Monday, January 20, 2014

Rock and Roll Will Never Die: Roger Waters Coming to Buenos Aires

article from August 30, 2011
By Jamie Douglas

...and It is Still Going Strong in Its 60s!

You would never guess that Argentina, in particular Buenos Aires, is suffering. Not by the amount of people who are shelling out an average of 1,000 pesos for tickets to see Rogers Waters on his latest world tour of the Southern Hemisphere, from January 27, 2012, in Perth, Australia, to Rio de Janeiro, with intermediate stops in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, Porto Alegre, Brazil and finally ending up in Rio on March 25, 2012. That’s quite a grind for an artist of any age – but Roger will be 68!

His visit to Buenos Aires will be historic, indeed. A sixth date was just added at the River Plate Stadium, a facility with a capacity of 76,687. Assuming that there will be concert seating for 70,000, that will make a total of 420,000 Floydsters celebrating The Wall Live over 32 years after it was first performed in London.

This will set new records for musical performances in Argentina, beating the Rolling Stones’ previous record of five not-quite-sold-out performances. From early responses, all six of these coming shows will be completely sold out, with tickets ranging from 160 pesos to 2,100 pesos, about US$40-$500, with the average ticket price being somewhere around 1,000 pesos, or $250. That comes to a staggering US$100,000,000!

So far, there are 27 scheduled performances on the southern loop, all with matching ticket prices. The total gate receipts will probably be in the neighborhood of $400,000,000. This, combined with the ticket sales from the rest of the world, will make The Wall Live the highest grossing musical world tour in history, taking in almost $1.6 billion, easily beating the Rolling Stones’ Bigger Bang ticket sales of $550 million.

I had the incredible experience of a lifetime working for the second lineup of Pink Floyd (minus Syd Barrett - RIP) as a photographer first and then as a technician during the early-to-mid 1970s, and I have to admit that I am still a total Floyd-head. I never saw a bad performance, whether it was from backstage or from my favorite rows 15-20. The music was always amazing, as were the stage effects that went with the shows. Sometimes I was so dead tired after setting up that I would crash in a hammock under the stage during the performance, enjoying the music in my subconsciousness.

During the early 90s, my then-wife-to-be and I worked in staging for several of the great rock n’ roll shows, with legends such as Paul McCartney, Madonna and David Gilmour-inspired Pink Floyd. After completing our work on the major gigs, we would usually escape the high-pressure atmospheres of the stagecraft workshops, sound stages and rehearsal halls to go to our little artist’s haven in the mountains of Michoacán, Mexico, to chill out for a few months. In 1994, Pink Floyd came to perform in Mexico at the Hermanos Rodriguez Autodromo on The Division Bell tour. We decided to go, even if tickets were an astonishing US$500. However, we had been in touch with the “whole hog” operator (the guy who runs all the show’s computers, ergo the showmeister) by phone a couple of times, and we met at the Intercontinental Hotel over drinks and a meal. In exchange for a little translating during setup and breakdown, we scored the whole backstage VIP package, including VIP seating in row 14, dead center. I think it was the best show I had ever attended. We were even picked up by a limousine and driven straight backstage, where I got to use David’s personal toilet, and then we were off to Nirvana.

So if you are a fan, which I suspect you may be, since you are still reading this, I highly recommend that you secure your tickets for what may be the last time you will see Roger Waters and his band perform in Buenos Aires. As Mick Jagger so clearly put it while he was in his twenties or thirties, “I’d rather be dead than singing ‘Satisfaction’ when I`m forty-five.” Mick Jagger is 68 as well, and the Rolling Stones’ last tour grossed over a half a billion dollars. Not bad for an old rock n’ roller, and he may yet do it again. 

Jamie Douglas
San Rafael, Mendoza
Where that Fine Malbec Wine gets even better with a little Pink Floyd!

[Image of Roger Waters via Wikipedia]

I encourage you to write me at cruzansailor [at] gmail [dot] com with any questions or suggestions you may have. Disclaimer: I am not in any travel-related business. My advice is based on my own experiences and is free of charge (Donations welcome). It is always my pleasure to act as a beneficial counselor to those who are seekers of the next adventure.

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