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Why I Won’t Pay Big Money For Concerts

Published February 23, 2020 by Maryanne

Duran Duran concertMy husband and I at a Duran Duran show — FREE! 

I’ve been a music fan as soon as I knew what music was. Music was always playing in my house when I was a kid. And growing up, music was my priority in life. Mind you, I am not a musician; just a huge fan.

Concert going was always important to me. And even back in the day, growing up in an upper middle class family, tickets were overpriced. However, back then, you still had a fighting chance if you got to the mall early in the morning, you could score a front row seat for the regular ticket price before the scalpers got their grubby hands on them.

Then, things changed. You had no choice but to get tickets from scalpers. However, the most I paid to see a big name star, David Bowie, was $150 for 10th row center, during his Serious Moonlight Tour at Madison Square Garden in 1984.

David Bowie set the bar for me; he was worth it. And I subconsciously made a vow that I’d never pay more than $150 for a concert — over 30 years later, I stuck to it. The only other times I shelled out money close was $100 to see The Stones and $75 to see Prince.

Throughout the years, I’ve seen many big name concerts free because they were outdoors. OR, because, lucky, ambitious me, I was a journalist and was guest listed. And I have some friends in the music industry. And I married a musician. And I’m lucky. I’ve won tickets to see some great shows. And, last but not least, let’s not minimize the talent of our own friends who have made their way in the music industry on a smaller scale. Local talent should never be disregarded.

About 15 years ago I reconnected with a music loving friend I knew from high school. We went to many concerts together as teenagers; then a few as adults. She complimented me, saying that I was always up for a good time, and that I always had money to do things. She invited me to go to a concert with her that was well over $200. I declined. I couldn’t see the justification for paying that kind of money to see anyone when I’ve spent a lifetime of going to see music — GOOD MUSIC– for way less.

Here are some examples of great shows I’ve seen over the decades, for free, for winning, for being on the guest list (due to being a journalist or knowing someone), or for a real good deal. (Note: I’m not including concerts where people treated me as a gift).

Check it out….(note, all random off the top of my head, there are TONS more)

Free Outdoor Concerts

Elton John

Patti Smith

1910 Fruitgum Company

The Smithereens

Lou Christie

Tommy James

Gary Puckett

Ian Hunter

NY Dolls

Tom Tom Club

Peter Noone

Nancy Sinatra

The Turtles

Joan Jett

Chuck Berry

The Zombies

Sheila E.

And many, many more!

On The Guest List

Blondie

Tom Petty & Stevie Nicks

The Pixies

The Plasmatics

Diamanda Galas

Duran Duran

Judy Collins

Roger McGuinn (The Byrds)

The Fab Faux

Tommy James

And many, many more!

Tickets I Won

Richard Barone (The Bongos)

Jeffrey Gaines

Rain (Beatles Tribute)

Probably more, but I can’t remember unless I go to my diaries.

(And don’t get me started on tickets I won but couldn’t attend for whatever reason, urgh! Still kicking myself for not going to see the late Hasil Adkins at Maxwell’s in Hoboken!)

Shows I paid $10 or less! 

Sierra Ferrell (upcoming artist, Rounder Records)

Ratt (1980s hair metal band)

Brute Force (Apple Records Recording Artist)

And many, many more!

Maybe I’m blessed, or just spoiled, but with so many great musical acts out there, and so many opportunities to see cheap or free shows, why should I shell out big bucks to ticket agencies? It’s definitely not necessary. Especially since, when you think about it, what goes up eventually must come down. Not to put anyone down–no way, I love these musicians way too much–but it’s just a great fact for us fans that in years to come, one of your favorites that was charging a ton of money in a large venue will perform for much less (or even free) in a smaller venue in years to come. Just a few years ago I saw Cher in a theatre in Maryland for under $40.

What was your favorite cheap or free concert? What was the most you ever spent on a concert? How do you justify it? 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

“The Gypsy Smiled” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

 

The Gypsy is Still Smiling!

Published January 15, 2018 by Maryanne

The Gypsy Smiled -- THE COVER!!

My name is Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta and I’ve been writing professionally (meaning, being paid to do so) since 1995. That was the year I stood on St. Mark’s Place, in New York City, and was thrilled to see the magazine on display at a newsstand that contained one of my articles. It was one of my life’s happiest moments.

As a writer, the thrills never stop. Your first rejection list (which means people are reading), your first article in print, your first check, your first award, the first time you get to edit someone else’s work, the first time someone asks for your writing advice, and of course your first published book.

My first two books were self-published. Then my third was picked up by a traditional publisher. I was shocked. When the publisher first contacted me, I thought it was yet another self-publishing company hawking business. But, no, it was a real publisher — and wow, just wow!

Within the year, my fictional story, “The Gypsy Smiled” was published.

“The Gypsy Smiled” is music fiction chick lit, inspired by a legendary song by the legendary Lou Christie, “The Gypsy Cried.” I loved the song — and Lou Christie — so much that my book is a tribute to him. The characters who are 1980s goths have a secret passion for the 1960s; so much so that they transform Lou’s music and make it their own.

The lead character, Lucretia, is trying to make it as a musician, but something is holding her back. Then she meets an exotic, positive woman named Gypsy who guides her.

Innocent enough, with no malicious intent.

However, sadly during my time of working out the kinks, a clueless beta who read my work was fixated on the word “gypsy” which she thought was a dig on the Romanian community. (Meanwhile, I have a few friends of Romanian descent who had NO PROBLEM AT ALL with me using the word). I fought to keep the book as is.

After the book was published, I thought my woes with the publishing company were behind me until I was passed on to a publicist who — after the book was published!!! — wanted me to change the entire book because she found it “offensive.”

Do people not get out much? Hallmark Movie Channel had a feature about a “gypsy fortuneteller” not to long ago. And there’s also a TV show called “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.”

When “politically correct” turns to “nit picky incorrect” — it’s not only dumb, but disgustingly “holier than thou”!

I took a private poll on Facebook and people I haven’t heard from in ages came to my defense. The word was used in a classic song, the book is a tribute to that song, and “gypsy” was NOT used as a slur, but in a most glorifying way. (Thus other kick ass gypsy songs like “Gypsy” by Stevie Nicks; and “King of the Gypsies” by Johnny Thunders).

Life can be so ugly when you’re falsely accused for doing wrong, when you work so hard, night and day, to make the world a better place. When I worked at Montclair Times, I made the paper the first in New Jersey to write about gay marriages, followed by the transgender community; I’ve also spent many a day in violent areas in New Jersey to report on a story about the good teens and policemen are doing for the community.

That said, the suggestion by a publicist to change the title of my book “The Gypsy Smiled” was the most asinine thing I ever heard in my life; as the word was by no means meant to be harmful!

I’m no longer going to exhaust myself being defensive to ignorant, judgmental people. Life goes on; and my life certainly isn’t one lived in vain, that’s for sure! I look in the mirror in the morning and say to myself, “I like me” as I await what the day brings. And when someone has to put others down without knowing even five percent of their personality and good doings, they must not like themselves very much.

And not wanting to work with that negative energy, I declined any help from the publicist.

As for the future of “The Gypsy Smiled” without a publicist, the book may just be cult status at best. At least I never compromised myself or my values. I kept my art true.

I refuse to be a sell-out because of someone’s minuscule opinion that is so wrong. In my heart, I feel I created a piece of art that pays homage to someone I highly admire. And that is certainly something to feel proud about.

Like my character Gypsy, I am smiling!

To purchase “The Gypsy Smiled” in Kindle or paperback, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

Publishing Contract For “The Gypsy Smiled” With Your Vote!

Published November 18, 2015 by Maryanne

IMG_4772Model Ashley, for possible book cover idea

Hey gang, my third book “The Gypsy Smiled” is ready for publication and if I can get 1000 votes, Something Or Other will give me a publishing contract!

Please vote and share! http://soopllc.com/blog/book-ideas/gypsy-smiled-maryanne-christiano-mistretta/

“The Gypsy Smiled” is the story of Lucretia “Lucy” Christiansen, a singer/guitarist in her mid-20s, trying to make it in the music business in the late 1980s. Because she’s working two jobs to support herself, she can never make it to band practice on time. Therefore, the leader of her all-girl goth outfit, Daughters of Darkness, kicks her out of the band. The creepy thing is — Lucy was warned that this would happen. An eccentric psychic named Gypsy told her so. Lucy is now feeling like a failure and drowning her sorrows by record store hopping. Though she loves gothic music, she’s also a big fan of “oldies” artists like Lou Christie, who she dreams of working with, creatively. During her record shopping trip, a young fellow goth named Dionysus develops a crush on her and starts following her around like a puppy dog. Lucy fails to take him seriously, especially when she finds out he still lives at home. Plus she’s more focused on revving up her musical career than romance. But Dionysus, real name Scott, turns out to be a killer guitarist and wants Lucy to sing in his band. His father is a famous Elvis impersonator, so Scott knows people “in the biz.” Lucy agrees to be in his band, but Scott has more on his mind than being “just friends.” Knowing how career-focused Lucy is, Scott puts his feelings at bay and they work their musical magic together.

Things are going beautifully until Lucy’s former band mates instigate a fight between her and Scott, causing him to wonder if Lucy is just using him as a vehicle to launch her career as a singing sensation.

Lucy desperately seeks help from psychic Gypsy.

Gypsy has the answers but Lucy lacks the trust. Fed up, Gypsy sends Lucy to an all expense paid new age vacation spa in the mountains; where Lucy could find her own answers.

❤ Thanks for your support!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X) and “Love Cats” (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513)

Lou Christie, Long Branch, New Jersey

Published August 16, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_8240Lou Christie

One of my all time favorite artists, Lou Christie, gave a free show in Long Branch, New Jersey, last night. It was a perfect August night, warm, no humidity, and romantically shared with my husband.

This has to be at least the sixth or seventh time we saw Lou and it just keeps getting better and better. First, the band was off the hook! The sound was amazing and Lou was still hitting those high notes and his back-up singers, The Crayons were right on the money. It was like listening to a record and then some, that’s just how PERFECT it was.

This was the first time Lou didn’t open up with my favorite “I’m Gonna Make You Mine,” but saved it for next to last, followed by his biggest hit, “Lightning Strikes.”

Other songs included “The Gypsy Cried,” “Two Faces Have I,” “Love is a Many Splendid Thing,” “Theme from a Summer Place” (which brought tears to my eyes), and “Beyond the Blue Horizon,” which I recognized that one right off the bat and gave a little yell. Lou acknowledged me and said, “I like that one too!”

My husband and I gave Lou several standing ovations. I think of all the performances we saw, this could be close to my favorite. He added some new songs to the set which added to the excitement. And he joked around a lot with the crowd. He acknowledged “the wine lady” — who is a friend of mine, Louise, who brings him wine and has been following his shows since the 1960s! I met her last summer at another Lou Christie show and we have since become friends on Face Book.

SAM_8222Me on the left, with Debbie (center) and right, Louise (the wine lady)

Prior to Lou’s performance, it was announced there was a special guest in the audience, Robert John, who had a hit in 1979 with “Sad Eyes (Turn the Other Way).” He came onstage and lip-synched to his hit.

SAM_8231Robert John, hit song “Sad Eyes (Turn the Other Way)”

And so cute that a guy in the audience had a poodle and a parrot. Where did he sit? Right next to me — the ultimate animal lover!

SAM_8237How cute is this?!

SAM_8246Can we teach him to sing like Lou?!

After the show, my husband and I decided to take a walk near the water and we found this cool boat that went with the theme of the night. Can you guess what the theme was? Look at the picture, then figure out before you look at the caption 🙂

SAM_8245The “Gypsea” Cried! 🙂

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

Her third book, “The Gypsy Smiled” was inspired by Lou Christie and will be published in 2016.

Lou Christie at Italian Festival, East Windsor, NJ – 9-27-14

Published September 28, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_6107

Lou Christie

SAM_6109Lightning Lou!

It was a most gorgeous summer night and for, I think the fifth time, my husband Dennis and I ventured out to see Lou Christie. But this show was extra special because it was more than an oldies tribute show with several acts — this time Lou was the major act. So we got to see him perform some songs we never heard him do live before like “Love is a Many Splendid Thing” and “Theme from a Summer Place.” It was really special. Plus, my husband and I were able to score a seat near the front. When Lou sang, “Never My Love,” Dennis and I got up to slow dance and had a moment — it felt like Lou was singing especially to us.

SAM_6081Me and Dennis enjoying the show!

Other songs included: “The Heart of Saturday Night,” “I’m Gonna Make You Mine” (my favorite), “Beyond the Blue Horizon,” “The Gypsy Cried,” “Two Faces Have I,” “Rhapsody in the Rain,” “Lightning Strikes,” and quite a few more.

The sound was a little off, but since I knew all the songs, it didn’t matter much. I just love the guy, he’s so fun and animated. And if anyone knows the name of the bass player — please come forward. He was from New Jersey and off the hook amazing!

Since this was a longer show, Lou introduced the band and all the members had their spot light to do their thing. That’s always a great part of any show, and again, how I favored the bassist! If the stage wasn’t so high we could have gotten better pictures, but I’m sure someone has.

Now, the coolest thing — after the Lou Christie show earlier this summer at PNC Bank Arts Center, I met a fantastic friend named Louise on a Lou Christie Face Book community page. Louise and I kept in touch over the summer and were looking forward to this show and meeting each other in person. Well, we did! She told me what she’d be wearing and I was able to spot her before the show! She told me she gave Lou a bottle of Italian wine and he acknowledged her from the stage! How cools is that?

SAM_6110Me and fellow Lou fan and very good friend, Louise!

After the show, we all got to meet Lou Christie! I’m always dumbstruck if I meet a famous musician and it’s not in a professional setting (like when I used to work as a music journalist). I never know what to say. It was just so cute watching all the women swoon over Lou. They were all asking Dennis to take pictures with their cameras. And of course since it wasn’t Dennis’s camera he didn’t know how to use it. At one point, Lou said to Dennis, “Take the fucking picture” and we all laughed.

When I finally got up to Lou, I jokingly said, ‘Are you grouchy tonight?'”

He said, “No, do you want me to be grouchy?”

I said, “No!” and laughed so hard.

I just love people that anything they say comes out funny. Lou is great that way! He also held my hand as I spoke with him, as if I was family. Lou truly cares about his fans, which always makes his shows a great time! God bless to a fellow Italian!

SAM_6101Meeting a music idol!

SAM_6108Louise and Lou!

Milford Library Reading/Signing “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist”

Published June 21, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_4973Me (blue dress) and Jennifer (far left) and new friends!

SAM_4974

A small, but awesome, turn out at Milford Library last night for the “Guest List” reading. We all talked about Lou Christie, Divine, WNEW-AM, Glen Jones Radio Show, The Ramones, Stiv Bators, and of course, The Plasmatics and more!

Milford = another gorgeous New Jersey town I fell in love with. A place I’d love to move with my husband before others discover it’s greatness.

Thanks sooooo much to Jennifer for having me here! “On the Guest List” now has a home in Milford Library!

To purchase “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” visit Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

Lou Christie, The Happenings, Johnny Farina at PNC Bank Arts Center, 5-31-14

Published May 31, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_4606Heading down to the show!

SAM_4638Johnny Farina and his steel guitar

SAM_4645Lou Christie!

SAM_4679Backstage!

SAM_4687

I was ecstatic going down  to the PNC Bank Arts Center last night to see The Doo Wop Extravaganza, knowing that Lou Christie was the head lining act! I had a strong feeling I’d get a chance to meet him!

There were so many great acts. I lost the program so the ones I remember off the top of my heard were Johnny Farina (famous for Santos and Johnny with the hit “SleepWalker”), Chris Montez (“The More I See You, The More I Want You”), The Happenings “See You in September” , The Devotions, The Knock Outs and The Teenagers.

Lou Christie was my favorite. He did his string of hits, opening with “Baby, I’m Gonna Make You Mine,” “and then others including “The Gypsy Cried,” “Two Faces Have I,” “Rhapsody in the Rain,” “Beyond the Blue Horizon,” and closed with a most gorgeous version of “Never My Love.”

Afterwards my husband and I had the honor of going back stage to meet Lou! He was fun and very nice! I got his autograph and gave him a copy of my book, “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” since I mentioned him in it, as his song, “I’m Gonna Make You Mine” was one of my favorites as a little girl.

He was so funny, he said, “And you’re still a little girl!”

We had a great conversation and talked to Dennis (my husband) and I quite a bit before other fans started cutting in. I left giving my condolences regarding the tragic loss of his son.

We also got to meet members of The Happenings.

A night I’ll never forget!

Jukebox Dreamin’

Published May 6, 2013 by Maryanne

tommy-james-and-the-shondells-crystal-blue-persuasion-rouletteDon’t you just love when you hear songs in your dreams?

Last night I heard two of my favorite songs while sleeping.

First up was “I’m Gonna Make You Mine” by Lou Christie. Now Lou Christie is one of my favorite singers of all time. I’ve discovered him within the past five years. He was a 1960s artist. I remember “I’m Gonna Make You Mine” as a little kid. But a few years ago, while listening to a transistor radio on the beach with my husband, we heard “The Gypsy Cried.” The lyrics freaked me out, but then I heard the song again and fell in love with it. I was like, “We have to see this dude!” We saw him live, twice (the second time I got to shake his hand!) Lou Christie is amazing because he wrote most of his songs as a teenager, with a woman who was twice his age named Twyla Herbert (who is now deceased). The Christie/Herbert song writing team was off-the-hook!

That man never ceases to amaze me because there is so little interviews you can find — so he remains mysterious. From his vibe onstage, he just seems like a lot of fun. If I was ever to hang out with someone, I wish it could be Lou Christie.

All that said, I have about four of his CDs, including the conceptional “Paint America Love” album, which has many obscure songs you never here. Every Lou Christie song is a true work of art — a masterpiece. But I have to say “I’m Gonna Make You Mine” is my all time favorite. That song has that extra something-something.

Note the production perfection:  the backing vocals, the snake rattle and even how it picks up after the break. I’d love for a modern band like HIM to re-do this one, slow it down and make the production even more vast. A slower version would allow the listener to have a creepier take on the lyrics (which are very stalker-ish, yet the way Lou sings it’s cute).

Lou is very easy on the eye. He looks like a Val Kilmer upgrade even though Lou came first 🙂

ENJOY:

Lou Christie: “I’m Gonna Make You Mine.”

I gotta hand it to my mind, the follow-up song in my dream was “Crystal Blue Persuasion” by Tommy James and the Shondells, another one of my favorite songs! If I was a 1960s radio DJ, I do believe this song would be the perfect follow up to “I’m Gonna Make You Mine” because it’s equally as great and even though slower, it keeps of the momentum of greatness.

I wrote about Tommy James recently for his birthday, so I won’t go on too much about him, but I will say “Crystal Blue Persuasion” is about the coming of Jesus Christ — not about crystal meth! Better get ready!

Enjoy this most gorgeous song:

Tommy James & the Shondells – “Crystal Blue Persuasion”

I’m Cited in Wikipedia As a Reference!

Published November 20, 2012 by Maryanne

A professional writer since 1995, so many people ask me what is it like having my name in print.

By now, you’d like I’d be used to it, and I kinda am, but sometimes things just pop up in my writing career that really get me excited. Like when The Aquarian/Arts Weekly got into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame — EVERY SINGLE ISSUE is in the Hall of Fame, which means many issues with interviews I did with amazing musicians, my CD reviews, and even though I modeled for a guitar ad at age 28 that was featured in the Aquarian in 1991, it’s the fact that my writing is in there that makes me get all giddy!

So just a few minutes ago, I was researching something that I wanted to write about on my Maryanne’s Jukebox blog page and I came across this page in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_from_Montclair,_New_Jersey

It’s a List of famous people from Montclair.

And since I wrote for the Montclair Times for seven years, I interviewed a ton of famous Montclairians. But in this particular reference, they mention my article with musician Ty Taylor from 2005. (See reference citation #102). Unfortunately the website was changed after I left the newspaper and many articles no longer exist on the world wide web. But anyone who is feeling ambitious can always go to the Montclair Public Library where they archive all the issues back to the 1800s and they can be viewed on microfilm. (Which reminds me, I used to write a column for The Montclair Times called “Looking Backward” where I’d go view the old newspapers on microfilm and pick out the top stories from 100 years ago today, 75 years ago today, etc. It was a very rewarding thing to get paid for, let me tell you!)

There are so many fine talents who live or lived in Montclair, New Jersey, this list should definitely be more extensive and maybe eventually it will be. Off the top of my head I can think of at least five or 10 more that I’ve interviewed that should be in there.

But, needless to say, seeing my name on this massive list made me very happy this morning!

So, as I once saw on a Lou Christie shirt  …. “Google me!”