Very. Important. Person. For music fans those three words conjure up images of skipping out on standing in line, being at the side of the stage while the show takes place, and partying with the band backstage after the show. VIPs vacation in the world of rock excess, if they're rich or famous (or both) enough. For most concert goers it's a world that remains largely off limits, a wish made while you're stuck 30 feet back from the barrier with the abnormally tall guy blocking your line of sight.
Promoters know the value of a label and are now willing to sell you a modified version of that wish if you can afford it. If you're willing to drop the cash through VIP Nation you can get everything from early access to the venue up to a meet and greet session with the band.
Ask yourself: in these hard economic times how much would you spend for your dream concert experience?
Ask a group of people sitting in the VIP section why they paid up to triple the cost of a regular ticket and you're likely to find two types of people: superfans and people who love live music but hate dealing with crowds. But is limited edition swag, upfront seating and early entry in to the venue really worth the cost? Rocks Off takes a look at some of the VIP packages being offered for upcoming shows to see what people are paying and what they're getting.
Megadeth (Gigantour 2012) Special Package: Ultimate VIP - $250 Big Draw: "Meet and Greet photo op with Megadeth band members" Price Difference: $190
Ever dreamed of having your photo taken with one of the "Big 4"? Now you can, but you'll be paying a big 4 times the amount of a regular general admission ticket. With that photo op you get the standard perks of merchandise and early entry to the show but don't expect to get anything signed; according to the VIP Nation Facebook page, the band is more interesting in interacting with fans rather than signing things. Leave your Dave Mustaine VMNT Peace Sells guitar at home but don't fret -- you're getting a signed poster. (VIP Nation assures that Dave has an excellent signature.)
Nickelback Special Packages: Rockstar Reserved/Rockstar General Admission - $225 Big Draw: Limited edition tour swag, close seating Price Difference: $100
If getting a prime seat to this show sounds too good to be true, well, it is. The Rockstar Reserved packages are already sold out for this, and with good reason: this show has the best cost:value ratio on the list. $100 ticket + $35 shirt + $30 poster and you're already most of the way to paying the VIP price, plus now you'll have a fancy Nickelback tour laminate to put in your scrapbook. Play your cards right with your early admission to the floor and you might just be the one Chad Kroeger sings "How You Remind Me" to.
Roger Waters (The Wall: Live) Special Packages: VIP Party - $550; VIP Tour - $375 Big Draw: VIP Party - closer seating, "Exclusive pre-show reception, including buffet dinner and open bar (beer and wine)"; VIP Tour - close seating, tour swag Price Difference: $350-$175
This epic of music and architecture returns to Houston and if you thought it was good the first time imagine how much better it'll be after you eat dinner with complete strangers. At one point they talked about VIPs being so close to the stage that they might be part of the show, but that idea seems to have been abandoned. Given Roger's history of fan interaction and spitting that was probably a wise decision. A piece of advice from Rocks Off: the pre-show reception is not the place to reenact the "One Of My Turns" sequence from the movie. Nobody is writing a rock epic about the guy who got hammered at the Toyota Center pre-show reception.
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Van Halen Special Packages: Ultimate VIP- $995; VIP-$595; Tour- $395 Big Draw: Ultimate - Front row seating, backstage tour; VIP - close seating, backstage tour; Tour - close seating Price Difference: $850-$250
If you've ever wanted a peak behind the curtain of a major road show and you want to be the closest person in the room when "Hot For Teacher" starts then this is your VIP wish come true. It's true that it'll cost you a grand and it's true you'll have to spend the next few months praying nothing derails the tour but no one ever said wishes were easy. It's worth pointing out that the Ultimate VIPs also get free parking (where available according to the VIP Nation site), so if you can only afford the $595 ticket you may want to stop by the ATM on the way to the show if you plan on parking your car. Not even VIPs get everything handed to them.