BIG FOURTUNE: HAVE METALLICA & FRIENDS GONE TOO FAR?
Few of us are so naive as to expect the members of a huge band like Metallica to retain any connection to reality. If we, the fans, have learned anything from rock docs and hammy celebrity bios, it’s that mega-success ensures isolation, and constructs a treadmill for goal-crazed egomaniacs forever in search of their next round of applause. Hey, that’s human; we search out what feels good, even if we must disregard what is right.
And there is little right about Monday night’s announcement of ticket pricing structures for the upcoming Big Four gig at Yankee Stadium. At best, or least, a would-be ticketbuyer shells out about $100+ to squint stageward from a neighboring zip code, and possibly even provide band management with advance notice of impending weather changes. At worst, leather coat and V-neck sweater types can populate the “front general admission” area in exchange for $225 (plus the above- and below-table fees affixed by each link in the live music production chain).
But what does it mean, though, for the men of Metallica — who take pains to flaunt their control of the Big Four brand — to set these prices? It’d be simplistic to chalk it up to greed; this show has production costs to be covered, and Yankee Stadium can’t be a cheap rental, especially considering post-show repairs to outfield turf. (Plus, the profit-minded focus more tightly on the windfall generated by the custom Big Four at Yankee Stadium shirts at about a 7000% mark-up.)
I guess the actual question is: Why Yankee Stadium? Why one show per coast, to which all area fans must trek (requiring gas money, missed work hours) and which attracts the moneyed, magic-humping fanatics from Asia and Europe? Why a venue designed for a sound-free sport and not for achieving the already fickle sound and sight standards of a chart-topping band’s usual sheds?
In Metallica’s case, it’s not about the music or the fans. It’s about legacy. It’s about that next goal, the next ego-massaging benchmark for a bunch of scorekeepers who’ve exhausted every other way of experiencing joy. I mean, can you imagine an inability to get high, be it from a pretty girl’s smile or a crowd’s roaring applause? You, too, would chase history, manufacture your own icon status, and expect fans to trust that what is good for you is also good for them. You, too, would attempt to enshrine your band as the leaders of some half-actual scene, as the best of a five-year run of creative excellence from four bands who failed to break hair rock’s deathgrip and then, in the face of alternative music, discarded the thrash metal sensibility like it was made of AIDS. You, too, would tumble ass-over-tea kettle into drug and alcohol addiction until even those pursuits failed to provide uninterrupted self-gratification.
But hey — attendance is not compulsory. We each can choose to direct the same funds to a few real music events, ones defining their goals as something beyond helping aged spotlight-hoggers overcome their ennui, lust for glory, and small-dick issues. It’s up to us.
Tickets for Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax at Yankee Stadium go on sale Friday at 10 a.m.