The Last Domino Falls... - A Genesis Reunion And The Problem Of Touts
So, Genesis are back. Thirteen years after their globetrotting Turn It On Again tour that rocked stadiums across Europe and the USA, the legendary prog-rockers who soundtracked my childhood are back by stratospherically popular demand to do a run of 16 arena dates across the UK, with a run in the USA expected to follow suit.
As expected, I've got my ticket, and yes, it's cost me a pretty penny. With this though, I'm expecting a once-in-a-lifetime concert that won't necessarily happen again. After all, Collins, Rutherford and Banks are all 69 now, so the chances of this occurring again are pretty remote, especially given the fact that the Surrey-based three-piece have played twice in Britain on tour in the last 28 years.
The problem with this Genesis reunion though, according to a lot of people, is the demandingly high price for tickets. For all venues, be it Birmingham or Belfast, the tickets start at roughly £65 and ramp up to around £185 for the top price ones, and don't get me started on the £750 VIP dinner experience. There's no doubts that the price commanded is extortionate to most, but maybe it can be forgiven with the status that the band have. Paul McCartney charges around the same, maybe a bit less, but you know what you're getting with the Beatles legend, as you do with Collins and co. May I remind you that Phil Collins is part of an insanely exclusive club to be someone that has sold over 100 million records as part of a band and on his own - the others being McCartney and the late great Michael Jackson.
With this Genesis reunion, it's fair to expect something special, and with a band whose career spans over five decades now, there's a lot of songs to pick from, especially from the three-piece era beginning with the release of And Then There Were Three... some 42 years ago. From the classic Follow You Follow Me to the more recent Jesus He Knows Me or Land Of Confusion, Genesis have got a hard time picking the right songs for the paying crowds. That being said, some will want to hear some of the more obscure Collins or well-known Gabriel songs, like Just A Job To Do or even down to fan-favourite epic Supper's Ready. Rest assured, they've got a hard time to choose the right songs, but whatever they do end up playing, it should please the crowds.
As much as the reunion sparked speculation about setlists or potential songs, it also raised yet more concerns about the problems of ticket touts or resale sites. For as long as tickets have been sold, there's always been people aiming to sell tickets on for a profit - it's the nature of business - but, there comes a major problem when legitimate sellers such as Ticketmaster openly allow for what is essentially sponsored touting through their own sites like Get Me In. Quite thankfully, these sites have pretty much died a death, but the release of such dates from Genesis also offers the lucrative opportunity for touts that taunt desperate fans for tickets on Stubhub or Viagogo. Twitter was littered with complaints of the high price of tickets on such sites, but what seemed to be the case was that none had read the small print when looking to buy them. When you booked through AXS for the O2 gigs at the back end of November, you were greeted with the following message:
As such, it makes it plainly clear that utilising "unauthorised resale sites" voids the bought tickets and means that they'll go back on sale through the original merchant. The tickets sold through these sites will be nulled and people should get them back at face value. What does a lot of people's heads in is the fact that touts or the sites themselves are taking advantage of people even more so than the venue for charging what could be seen as nonsensical prices. In reality, what should happen is a face value fan-to-fan resale, as opposed to the supply-and-demand driven prices. Whilst its basic economics, trading tickets should result in both parties being winners. The people who've sold the tickets get their original money back and the new buyers aren't being fobbed off. It's a simple process.
Am I looking forward to the Genesis reunion? Yes. Am I looking forward to a crowd of like-minded people enjoying some proper music for a few hours? Of course. What am I not looking forward to? People being taken advantage of for tickets in the future. What needs to happen is a rethink of the way that tickets are sold. Do away with a presale for a presale and offer all tickets at once - just let people enjoy a gig and not fret about how many devices they need or the frenzy of buying tickets. Sound fair?