Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Springsteen gets his location wrong, media has a field day? WTF???

You'd think all my years in the music business would make me immune to the stupidity of some of the media, wouldn't you?

Surprise. At times, they're the gift that keeps on giving.

I refer to the media flurry over Bruce Springsteen greeting his audience with the wrong location the other night. The man said, "Hello Ohio!" to a crowd in Michigan. Horror of horrors (!)

For those unfamiliar with unusual punctuation marks, the above exclamation point in parenthesis denotes sarcasm. (Handy little guy, isn't it?)

What the media either doesn't know--or what the media may know full well but may be choosing to ignore in order to create a "story"-- is this:

Shouting out the wrong location happens to nearly every performer. It's an occupational hazard that comes along with faced-paced tour schedules, jet lag, and concert venues that often look a hell of a lot alike and are sometimes even named identically. Shouting out the wrong location doesn't even mildly qualify for my Music Business Blunders column on MusicBizAdvice.com, simply because it happens to pretty much every touring musician at least once. It happens to comedians, too.

A little embarrassing? Yes. But "left shame-faced", as some of the media, including the Mirror, reported? Puh-lease. "Shame-faced" is what the media should feel for reporting such a thing. (Google "Bruce Springsteen wrong state" and see what comes up: over 71,000 results as I write this.)

Anyone who's ever worked backstage at an arena has seen the temporary signage posted by the crew of that night's artist. In the production office, the dressing rooms, on the walls of the hallway leading to the stage, pinned to the fabric of the quick-change tents at the side of the stage, and sometimes even taped to mirrors and telephones are reminders: "You are in Phoenix, Arizona." "This is Buffalo!" "Cleveland!!!"

You can't tell me the media has never seen them.

But for the artist, who's accustomed to being on the road and makes his home on it for weeks or months at a time, it's like anything else that becomes familiar: after a while, you just don't notice it.

There's no offense intended, either to the town in which the mistake occurs, or to the audience. It just happens.

I can't count the number of times backstage when a musician or crew member, in the middle of a conversation, has asked me, "This is [such and such city], right?" Or, accompanied by a nervous laugh, a sheepish, "Where are we?" Most of them were stone-cold sober at the time.

But here's the most important, and in my opinion, the coolest, thing: Many musicians never forget a face, and a lot of them even remember the name that goes with it...

especially a reporter who exaggerates a common occurrence for the sake of creating a story.

(Oh, and psssst! By the way, Reporter, the correct name of the venue, which you bungled in the midst of your railing on Bruce, is The Palace of Auburn Hills. I'm sure the good people of Michigan would like to see that corrected.)


Disclosure of Endorsements/Recommendations/Financial Compensation or Business Relationships per FTC Blog Disclosure Regulations in effect December 1, 2009: In the 90's I worked for a concert promotion company that presented many Bruce Springsteen shows. Additionally, MusicBizAdvice.com website (and by extension, this blog) sells Amazon products as an Amazon Associate.