah,” he said. “But why can’t we do the ‘market value’ thing? Why do we have to let the market value proposition live with the scalpers? Why should, in my estimation, $3 million go to the brokers, instead of the artists, in every one of these markets?”

According to The Guardian, the band may have to take a pay cut to renegotiate their $20million fee, since they’ve stopped selling out tickets.  A source told The Guardian “Total disaster. Too expensive and no vibe on the show…it’s a terrible way to go out. What’s the band gonna do? Say we’re not going to play if you touch our gross?”

Keith, it should be noted, has told Rolling Stone: “From my point of view, it’s like this: We say we want to put a Stones tour together and people come to us with proposals. And these proposals are all basically the same. We actually did push down the prices a little bit. We took the lower offer, in other words. But, um, it’s the price of the market. I don’t really know. I don’t have much to do with it other than I would like people to get in, to be able to afford to get in, without sort of starving their babies and all. And that’s about it.”

If I could  put my two cents (or should it be tuppence here?) in, Mick, Keith, Charlie, Ron, you clearly have enough money to keep you in enough of every drug known to man and some of the larger primates to last you until your (admittedly rapidly approaching) 100th birthdays. You can afford to lower your fees.

However, it should be noted that their gigs in England are selling as well as expected, as their Hyde Park gig sold out within a few minutes.

Fortunately, however, the tours is going fairly well; their concerts in Los Angeles have been well-recieved, and it looks like there’ll be some guest stars at every concert. Their first show had Gwen Stefani guest during “Wild Horses,” Keith Urban singing and strumming along with “Respectable,” and Mick Taylor played on “Midnight Rambler.”  And, on the second night, a guest I’m more interested in guested on “Little Red Rooster:” Tom Waits.

The legendary vocalist of imprecise genre took to the stage on May 5 to sing at the side of Mick Jagger. “Little Red Rooster,” a throwback from the days when they were still a blues band, was originally recorded in 1961 by Chicago bluesman Howlin’ Wolf, and credited to Willie Dixon, but, with all the borrowing from older songs endemic in the blues tradition, It’s uncertain whether that attribution really means anything except to the people who own the rights to Dixon’s music. The band recorded the song in 1964 at Chess Studios in Chicago, and it became a #1 hit that year for a week. It has rarely been performed since 1965, except when it has. I wish I could be more specific and find when the song was performed last.