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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

Tusk: The Ultimate Fleetwood Mac Tribute, Linden New Jersey

Published August 28, 2013 by Maryanne

SAM_2306TUSK

Tusk is my favorite cover band because each individual musician has greatness to offer.

Kathy Philips IS Stevie Nicks. She has the vocals down pat and never breaks character. Her costume is made beautifully: black suede boots, sequined black shawl and Nicks’ trademark top hat. She whirls and twirls and shakes her tambourine throughout the night, never missing a beat. (Note: Last summer I saw them perform outdoors during a full moon — it was enchanting to see a recreation of Stevie Nicks doing “Rhiannon” with a full moon as backdrop!)

Scott McDonald on guitar is amazing. I’ve seen this band perform several times and thanks to him magically  recreating the work of Lindsay Buckingham, I am now a big Lindsay Buckingham fan and have several CDs. I have to say, he’s my favorite band member.

Kim Williams on keys and vocals has the prettiest voice. I said to my husband last night, she plays as she sings, soft, pretty and delicately. She’s so cute and stylish too — great hair, bell bottoms, platforms and a halter top. Don’t know if that’s her real style or doing the ’70s thing for the show, but it works!

Randy Artiglere on bass was mind-blowing. I’ve always been a “bass girl” and he certainly delivered.

And for the greatest drum solo from a cover band, Tom Nelson, who added all the drum solo cliches from popular bands such as U2 and The Rolling Stones, then got up and started drumming on the pillars and door along side the outdoor theater. It was crazy, fun!

They leave no stone unturned when it comes to the library of Fleetwood Mac songs. You’ll hear all of them. My favorites are: “World Turning”; “Say You Love Me”; “Gypsy”; “Edge of 17”; “Gold Dust Woman” (which is total perfection, thank you Ms. Kathy Philips!); “Go Your Own Way” and best of all “Second Hand News.”

Interesting, this is probably the fifth time I saw Tusk over the past three years and every time they begin “Rhiannon” I’m thinking it’s “Oh Daddy” — but since they are doing the LIVE version of “Rhiannon” it throws me off. I’d love to see them do “Oh Daddy” someday.

Another suggestion would be Lindsay Buckingham’s “Holiday Road.” Because not only does McDonald have the guitar genius going on, he can sing like Lindsay Buckingham!

If you’re a Fleetwood Mac fan, or someone like me who only had a few albums, check out Tusk and trust me, you’ll end up being more of a Fleetwood Mac fan then you ever thought you’d be!

SAM_2305Kathy Philips channels a young Stevie Nicks

SAM_2282Guitar extraordinaire –Scott McDonald

SAM_2288Left to right: Kim Williams, Tom Nelson, Kathy Philips

SAM_2276Randy Artiglere and Kim Williams

NOTE: If anyone wants to swipe these photos, I have no problem with that — just be polite and credit: Photos courtesy of Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta.

Just Like the White Winged Dove

Published November 14, 2012 by Maryanne

CAUTION: THIS WILL NOT INTEREST YOU UNLESS YOU ARE A CAT LOVER!

Like many cats, my Derick is a talker, and what a vocabulary this little guy has!

He has a different “mew” for all his kitty needs, including some unique ones when he really wants to get our attention. My all-time favorite is: “Muh-RAOW!”

Years ago, when I was still dating my husband and first moved in with him (and brought the cats too, of course) I was fascinated by the coo of the morning doves outside our home. And so was Derick.

Within a few weeks Derick started mimicking the coo.  And then he started making up his own tunes. “Ooo, ooo.”

One day I heard Stevie Nicks singing “Edge of Seventeen” on the radio and realized the “ooo, baby, ooo” sounded just like my Derick mimicking the morning dove. So that became one of Derick’s songs.

Edge of Seventeen

Shortly after making this discovery, I made another one. While playing with Derick, I noticed that if I squeezed his lower backside, he would make the dove sound. “Ooo.”

Damn! I was so proud, my genius cat  could “ooo”‘ not only on cue, but in key!

So then I got this brilliant idea, that perhaps I could do a duet with my cat. If I could get Derick to “ooo” on cue maybe we can go on a show like Pet Star and “sing” together and maybe score a few thousand bucks! I could finally get my cats that kitty condo, thanks to Derick’s fine talent  and my kitties would be officially earning their keep!

I started to practice singing with him. And our practice sessions went something like this …

Me: “Just like the white winged dove. Sings a song, sounds like it’s Derick.”

[Press Derick’s backside]

Derick: “ooo”

Me: “Baby”

[Press Derick’s backside]

Derick: “ooo”

Me: “Said”

[Press Derick’s backside]

SILENCE!!!

WHAT?

TRY AGAIN.

SILENCE AGAIN!

No matter how many times we practiced, Derick would never do the third “ooo!”

Did Derick not want to go on Pet Star and be famous?

Did Derick not want to earn the kitty condo so he and his adopted brother Billy could play?

Did Derick not want to up his game and earn his keep?

As we all know, the moral of this story is, the alpha cat rules the household. And we are merely put on this planet to serve as our cat’s bitch.