Ryan Ritchie penned a letter to billionaire Sir Paul complaining about his ticket prices.
Let’s, Paul, for the sake of argument, say I want my parents to, you know, actually see you, so I buy three seats in section C129. Those seats are $450. Each. And, as Ticketmaster reminds me, “+ fees.”
I can’t surprise my parents with tickets to see Sir Paul freakin’ McCartney only for them to sit halfway to LAX. That’s like giving a child a toy without batteries. A $600 toy, mind you.
That $600 doesn’t include parking. I’ve yet to visit SoFi Stadium, but let’s pretend parking is $20. We both know it’s not $20, but let’s pretend. That’s $620. My parents don’t drink alcohol, so I’m definitely saving money on beers, but — and I know you don’t live here — have you any idea of current gas prices? You probably don’t because if I wrote “The Long and Winding Road” I wouldn’t know gas prices, either. Paul, gas is expensive. Like, so expensive that I’m writing to you and wasting space by talking about gas.
Conservatively, if I bought the cheapest tickets, I would be looking at $700 to take my parents to your show and sit far enough away that we will not be able to see you. To be frank, Paul, that sucks. I don’t want to spend that kind of money to stare at the big screens that I am sure will be on stage. Certainly, you’ve heard of YouTube. My parents and I can get the same experience tomorrow morning for much less money.
Paul, serious question: What the fuck?
Can I take a guess before you answer? You probably have no idea how much tickets are to your show in Inglewood or any show on your “Got Back” tour. You also probably have no idea how many tickets are being sold by Ticketmaster as “Verified Resale Tickets,” which appears to make the prices increase and fluctuate. But what about the tickets that are not resales? Why are those so expensive? Surely someone in your camp knows how much tickets cost to your shows. And surely they can be cheaper.
The COVID-19 lockdown meant lots of people didn’t make money. I’m assuming your band members fall into this category. If so, I sympathize with them just like I sympathize with everyone whose income suffered due to the pandemic. What about them, Paul, your fans? What about people like me, people who want to see you, to take their parents out for a night to hear the music of their youth, the music of my youth, the music of all our youths?
Should that night cost $700?
Call me naïve, but I don’t think any three people should have to pay $700 to attend any concert that doesn’t include Elvis walking onto the stage and confirming he faked his 1977 death. That is worth $700.
Sure, you are Paul McCartney, but I grew up going to five-dollar punk shows where the musicians were two feet away from me and my friends. Those were the best bands I’ve ever seen and the best times of my life. You wrote the soundtrack to my life, to my parents’ lives, to so many people’s lives, but even you, Paul, can’t convince me that any concert is worth $190 a ticket to sit as far away as physically possible.
I’m a bass player and songwriter and I’ve been vegan for 18 years (vegetarian for seven before that), which means there’s pretty much nothing you could do to get me to stop loving you and your music. If this letter means anything to you, hopefully it’s this: The idea of seeing you in concert is worth every cent in my bank account and for the first time in my life, I can afford $700 and not worry about how I’m going to eat for the next three months. But I shouldn’t have to. I should be able to see you at a reasonable price, especially from a mile away.
HT: Ed Driscoll.
Peter Lay (obviously more of a Stones man) contemplates, and rejects, critical hyperbole extolling the greatness of the Fab Four. They’re pretty darn good at their best. Sergeant Pepper was wildly over-rated. And they do not rank with Schubert.
In his review of The Beatles (aka “The White Album”) published in the Observer in October 1968, the filmmaker Tony Palmer hailed Lennon and McCartney as “the greatest songwriters since Schubert”. The White Album, he insisted, “should surely see the last vestiges of cultural snobbery and bourgeois prejudice swept away in a deluge of joyful music making”.
Palmer was not the first, nor will he be the last, commentator to abandon critical faculties in order to claim a place on the “right side of history”. The previous year Kenneth Tynan declared the release of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band a “decisive moment in the history of western civilisation”.
There are those who still cling to that claim and, as the gushing response to Peter Jackson’s Get Back, an eight-hour film of salvaged material from the 1969 Let it Be sessions, suggests, the popularity of the Beatles and the affection in which they are held shows no sign of abating. But Palmer’s Schubert comparison is a telling one, not least because The White Album does contain one Schubertian masterpiece: Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird”.
A comment, it is claimed, on the US civil rights struggle, “Blackbird” was inspired by JS Bach’s “Bourée in E minor”, a piece for lute with which McCartney was acquainted. No other song distils his melodic genius down to its purest form and even the lyrics are a notch above the Beatles’s often banal musings.
The problem, apart from the fact that Schubert wrote scores of superior songs, is that The White Album — a double LP which is best edited down to a shortish two-sider — also contains what might be McCartney’s nadir: “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”, a song of “desperate levity” so hated by the other band members, that they vetoed its release as a single. Its irritatingly ingratiating melody took it to number one anyway, covered by Marmalade.
It’s the pattern with Beatles LPs — that frustrating mixture of the sublime and the ridiculous. Even Revolver — widely regarded as their masterpiece — contains a couple of duffers, courtesy of George Harrison. Similarly, his contribution to The White Album, along with the portentous “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, is “Piggies”, a grimly twee attack on bourgeois conformity that undermines all the trippy sentiments of peace and love and karma that Harrison preached to his immature end. One is reminded of the Twitter trolls who remind us to “be kind” while spewing misanthropy left, right and centre.
Nowhere is this inconsistency as striking as on Sgt Pepper. Despite its treasures — McCartney’s “She’s Leaving Home”, a heartbreaking narrative of intergenerational misunderstanding set to a rising melody of instant memorability; and “A Day in the Life”, perhaps their finest hour, with verses by Lennon, detached and dreamy (“I’d love to turn you on”) married to McCartney’s jaunty middle section celebrating banality and routine (a psychiatrist could make much of it) — the rest is mediocre: “When I’m Sixty Four”, “Lovely Rita”, “Fixing a Hole”, all fine and dandy, but Schubert? Sgt Pepper has aged horribly in its psychedelic whimsy, especially in comparison with its great contemporary, the Beach Boys’s Pet Sounds. …