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Elton John World News: Spend (or sell) your way to the front row?

Spend (or sell) your way to the front row?-- Posted by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sunday 16 August 1998 @ 2:00 - GMT

Here's a somewhat troubling story from the Austin American-Statesman newspaper of August 15, 1998 headlined: "Miffed fans lose prime Elton seats".

 

We've cut it only slightly, and also found it a little confusing to follow. But we'll tamper not. Reporter was Michael Corcoran. We supply it as a matter of record only. Make you own minds up what you think:

 

-----"In many rock concerts an artist will pit the left side of the venue against the right side in a contest to see who's loudest, but Elton John knew better than to do that at the Erwin Center last

Friday.

 

After the singer's production chief ordered sections 1 and 3 to be switched so that those receiving tickets from Elton's camp could sit in the prime area in front of Elton's piano, such a competition might've set off a riot.

 

Several die-hard Elton fans, who protested before the show when they were led to their seats in front of percussionist Jack Mahone. The reaction was akin to a group of fat boys paying cover charge at Sugar's only to find that the club was featuring male strippers that night. Kent Taylor of Showtime Tickets incited others in the displaced section by pointing at the prime seats and yelling, "We're supposed to be sitting there!"

 

When Taylor started yelling anti-gay slurs at Elton's piano-side friends "It's the first time we've had to switch sections," Erwin Center director John Graham said "and there were some misgivings on our part, but what are you gonna do? You want to make the act happy so they come back."

 

At a time when acts seem to go out of their way to cater to "true" fans, it's curious indeed that Elton and company would make an unprecedented move to get better seats for the well-connected . . .

 

Sitting on the Elton side was a party of six from Austin Galleries (1219 W. Sixth St.), where Elton stopped by August 13 and dropped $18,000 on a couple of bronze statues (one from Texas artist Doug Clark).

 

Gallery owner George Attal said he received an advance call from the Four Seasons Hotel, where Elton stayed, advising him that a VIP would soon stop by.

 

"He couldn't have been any nicer," Attal said of the superstar, who was in Austin for a few days of rehearsal before the concert. "He wanted to know if six tickets were enough." After spending 10 minutes (that's $1,800 per minute) at Austin Galleries, John and his three companions also visited Whit Hanks Antiques. . ."-----