Monday, August 07, 2006

Stuart Ross interview

Amongst the articles appearing as the tour is under way, the one from Harp Magazine stands out: an extensive review of the Asheville concert but also an interview with Stuart Ross - Tom Waits' tour manager - about ticket scalpers and alcohol abuse during the shows and the measures taken on this tour. An interesting read.

Some quotes:

Now we’ve sold 21,000 tickets to this tour – in ten minutes.

...somebody was advertising a particular seat in a particular row for Nashville. Now I know they don’t have those tickets.

People can get as drunk as they want before the show.

(thanks to Fred and Dorene)

Some other announcements and reviews:
- Access Atlanta: Tom Waits well worth long wait
- The Memphis Flyer: The Second Time Around
- The Tennessean: Nasville waits to hear Tom
- The Tennessean: Time at the Ryman worth the wait
- Citizen Times: Waits greeted with reverence by Asheville audience


Anonymous said...

"Side note: Waits was utilizing a TelePrompTer, but as it was affixed to his middle monitor and was black like the monitor it wasn’t easily detectable from the audience unless you knew to look for it."

I find this hard to believe...... can anyone confirm this?

Paul said...

The undue attention paid to scalping really floors me. Maybe if Tom played more than five shows in a single market every generation or so, the problem wouldn't be as bad as it is. Unless he gives the world a proper tour, I've come to realize that I'll never see the man perform.

Donald Gibson said...

I don't really think Tom enjoys the touring life, which is why he doesn't do much of this sort of thing. I saw him in Atlanta last week, ahd it's obvious he takes the performing side of the tour very seriously. He's completely in the moment when it's time to sing. I just don't think he would enjoy a large scale tour, flying or driving cross-country and living in hotels (he's already had a bit of experience in that realm).

The demand to see him is so high, he could play solely in California near his home and people would come to him.

Matto the Hun said...

The undue attention paid to scalping really floors me. Maybe if Tom played more than five shows in a single market every generation or so, the problem wouldn't be as bad as it is.

Tom, or anybody for that matter, can tour every other day of the year. Scalpers will always take advantage of the situation.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, am extremely grateful that TW is going to all of these extreme measures. As a Bostonian and Red Sox fan, I can attest that certain tickets are virtually unattainable no matter how many shows there are. The Sox have 81 home games a year, but if you don't buy tickets the day they go on sale you are SOL.

Because of these measures (and the alcohol and camera rules) I know that I am going to enjoy the Akron show as much as I have been dreaming for the last two months. who cares if it is a little inconvenient?

hammye said...

To the fellow Boston peep.
What seats do you have for the show?
I'm flying out on Saturday for the show?

Bart said...

I was right up front for the Atlanta show and he definitely is using a teleprompter for certain songs. I saw the stage crew put it through its paces while waiting for everyone to file in the Tabernacle, teleprompter guy kept going over to make sure it was working before the show started. It seemed Tom only used it to get the start of the line, and then he was off and running without it. As much as he has written over the years, I'm sure some things start to slip through the cracks. Didn't hurt his performance one iota in my opinion.

Anonymous said...


Amazing amazing show. He treated us to an insanely fantastic beatbox version of Eyeball Kid. And he didn't have a teleprompter, and he actuallly forgot the words in Tango Til and Lucky Day. The audience helped him out, and it was actually really great. During "Lucky Day" he said "ah, here it is again", suggesting he was forgetting again and someone yelled the line and he just yelled "oHHH SHIT! Tell the boys back home...etc"

It was a really great moment.

Anonymous said...

His tour manager is a bit naive when he says that scalpers are listing rows that he knows they don't have tix for, since he is holding those for Tom.

That is what scalpers do. They are listing the wrong row, so that they can't figure out which tickets he/she is selling, and cancel the order. The tickets are probably in a better row.

He is correct, it is supply & demand, and when you rarely tour and play small venues, the supply is so small, prices are going to go up.

I commend them for trying to get tix into hands of fans, but they can solve the situation themsleves by playing larger theaters and touring more often.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, is there any one of us who WOULDN'T need a teleprompter when doing Sins of the Father? I think it's a good idea. That way he can focus on all the subtleties of his performance instead of what the next verse is.

Anonymous said...

I have to add my 2 cents here. In my eyes, the only thing that has been accomplished this time around with the new ticket rules is that not very good seats have been priced outrageously and good seats are non-existent. In the past, if someone really wanted to see Tom and couldn't get a ticket(s) when the show went on sale (a common occurrence with TW tix, one I'm still going through), you always at least had the option to buy a great seat from a ticket broker if all else fails, still allowing the person to see the show if you really really wanted to (i.e. how much is it worth to you?). Now, that's not the case...your only choice is to buy an icky seat for an outrageous amount of money, i.e. tickets are STILL being scalped, it's just the not so great ones. I fail to see how any of this has helped anyone out. And I also agree with the lack of shows...1 show in Chicago? You're catering to at least 4 major cities with that one is that fair? Obviously TW can do whatever he wishes but let's not shroud the real problem in anti-scapling policies, etc. I dislike scalping as much as the next person but sometimes it's the only way to get "in". I'm for anti-scalping but let's think of a better way of doing it.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention the dicks at ticketmaster whick TOTALLY screwed a bunch of us for ATL and Asheville with their "international will call" shit that dicked me out of 2nd row and sent me to the balcony. But at least I was in the building!

Matto the Hun said...

Better anti-scalping measures would be great, and i hope they are developed soon.

It's hard to say how well these measure worked w/o any real data to go on. We can all assume that the tour manaer in the interview was inflating the success rate.

From my obsevations, I did not see any scalpers at the Tabernable in ATL. The box office opened at 5:20 or so and ticket holders were immediately ussured into te venue. Between that and the ineffictient box office process, it's likely the reason the show started an hour late, but also seemed to foil scalpers.

The Ryman in Nashville was another story. I recall about 5 or so scalpers on the street outside the venue asking to buy extras or offering to sell tickets. I think the Ryman box releases tix from 1-4pm, closes and opens again at 5pm the date of the show. I've only ben there this once so anyone more familier please clarify if thats off at all.

I do know we picked up our tickets at 3pm and walked around Nashville for a couple hours till the theatre opened at 6something. We could have sold our tickets to the scalpers or anyone (if we had some strange brain disease of course!).

It was only when we entered once they opened the auditorium for seating that we had wristband attached to us.

Pretty lax when you think on it. Plus only the premium tickets at the Ryman were Will-Call. At the Tabernacle they were ALL Will-Call.

I remember walking by one scalper (at Nashville) and e hand a bunch of tickets, at least 15-20! Again, ATL was all Will-Call and was very strict and I didn't see any scalpers. That isn't to say there weren't any, but they would have had to been very very few.

In the regard I thought there was a stark contrast between Nashville and Atlanta.

So I think the Will-Call is very effective, but it seems the venue's admission policies can hinder it. It's not perfect and sure can use some ironing out as well as other methods, but I think it's a good start.

Matto the Hun said...

and as the previous Anon poster mentioned, Ticketbastard needs to get their act together on this will call stuff and thier craptastic process.

The was friggin' hell.

Even when we tried for Nashville tix that were released te day before, we ran into the problem with one of our credit cards that was stored in the sytem. Had to grab a different one. Luckily I found it in time.

tero said...

The anti-scalping measures the Waits camp have imposed have my full support. Although I must say - there have been no trouble getting tickets - and damn good ones as well - to all of the four Tom Waits shows I've been able to travel. I know I've been lucky in that respect. But for instance when he's been to Europe, I've always hit the first possible date for me, wherever it is, and scored tickets every time. After that I've started to figure out how to get there. All those shows have initially been sold out in minutes or hours, but again every time tickets have been released a week or two before the show. The will call thing should perhaps not be limited to two tickets per person, but that's still better than one ;-). Bigger venues are in my mind not the way to go when it comes to Tom's shows and his theatrical approach. Hopefully I'll get a chance to see him perform again in a small or mid-sized theater one day, cause the shows I've seen have all been unique and worth all the travel expenses and relatively pricy tickets.

Matto the Hun said...

I agree wth Tero, large venues are not the way to go and are not likely to do anything to soleve the problem.

After the shows we saw, I think the smaller to mid size venues are probably the only way to see Tom Waits.

Anonymous said...

One thing that bothers me about people complaining about bad seats or not being able to get in at all- There is sometimes an implied message that some how they deserve those seats more than somebody else. I don't care how long you've been a fan, or how much money you are willing to pay. The system is actually pretty democratic. Nobody has the right to a great seat, or even getting in. Nobody has been cheated out of anything.

Anonymous said...

Boy do you not get it !!!!!
We the people that got dicked out of tickets did every thing possible to get the best tickets ie: Pre reg. with our credit info and adress etc, stalk the web site,and every thing else you coould think of, only to have those dickless fucks at ticketmaster screw it all up!!!
So don't say we didn't deserve better, WE DID !!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I get it just fine. The bottom line is this- more people want to get on the boat than the boat will hold. If you would have gotten tickets then somebody that went to the show wouldn't have. I'm saying that who ever got "your seats" had as much right to them as you. Sometimes we do everything possible and still don't get what we want, that doesn't mean its not fair. I'm sorry you didn't get to see the show.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

wow, love to see this mutual support & fan comraderie...

thanks to the EB-Kid for having a place we can all come to for good TW info which is usually VERY reliable.

plus, it saves a lot of time that you would spend scavenging the net for every trickle of news. HAIL, HAIL!

Anonymous said...

For someone who supports the anti-scalping measures in theory but who was forced to buy tickets from a scalper, I'm really torn on the entire issue.

We were out of the country when tix went on sale in Nashville, my hometown. But I'd pre-arranged with a friend back in the States to log on the exact second tix went on sale for us. Even with this, she couldn't get tix.

So yeah, I'm glad there was some other option even it meant buying my tickets at more than twice their face value.

You can argue that if all tickets in Nashville were Will Call then tickets would have sold out in perhaps 20 minutes rather than 2 minutes giving the fans more time to get them. But really more options are better than just one you have to stick to no matter what.

I know it sounds like I'm justifying my actions and yeah, if I just said "oh well, I didn't get my tickets through the proper channel so I'll just drop it right there", the scalpers would be out of business. And your right. But selfishly, I could NOT miss this show.

Strangely enough, this being my first scalping experience, the process was actually not that bad beyond the price. It didn't bother me as much that the Internet scalper was selling tickets he didn't have in hand yet because really this was my last hope to see the show. His ebay rating was highly positive and he seemed to be scalping for a living so if we didn't get the tix in time, we knew we could get a refund. We got the tix overnighted to us four days before the concert (which the scalper apologized for the delay) and I opened the package and got dizzy just looking at "Tom Waits in concert" stamped across the front. Although not right up front with Will Call, our seats were awesome. Probably 50 feet from the stage, far stage left where we could see ever expression on the man's face most of the time unless he wandered too far over to the right and got a good look at Tom's fingers going across the piano during "Tom Traubert's Blues" - an experience I'll never forget.

It was the closest I've ever been to a performer during a major concert, which made it more special since he is my favorite musician, so I totally agree - Tom Waits at a larger venue just would not translate.