Harder, better, faster, stronger
Given the spectacle of her day-to-day outfits, you’d better believe Lady Gaga pumped plenty of time and money into her Monster Ball tour that hits Boston next month.
Four million dollars, in fact, are said to be invested in the show, which includes outrageous outfits (duh) and a giant bathtub costing over $100,000.
But while Gaga is the very definition of over-the-top, she’s hardly an innovator when it comes to the knock-your-socks-off tour.
Last year, U2 took the concert experience to new heights with a stupefying 150-foot tower and a video screen that contracts and expands like a Chinese finger trap. In 2008, Madonna’s Sticky and Sweet tour featured digital consoles offering producers hundreds of video and voice effects, and Kanye West’s last tour included technological feats straight out of a sci-fi movie.
These days, record companies and artists have to rely on touring in ways they never have before. Tickets have to be priced higher, so shows themselves have to be mind- and ear-boggling spectacles. Mere jumbo screens are passe.
“Whereas in the past the model was selling discs with music on it, now the model is much more centered around the concert experience,” says Sam Gustin, a writer for DailyFinance.com.
Still — that’s not without its problems: Gaga’s tour is allegedly struggling to break even; ticket prices have increased, including those for shows at venues she’s already played.
The next frontier may be 3-D: “With the dramatic increase in prices,” Gustin says, “I think consumers have a right to demand more.”
So imagine, if you can, sitting at the top of a stadium, but flinching at a guitarist swinging his ax, or reaching to touch the hand of a singer who’s 200 feet away from you — that may be the concert of 2015.