I'd intended to review last night's John Mayer show here. I can give you the condensed version - great show, good energy, nice mix of songs, and simply blazing guitar work from a guy who has a chance to be the defining voice of this generation - but instead, this is going to end up a big bleep you to Live Nation.
For $60 bucks per, plus surcharges, plus parking, plus waiting in line, we were able to get in to the show. My experience started with the parking. I purchased the "VIP Parking" with my tickets largely because the last time I went to Indy's shed, Verizon Wireless Music Center, for an Aerosmith show, it took almost three hours to get out of the parking lot. As I pulled into the venue at 6p for a 7.30p show, there was a sign for VIP Parking, but that area was barricaded. I asked the first traffic marshaller who told me to U-turn and go back out to try again. I did, ended up at the same place, only to find out that what I was looking for was "Premier Parking." On the upside we were able to get out easily, but the confusion at the outset docks points.
Finally we get in and watch the first couple shows. We were two rows back of the central walkway in the lower pavilion (Section H, Row D, if you'd like to see exactly. The pitch of the venue is very shallow, so if you get a taller person in front of you, it's an issue. Worse, the jerk in front of me insisted on moving constantly, talking to his kid next to him, so that I couldn't find a comfortable place to look between them. I was dodging back and forth .... and this is while he's seated.
Once Mayer took the stage, the guy decided he was going to stand. I have no problem with standing -- most of the place was standing -- but he had only the handicapped seating in front of him and no obstructed view. He didn't HAVE to stand and blocked a good three rows by standing. I asked him politely once, not so politely a second time, to sit down or move. When he refused, I gave him a good shove.
That's right, I shoved him. Most people in that situation will back down completely from even the slightest threat of physical confrontation. I expected him to scurry away. He did, talking to an usher who told him to move to the handicapped row. Did I mention there's a low pitch? So here's my view of most of the Mayer concert:
People behind us for at least four rows were forced to shift from their seats, all because this guy wanted to stand up and the ushers refused to do anything. At least three people asked for assistance that I saw, but the usher never budged. The actual handicapped people in that row had to go around them, especially after moving their chairs to the front of the row. They did sit down, occasionally, since apparently they didn't share my appreciation for the blues as Mayer did a blazing guitar break on "Mercy".
That's the last time Live Nation will get my money for Verizon Wireless. The parking, the lines, the overpriced concessions, and the lack of control over their venue -- and that's not even mentioning the shirtless fat guy walking around -- have driven me away. I love live music, but Live Nation, you've lost a customer. With John Mayer and others giving me options like going to the theater to see a concert movie or U2's Imax 3D tour de force, I won't miss the shed circuit.