Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How much would you pay for a handshake?

With Barry in New York and ticket prices at an all-time high, I've been pondering this question.

I know how much I paid ($250 more than once) and at that time it seemed sane and logical. I rationalized spending that kind of money as "my due" after raising my children and taking care of my father and great aunt for so many years. When I think back on that time I wonder if the expense was truly worth the cost. If you can put a price on a handshake or a glance from a celebrity who is merely an entertainer/actor, that's a high price to pay for a few seconds of contact. But then again, some would argue that those few seconds give them great joy.

Does the joy last? On the contrary, many fans experience what they call PMD (post Manilow depression) after attending the show. The thrill is over, the music has ended, and you go home. But that's not where it ends. It's an addiction for some; they go back time and time again to get their fix. 

Don't get me wrong. The money I spent during those few years of Vegas shows provided me with some amazing entertainment and some long lasting friendships. You can't devalue that aspect of the expense. Granted I wasn't there every single night and when I was there, I didn't see every show from the front row or the stage. I got a few handshakes and one encounter putting on Barry's jacket. I got to witness and photograph dances with close friends and watch the joy they had while doing it. Was it exciting at the time? Sure. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't. But the thrill never lasted and it certainly didn't provide me with permanent joy or happiness.

So really...how much is a handshake worth? Or a glance or a smile? Or a dance? Or a photograph?

Is it worth compromising time with your family or sacrificing the relationship within a marriage? Is it worth spending your retirement and closing out your 401k to pay for the shows and the trips? Is it worth accumulating mounds of credit card debt? Is it worth losing all sense of reality and living in a fantasy world?

Would I pay $250 (or even $700) for another front row seat? Absolutely not. It's the same show, the same songs, and the same jokes. I can experience that from the $20 seats. It's also worth mentioning that the longer he stayed in Vegas and performed across the country, the contact he once had with the audience has diminished. The stages got higher and the on-stage seating disappeared. The dances and other interaction stopped. There is no longer an opportunity to sing on stage with him, dance or interact one-on-one. Many have speculated about the cause of these changes: did the frenzied fan behavior cause him to draw back? Only he knows. A once accessible entertainer has become a celebrity on stage.

Some might say I'm jealous of those who continue to go. Not at all. I am blessed beyond belief and I value those real relationships with my family and friends. Call me a cynic, but I've heard so many stories and witnessed personally the destruction of lives because of an obsession with a man who sings on a stage and knows how to entertain and move his audience with his music.  That music does create a common bond with other fans that often blossoms into friendships. But for me, that's where it ends. 

Sadly, that's not where it ends for those who have paid a very steep price for their fandom. 

Finding joy with family and friends,
Texas Fan

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ticket prices are high enough, let alone the price some will pay for anything beyond it. Madness in so many ways. One can only imagine how many family lives have been affected by this. We all know that Barry wants us to feel something from his music, but maybe taking that feeling back home to the ones you love would be better. Sad.

I'll join you in the $20 seats! I'm sure the view and sound is just fine!

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