Opinion: Why disgruntled Rolling Stones fans need to get a grip
Australian Rolling Stones fans today are mourning the loss of their airline tickets, frequent flyer points, commemorative ticket stubs and potential memories. Meanwhile, Mick Jagger is mourning the loss of his partner of 13 years. If you can’t see the vast discrepancy between those two experiences, then you’ve spent far too much time on social media and lost touch with what it actually means to be a human being.
This isn’t one of those typical Australian concert cancellations. You know, where the singer has a terrible case of gout and can’t fly, or there are “”unforeseen circumstances””:http://www.fasterlouder.com.au/news/36910/OutsideIn-festival-headliner-cancels-due-to-unforeseen-circumstances, “”unavoidable recording commitments””:http://www.fasterlouder.com.au/news/38697/Action-Bronson-cancels-Groovin-The-Moo-tour, “”various considerations, including advice from our immigration solicitor””:http://www.fasterlouder.com.au/news/36340/Babyshambles-cancel-Splendour-In-The-Grass-sideshows, “”unexpected international scheduling conflicts””:http://www.fasterlouder.com.au/news/37307/Unforeseen-scheduling-conflict-forces-Iggy-Azalea-to-cancel-more-shows, “”circumstances beyond our control””:http://www.fasterlouder.com.au/news/38386/Megadeth-cancel-Soundwave-tour, or the “”constantly shifting goalposts and challenging conditions of organisers””:http://www.fasterlouder.com.au/news/37743/Blurs-shock-Big-Day-Out-cancellation-How-it-unfolded. Australia is a long long way away from the rest of the world, so it’s hardly surprising when an act pulls the pin because they forgot to renew their Valium prescription and just can’t stomach the idea of a 14-hour flight.
This isn’t one of those times.
The Stones actually arrived in Australia on Monday – and they made a really nice video to prove it. Mick even posted an image of himself on Perth beach yesterday, which The Daily Mail later used against him in the most perverse way imaginable.
The Stones (and their 177-member strong entourage) were all set to begin their “14 On Fire Tour” in Perth tonight, until the devastating news of L’Wren Scott’s death hit yesterday morning. The acclaimed fashion designer – Jagger’s girlfriend since 2001 – died from an apparent suicide in her New York apartment. A statement issued by Jagger’s spokesman shortly afterwards said the singer was “completely shocked and devastated” by the news, but if social media is anything to go by, he should’ve thought about those poor fans who organised babysitters and re-mortgaged their homes for tickets first.
“This is not good enough,” complained one enraged fan on promoter Frontier Touring’s Facebook page when a midday press conference – which was never actually confirmed to begin with – didn’t take place. Another said the promoter’s inaction was causing some serious #firstworldproblems:
Frontier eventually told fans that the Perth tour curtain-raiser had been cancelled in a statement posted a mere 17 hours after L’Wren Scott’s body was found by her assistant. But it wasn’t enough for this proud Adelaidian who was concerned that the opening of the revamped Adelaide Oval – which The Stones were reportedly paid a lot of money to headline – was in jeopardy. Won’t somebody please think of the tradies!
And then there was the guy, who lamented how “awful” it was being an “Aussie fan right now”, without really thinking about how “awful” it would be to be “Mick Jagger right now”, or “L’Wren Scott’s family and friends right now”. Not all of us have the luxury of flying across the world in a private jet, but all the champagne and lobster in the world couldn’t dull the pain of a 24-hour grief-stricken trip.
As for those complaining about Frontier Touring’s apparent inaction, did they miss the part where Mick Jagger’s partner just died? Did they just expect Michael Gudinski to barge into the Perth Hyatt and say, “Look Mick. I know you’re really sad, but Jenny from Fremantle arranged a babysitter for the show, and it’s super important we give her at least 24 hour’s notice, because she booked it through an agency and they have a $60 cancellation policy in place. $60 may be pocket change to you, Mick, but it’s a monthly Foxtel subscription for poor Jen, so can you just buck up and give us an answer already mate?”
“Did they miss the part where Mick Jagger’s partner just died?
Frontier are a world-class touring and promotions company run by an Australian music icon who has been bringing bands to Australia for the past 40 years. They’d never make a statement in haste without dotting every “i” and crossing every “t”, so why would they start now, especially with arguably their biggest tour ever at stake?
“To cancel any tour, is a logistical and insurance nightmare,” posted a friend, who has had experience working for touring companies including Frontier, on Facebook, “This is without the fact that a family member of the band has died. They have to check with the insurance company, check with the relevant venues to find availabilities, check with the management for the schedule of the band for the next 6-12 months. And that’s for an average band,” she continued, “this is the biggest band in the world.”
The tour has now been rightfully postponed, but if you truly love The Stones you’ll give them the time they need to do what’s right in these truly tragic circumstances. And I say this not as a sanctimonious journo who’s never had to pay for a ticket in his life – but as a Stones fans who’s forked out $851.24 for four tickets in the nosebleed section of their Rod Laver show. I’ll be hanging onto these tickets until a rescheduled tour is announced, and if it’s not I’ll be respectful of the fact they’re dealing with something that’s bigger than me or you. To paraphrase Mick himself, “It’s only rock’n’roll.”
Follow Darren on Twitter @darren_levin.