Column: off the record…, vol. 12-501

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off the record, from @U2

Van Halen announced they're getting back together with David Lee Roth, release a new album and are going back on tour. This makes me wonder if Bono's a Van Halen fan, as last week he was vacationing in Panama? Thanks to our friends at Ultraviolet Brazil for keeping us up to speed in our Bonoized version of "Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?"

Coming off the heels of the Super Bowl halftime show, Madonna has announced her 2012 world tour. Like U2's, Madonna's fan club, Icon, is run by Live Nation and you could subscribe for the year for a flat rate and receive a subscriber's gift. But a few months ago, they stopped taking new subscribers and longtime fan club members (or Legacy members) of Icon were notified that changes would be coming. Those changes took effect when the site relaunched on Tuesday. Now, fans are able to buy into a one-week membership for a fee (varies based on country), which allows you a one-week window to a presale code that is good for up to four tickets for the concerts going on sale that week. Once that subscription ends, you can purchase another subscription and receive another code. This will continue until all the presales are done. The subscription will also entitle you to a nominal gift (tour laminate, poster or a $$5 credit in the Madonna shop) and access to the exclusive tour-devoted forum on her site until the tour ends. Legacy members were allowed a one-hour head start on the presale as a thank you for being a long time supporters of her fan club.

What I find interesting about what Madonna and Live Nation are doing is that it would appear they have learned from U2's fans about the value of the fan club. How many of us purchased multiple fan club memberships to gain access to the four tickets in the presale for U2 360 or the Vertigo tours? If you're only subscribing to get a ticket to see the artist, Madonna is offering a far cheaper way for fans to gain access to four presale tickets at $$18.95 per presale week. With, you pay $$50 for access to a presale for up to four tickets. If U2 fans wanted access to another presale code, they had to pay another $$50.

Two other items of note: has partnered with a secondary ticketing company, Viagogo, so fans can resell their tickets; and U.S. concert tickets come with a free copy of her new album, MDNA. This should shoot her up to No. 1 on the charts in the first week.

Could this be the way of the future for and ticket sales? We'll wait and see.

(Thanks to Aaron Sams for the tip.)

I would like to concur with what Arlan Hess wrote in her OTR column about "Mysterious Ways." My soon-to-be 3-year-old daughter proved Arlan's theory about how the song naturally makes females want to dance. I had the song on recently and my daughter, who has never seen a belly dancer before, naturally started moving her hips and waving her arms and hands in the middle of our kitchen. There's just something about those funky beats, I tell you!

In a previous life, I helped college reunion classes with their events. This year's celebrations would be for years ending in 2's and 7's. When our Irish lads are on a bit of a holiday and the news is slow, it's easy to take a walk down memory lane. Thirty years ago, we had "A Celebration." Twenty-five years ago, we had The Joshua Tree and its world tour. Twenty years ago, Zoo TV kicked off. Fifteen years ago, Pop made its debut. Ten years ago The Best Of 1990-2000 was released. Five years ago The Joshua Tree was remastered and rereleased. 

And finally, while I'm on the topic of reunions ... 15 years ago today, we found U2 in the ladies' lingerie department at Kmart, selling their wares and announcing the PopMart tour. I asked for the time off from work to watch it live on MTV. Many music television stations carried the tour announcement live. If you missed it, or wish to relive the reverb of "Holy Joe," here it is. Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

Have a great week!

©@U2/Lawrence, 2012.

PS: Happy Birthday, Li'l Miss :)

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