By the time you read this, tickets for the Deep Purple gig at Massey Hall next year will have just gone on sale. The band will be spending the entire month of February in our country on a 17-date Canadian tour that includes not one, but two gigs in Newfoundland, five concerts in Ontario, and at least one show in every other province except PEI and Quebec. (Seems that they hit the latter on their orchestral tour a couple months back.) I could be wrong, but I don’t think that a major non-Canadian recording artist has embarked on a cross-country tour of this magnitude in decades. Too bad they couldn’t turn back the clock on those ticket prices…
Mind you, their Diamond: Side Stage Experience tickets for the Massey gig have already sold out. The package, a $385 USD value (they couldn’t put the prices in Canadian dollars for this tour!?) includes a meet and greet with band members not named Ian Gillan, a seat on the side of the stage for Deep Purple’s performance, a merchandise package featuring such amazing items as a messenger bag, pin, travel mug and key chain, as well as a ticket in the first four rows to watch the opening band, itself a $98.75 value. Wait, am I reading that right?
Sure enough, the Massey Hall website lists seating options ranging from 65 bucks for a rear/side gallery or post obstructed gallery seat to 95 bucks for a centre-floor ticket, with regular floors costing 85, roughly what I paid to see Judas Priest last month. But wait–those prices don’t account for service fees, which brings the total price of a centre-floor seat to a whopping $107.50–almost 10 bucks more than the “face value” mentioned by the band. Dude, that’s more in line with what I paid to see KISS or AC/DC, two of the greatest arena rock bands of all time, play at major sports stadiums. Is seeing Deep Purple at a concert hall really worth a c-note!?
Well, let’s take a look at the lineup. Although he won’t meet and greet you, Ian Gillan is back singing with the band, which is definitely a plus. The Machine Head-era rhythm section of Roger Glover and Ian Paice is also fully intact. But Richie Blackmore wouldn’t touch this reunion with a 10-foot pole, thus his spot has been filled by Steve Morse of the Dixie Dregs since ’94. And while keyboardist-to-the-stars Don Airey is a solid player in his own right, he’s still no Jon Lord. That said, I’d take this half of Purple over the 50 per cent of Thin Lizzy that opened for Priest, but I’m not sure I’d pay 100 bucks for 50 per cent of anything–although I guess I did for KISS. Point taken. I can’t see Gillian riding a zip line out into the middle of the crowd or Roger Glover breathing fire from the rafters, though. I’d probably pay to see that, haha.
Something tells me that I won’t be able to get a service-charge-free ticket for this gig at Rotate This (they charge 10 per cent anyways), and I don’t think that scalpers will be selling ’em for less than face value. Which begs the question: Just how obstructed is a 77-dollar, post-obstructed view, anyways?