Sunday, August 14, 2005

Trio - Stanley Clarke, Bela Fleck, Jean-Luc Ponty

I am sure this show will be unique and inspiring and I had intentions of going, but changed my mind after visiting the ticket web site. Tickets are $50, $45 and $35, I work and can afford it. The musicians deserve it and the winery is quite nice but there is more. We will just make the show due to our jobs so I didn't want the $35 General seating tickets. When deciding between $45 and $50, what is $5? It turns out the only $45 tickets are in the last row of the bleachers anyway. Good $50 seats were still available so I pick a couple of those. Then a word verification page comes up that is nearly impossible to read. As the process goes on I find that there is an additional $10.20 per ticket "Convenience" charge and an additional $2.50 just for the privilege of printing the ticket myself ($20 to have them mailed.) Add in another $10 for parking and for 2 people, I am approaching $135 and I haven't eaten yet.

They have an interesting deal for a couple of special boxes right over the stage that seat 12 people, include a dinner and wine and go for $2000. I figure that that is about $80 per person and includes a dinner! Sounds good but would be tough to organize. Maybe I can get the company to spring for a team building event party.

Anyway, I think about it for a day and now the tickets are sold out, kind of a win/lose situation. I keep the money but miss the show. Oh well, I did get to see Bela close up and cheap at Stanford a few years ago and free at Stern Grove (another good place to see free jazz) and I got to see Stanley Clarke free at Yoshi's in the guest list booth when John played with him. That was a great show.

Not to be a complete curmudgeon, let's compare any jazz show with the Rolling Stones you come to SBC Park November 15th with tickets starting at $64 for the furthest bleachers to $454 for down on the field. Even the $100 seats are still in the bleachers and the best tickets available are in the 2nd deck for $180 plus an $18 per ticket "Convenience" charge which I think actually goes to TicketMaster. Most jazz concerts I have been to cost less then the convenience charge for the Stone's show. I won't be seeing them either.

Jazz musicians really have a lot to be proud of when you consider the work, dedication and love they put into their craft compared to the living they can eke out. My hat is off and my wallet is open.


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