THE LEFSETZ LETTER: Stones In Stadiums

I don't think Mick gets it. Nobody CARES anymore!

I could be wrong. Hell, who could have predicted Motley Crue would do the business it is. But they're playing arenas. And this is the FIRST wave of nostalgia for people who came of age in the eighties. Haven't the Stones been on a comeback tour since 1989?

Maybe the Stones need Irving. Irving understands overexposure. You can't burn out the franchise. I remember as the initial Eagles reunion jaunt was winding down, maybe after two years, probably early in 1996, Irving told me the Eagles weren't going to return until the millennium. And this turned out to be true, their next gig was on New Year's Eve 2000!

And the Eagles are smart enough to play arenas. What's up with the stadiums?? I felt the Stones got it the last time around, which seems like only yesterday, they mixed it up by playing smaller halls, by playing material they'd NEVER played in concert, it was special. What's special about THIS tour? The fact that they have a new album? A new Stones album hasn't meant anything for decades, and they haven't put out a consistently good one for even longer. And, even if it was "Let It Bleed" redux it wouldn't make a difference, because there's nowhere to PLAY IT! Unless, of course, Mick's about to bring Jay-Z out of retirement for a duet. I mean not only does Top Forty not play the music of old farts, however legendary, their audience DOESN'T CARE!

Anybody who believes this is the last tour and he's got to see the band ALREADY SAW THEM!! God, they've been implying it's the last tour since the EIGHTIES! As for kids…god, maybe if Mick and Keith went away, but they always seem to be around, like your grandpa, wanting to hang with the children, it's CREEPY! I mean how in the hell do they plan on filling stadiums, especially at THESE prices?? Yup, that's just what an old fart wants. To pay over a hundred bucks a ticket to sit on a hard seat so far away he's got to use binoculars. And it's not like this is the first time he's been to an outdoor gig, he knows the sound is going to be LOUSY! Hate to tell you, price doesn't matter to a baby boomer. Hell, just look at the Eagles dates. What they want is to be close, convenience, ACCESS!

And that's another element Irving's got down. Fan club? Paying money so you can buy a ticket? That's so NINETIES! Nobody believes you get anything for your money, they know they're being ripped off. It's just an insult. The model is flawed. It just pisses people off. The key is just to charge SOME people a LOT of money for something unique, for access. Yup, give them a laminate, let them come to soundcheck, let them eat with the crew. This is PRICELESS! Which is why people will pay upwards of five hundred bucks for it. Irving directed me to the Website for Van Halen, where this model was employed for even a YOUNGER demo, he said to read the comments, people were RAVING! God, think about how many people lie and say they went to Woodstock, to show somebody your Stones laminate, and pics of you backstage, that's enough to make these people's LIVES!

But the Stones are getting all their money up front. As long as tickets are selling today, the concert promoters don't care about tomorrow. Hell, who knows, maybe this tour will be a success. But what comes NEXT? It's not like there's another band in mothballs that everybody wants to see and will pay in excess of $100 a ticket to do so. None of these acts ever have good new material. Hell, credit the Eagles, they won't put any OUT! Henley says unless it's great, they don't want to tarnish the legacy. Whereas the Stones are now a cartoon. It's would be hard for anybody under the age of forty to believe Mick Jagger was once considered dangerous. It seems Brian Jones was the only one who knew when to exit.

Oh, don't tell me that the show is good. Hell, I know Mick slurs his words, have you LISTENED to the recent live stuff? Don't tell me to stop coming down on these people. Hell, I don't care if you're a rock star or a high school teacher, nowhere in your DNA is it written that you must sell out, sell your soul for cash. Rock music used to have some INTEGRITY! That's gone. And that's why nobody wants to see the new acts. And why the old acts are doing worse and worse business. God, isn't that the basic RULE of show business? Not to overexpose something, to make it RARE?? Mick is so interested in the bucks, he doesn't HAVE a manager. And maybe that's why he's so clueless. God, think of Stones tour announcements in the past and the one yesterday. It barely made a ripple, you were lucky to HEAR about it!

And then you've got U2 doing a Stones stunt of yore, performing on a flatbed truck to announce THEIR tour. I tell you, I'm sure you can have a good time at ALL their shows, but this is not what this business was built upon, it's not why I'm interested. I don't want to have a good time, I want to have the TIME OF MY LIFE! I want to feel I'm at a unique, life-changing event, one you feel lousy for the rest of your life if you MISS! Miss the Stones this time, and you can see them again in three years, not that you have to, since, like I stated above, if you were interested, you already HAVE!

It starts with music. U2's album sold a boatload, but they haven't done anything to turn one's head since 1992's "Achtung Baby". Art is about testing limits. Their last two albums were made to blueprint, if that gets you off, your dick probably gets hard watching the "Today Show". But they learned it all from the Stones. Paint a broad canvas, don't worry about the elite, just play to the ignorant masses, taking home all the money. I guess these bands are entitled, but this has NOTHING to do with art. Count me OUT!

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