Iron Maiden – Paperless Tickets are NOT the solution.

img_5341Surprise, surprise! I’m a huge concert goer. I prefer to buy concert tickets and seeing the world than a new pair of jeans. So if you see me wear the same clothes you’ll know why.

Anyways I’m disappointed with Iron Maiden. At the same time I am also excited – because tour dates being announced always make me happy. Here is the announcement:

Iron Maiden News Announcement about Ticket Piracy

Give that a read and let that sink in a bit.

I’m all for taking the high road and nothing is more insulting than seeing concert tickets on sale before they actually go on sale either. The secondary ticket re-sellers/brokers or the politically incorrect term we used to call it was scalpers (sorry) have exploded with the internet, making it easier for them to sell/buy tickets as they please. With sites such as Stubhub, Viagogo and whatever in between.

So in Iron Maiden’s infinite wisdom (yeah I went there) they are in love with the paperless tickets concept that they have used for several tours in North America. They think it’s the bees knees, that it’s the solution to the fans getting gouged by the ticket re-sellers. But I’m here to say that it isn’t. I pleaded once on their fan club forum along with others, but it apparently went unheard.

The paperless system in theory actually works (and saves trees) to some degree. It gives an extra level of effort that re-sellers need to go through. The problem here for all the “positive reinforcement” the above link provides is that that user error is a huge problem. Whether it’s not bringing your ID, your credit card or just that dumbass guy who stands at the head of the line who doesn’t know why his reader won’t work…there are too many problems that happen.

To be clear, I don’t want to be stabbed in the eye by these re-sellers but to make the fans go through all of these hoops so that those guys don’t make that extra profit is fucking ridiculous. I speak from experience here.

Let me tell you about the time last year in Florida where I was in the queue for FTTB (First to the Barrier) because I am a fan club member and have a chance at winning. Standing for a couple of hours in the sun, waiting to be let in first. I was maybe 50th in line? Something like that. The queue starts to move (which is one of the biggest stressful moments because now you are in a fight for your life to get to the front of the stage and secure a spot) and about 50 people in front of you are let in without a problem (ahead of all the others in the general queue) and then the system goes down.

In this case it was my friend Paolo who had the tickets on his card. This is how it went:

Card Reader Person swipes the card. Nothing happens.
Card Reader Person swipes it again. Nothing happens – maybe a beep to say denied.
We all look at each other confused at this point. My friend gets his printed receipt of the tickets to show. The response, “We can’t use that.”
Card Reader Person looks to another Card Reader Person to see if they have a solution of it works with their card reader instead. No dice.
First Card Reader Person tells my friend he will have to go to the box office to figure this out. Which was across the crowds of people.
Tick, tock, tick tock.
After which seemed like a really long time (in concert going speak) he finally returns and he was told that they couldn’t help him. They couldn’t print the ticket either, but his tickets were valid. Yeah that makes sense.
At this point no one is getting in. Except the people who paid extra for the Trooper Beer party – and with our delays, they were now ahead of “First to the Barrier” fans. Way to go Maiden – you had people pay you extra for getting ahead of everyone else. High horse my ass.
Everyone at this point is pretty much looking at each other perplexed, from the guards to the fans. We weren’t being let in and the amount of swearing in multiple languages was pretty impressive I will admit.
Someone must have gotten a clue somewhere and re-booted their system as the card readers started to work again. But not for me and several of my friends.
Swipe : Nope
Swipe again: Nope
Card Reader Person: Show me your ticket receipt?
Card Reader Person then asks a higher level card reader person for assistance. She takes out a little black marker makes a swipe and says go in.

By this time, the general public was being let in. There was no hope for being at the barrier even though we won that privilege. While it’s not guaranteed, it certainly is one dick move for that to happen.

The saving grace of this incident was that my bladder appreciated a trip to the loo and my feet appreciated not having to stand up for hours. Oh and I could re-hydrate without fear of any accidents while standing there. Always look on the bright side, right?

So all this to explain why paperless tickets do not work for the fans. But do they actually stop the re-sellers? And what about the people who are in town at the last minute and have a friend that has a ticket, but they can’t go but they can’t change it over to your name either? What in holy hell man. Lets not forget that everyone on the ticket needs to enter at the same time. So you are telling me that 4 friends are on the same credit card and one friend can’t get off work early to go to the show that they either all have to miss out at great general admission spots OR they have to leave their friend behind? Seriously, what is this nonsense?

This is not an acceptable solution. This actually seems kind of illegal. I buy a ticket to a show and it should be my right how I use that ticket. If I can’t be at the show, I shouldn’t have no choice but to eat the cost of the ticket. How about this Iron Maiden? Why not sell extra insurance? Not that crap insurance in case of death or whatever, but real insurance “Want insurance in case you change your mind or your boss is a dick that might not give you the time off? Pay this extra fee.” That extra fee will give you the right to get a REFUND on your ticket and then it goes back on sale to someone who can go to the show. How about that, eh? Stop punishing the fans. STOP IT.

Go after the ticket re-sellers. What about almighty Ticketmaster itself who now allows reselling on it’s own website! What the hell is that. With the amount of ticket sales that Iron Maiden does, why don’t you demand that they take that shit down for ALL shows? Or you will no longer use them.

Technology has come a long way and we fans deserve better.

That said, you know what hurts us fans as well? We no longer get tickets to these shows. It’s a silly thing really but the little facsimile print out we get isn’t the same as a real ticket. (Sorry trees). How about letting us use our facsimile print out at the end of the show to get a real ticket? (Fee of course)

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Dealing with Narcissistic People

verbal-abuse-and-the-narcissist-communication-tactics-designed-to-make-you-crazy-compiled-by-jeni-mawter-2-638In my most recent of histories I have had the saddest of luck. I have made the mistake of making friends with the biggest asshole narcissists imaginable. Not just acquaintances, but supposedly good friends. The kind you spend hours on the phone with them in messages and even to my own very serious regret going into business with one.

I like to help people. Support them, give them advice or just be there for them if they require it. This is probably one of the factors that attracts them to me. They thrive on the attention they get, they love the support and most of all they just love talking about themselves. I am patient and I listen to them, at first anyways.

The good news is I have figured out (hindsight 20/20) why both of these so-called “friendships” turned ugly. It’s not because of my actions (and they will try to make believe it’s because of me), but eventually because of my inaction.

In the beginning of both of these narcissistic relationships, it went swimmingly well, they loved to compliment “oh you are so nice to do that” and “I trust you” to gain my loyalty. I mean who doesn’t like compliments? They touched the heart strings, the things I love – my music, my pets and anything they can pinpoint on. I spent hours talking to them and 95% of the conversation was all about them (Again: Hindsight). Even when I tried to veer the conversation to my own direction it always resulted in a discussion about them.

Let me tell you it is draining. These kind of people suck the very essential energy out of others. They are like that Star Trek alien that was sucking the salt out of the red shirt bodies and leaving them lifeless. (Umm I’m wearing a red shirt today HELP!) But when you are the supportive type, you want to help them and lets face it there is always another problem or emergency where they need to calm the fuck down and the supportive one will always be there to say “There, there lets find a solution.”

This all goes well for sometimes months or for years. They need you, but you don’t need them. You spend time and energy on them and they take it until the next crisis where they need you again. It continues and it continues until there is no more energy to give.  You hit the end and you see the cycle and you back away.

That is when it gets really ugly.

Independence and being aloof is a huge trigger. As soon as you stop supporting these narcissistic beings, it doesn’t take long before they sense a disturbance in the force. They can detect that you are spending less time supporting them and that essentially you are tolerating them instead. Then quite quickly any words or gestures of kindness (which is meant in the same way as before) is taken in the worst possible way.

The sudden change in the behavior is quite like in the Exorcist when the cross is shown to the little girl – immediate hate and a lashing out (they would probably puke up green pea soup too given the chance). Even in their hate, they will never say they hate you, they think that their opinion of you is more important than any actions they take. That it’s okay for them to behave poorly and have temper tantrums because they feel they earned that right for dealing with the supporter who no longer supports them.

Yeah this is twisted. So very twisted.

Will I stop being a supportive, nurturing and a caring individual because of my experience with these narcissists? No, unfortunately that’s part of who I am. I hope I am wiser now though to see the pattern.

The narcissists will forever blame me for all of their shortcomings and will forever curse my name because I didn’t bow down to their amazing-ness until the end of time.

I plan on using my energy for good though and while they think that I will forever remember them – they are wrong. I will remember the experience and the vicious beings they exposed themselves as knowing that they are just moving onto the next supporter who falls victim. They will remain shallow, manipulative and will never think they do anything wrong.

However for me, I will simply just move on with my life and be happier day by day because they are no longer in it. My energy will return and my world will feel brighter without them in it. Once I stop feeling like an idiot of course.

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Too Much of a Good Thing (About fandom)

There are fans…and then there are fans.

I’m one of those fans when it comes to the Scorpions. (Yes, the mostly German band that is currently touring for their 50th anniversary.) I have been following this group since I saw them on TV performing at the US Festival in the early eighties.

I will be the first to admit that in the past few years that I have used them as an excuse to travel the world and without them I would not have gone to so many places. Their music made me smile when I was sad and can still bring me out from the dark places I find myself in. In fact, we played one of their songs at my own mother’s funeral as they carried her casket away. (She was a fan too.)

Lets face it – if I have to admit something else, I have probably seen them too many times in the past years. To the point where they might just know my name or what country I hail from (maybe). They are good to their fans, even the fanatics (the more extreme version of me). Their live shows are addictive and there is an energy that they give that is hard to get enough of.

Unfortunately, it does seem I have had enough.

From May 13th – May 21st, one of my favorite bands did their first “mini” residency at Hard Rock’s The Joint in Las Vegas. They called it “Blacked Out in Vegas” and hyped it up to be something special. It was special – in the sense that there were huge advertisements in purely Vegas style everywhere. There would be 5 shows and I would end up going to 4 of them in the end.

Now realize – I know and love this band. I have seen them many times in North America and Europe. Their most recent tour is to celebrate or possibly commemorate their 50th anniversary and that’s no small thing. Their North American set list is as solid as it could get – from favorite hits to a 70s medley that at least acknowledges that era from the band. I repeat: It’s a damn good set list. But…(you knew that was coming.)

They did not deviate one little bit from their set list for all 5 shows in Las Vegas 2016. Not one note. You see, they played in October 2015 at the very same venue (and ironically with the same opening band: Queensryche) and yup, the same exact set list. How did no one point this out to them? How did anyone think this was acceptable? The band, the entourage, the publicists and of course the fans?

The songs were played and sung perfectly. It was as cookie cutter and professional as they could be for rock and roll stars. They pranced, they smiled and they did what they do best – perform live. Even if a portion of the band is now in their sixties – they still bring their A game to the stage. Or do they? No offense to one of my favorite bands of all time, but how is it that everything was the same? The only notable difference was either a wardrobe change or one of the members moved to another part of the stage. Oh boy that was exciting let me tell you…

Since they just played The Joint in October 2015 plus the 5 shows last week. It makes me wonder how many in the audience have not seen the show at all (in person, not online). On a good night, I would say that 60% of the audience has seen the current show since – lets face it, the same location and the same set list as last year’s North American tour? The Scorpions are not gaining a huge amount of younger/newer fans in this part of the world that I can tell. So they are playing to a good portion of fans who might have already seen this particular show. Great show – yes it was. Was it necessary to repeat the same thing – song by song, footstep by footstep? I mean during their 70s medley the lead singer says “Here are some songs we haven’t played in awhile” (not a direct quote) – but when they played them last night, last week or last year, how is that cool?

Recently due to health problems of their longtime drummer James Kottak, they got a replacement by the likes of Motorhead’s Mikkey Dee. So many fans say, “Oh he probably did not have time to learn the songs.” Seriously? That would be an insult to Mikkey Dee, I’m sure he is a better drummer than that. I’m positive of it.

Then of course old time fans will say, “What do you expect? They never change their set list.” Well – this isn’t true. They do. For instance if they play in North America they will almost always play “No One Like You” the hit that got them recognition here. However, the Europeans rarely get to hear that song be played and they want to hear it over there. Sometimes they will play “We’ll Burn The Sky” in Europe and I have yet to hear that played on North American shores. These are just example of what I’ve seen in my travels.

With that comes the opinion that, “You’ve just seen the show too many times.” Well, this I cannot disagree with. I don’t think I have read anywhere that they say that “Warning: This show should only be seen four or less times to get the best feeling from it.”  I have seen the show too many times, but that doesn’t mean I can’t hope for something different at some point. Oh hey they will play 5 dates in Las Vegas, they advertised it everywhere and called it “Blacked Out in Vegas.”  It wasn’t the 50th Anniversary tour like last year. It was marketed as different.

Maybe I’m just insulted because I feel like I was betrayed by one of my favorite bands that could not and would not change their set list for anything. I wish they had put in a caveat to only go to one of the shows since they would all be the same. I would have saved a lot of time and money.

Luckily for me, I have some damn good friends from around the country and the world who joined me there in Las Vegas and even though the shows were good yet very predictable, a good time was had anyways.

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