I have been a fan of the band Rush for over 35 years. Having followed them around the UK to see numerous shows during that time I can safely say they have never failed to deliver a thrilling evening’s entertainment. I have never begrudged a penny I have spent on them over the years and I’m sure it adds up to a tidy sum, with vinyl, cassettes, cd’s, dvd’s, concert tickets, programmes, t-shirts, sew-on patches, key-rings and stickers, not to mention travel costs.
I last saw Rush on the Time Machine Tour at Manchester MEN in May 2011. It was a wonderful 3 hour show, with exceptional musicianship, as they mined their extensive catalogue of work, which included playing the seminal album Moving Pictures in its entirety. At the time I thought the cost of the ticket was a bit steep at £45+ booking fees. However, leaving the arena after the gig I felt it was worth it….just (?).
In May of this year Rush announced that they would be touring Europe once again. Sadly, my initial euphoria was soon dampened when I realised two things. Firstly the ticket prices for the coming tour would be a whopping £75 + booking fees (making £82.50) per ticket. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they expected their loyal fans to spend that money 12 whole months in advance as the shows were booked for May 2013 !
I am at a loss to understand this turn of events and cannot see how the band can possibly justify an increase of 67% – given that there is no mention anywhere that for that price I will be allowed to have a go on Neil’s drum-kit, or that it includes supper with the band. The only rational explanation, unfortunately, is greed – pure and simple.
The thing is…what hurts the most….is I never expected it of Alex, Neil and Geddy. They had always seemed like well grounded, down to earth guys, who cared about the fans that have stayed loyal to them for most of their lives. I’m not sure now what I based these assumptions on, apart from glimpses of them as people in various DVDs and Neil’s (terrific) books. Maybe as they say… love is blind.
I consider myself to have a reasonable standard of living and I am lucky enough to have (until now) enough disposable income to support my passion for music, and for concert going in particular. I ‘could’ just about afford to pay the ticket price, whereas there must be many fans who would really struggle. However, for the price of a Rush ticket I could buy separate tickets for four up and coming artists, who I really like and who I want to continue to support so that they keep producing excellent work to keep me entertained.
So, this time I am drawing the line. Much as it pains me I will not be going to see Rush on their next tour. To my mind they are asking too much, particularly during such hard financial times globally – do they not realise there is a recession on? Some advertisements for the Clockwork Angels tour feature the three band members sat together with enormous grins on their faces. I wonder why.
I have thrown the spotlight on Rush because they have been a constant in my life for over three decades. Of course there are many other artists out there who are charging high prices for tickets; Radiohead and Muse spring readily to mind. Obviously my taking a stand will have no bearing on a band like Rush at this stage of their careers. However, I thank them for the memories. It saddens me deeply, that I will now have to live off those rather than creating new ones.