Picture this: you are scrolling through social media to discover one of your favourite bands has announced that they are going on tour. You eagerly go to their page to see if there are any tour dates in your neck of the woods, only to be disappointed that none of the shows are closest to you within reasonable driving distance, or the closest dates are a nine-hour drive away.
If you’re like me, I prefer going to a concert that is more local so I don’t have to have a long commute. I’ve written about this countless times, and each time I have, my thoughts have evolved on the matter.
I haven’t been to a concert in over two years now because of the pandemic. When restrictions lifted a little, some concerts resumed, but the one thing I always noticed is the music industry struggled to thrive in this difficult time and many people I knew would hastily buy tickets for concerts, only for them to be cancelled or rescheduled more than once depending on the location and if there was another surge of cases.
I didn’t want to go through that frustration so I chose not to buy any tickets, except for one virtual show but that’s a different story. Now as concerts make a return once again and restrictions have lifted even more than ever in my country, I remain hopeful that I can go to a concert again this year, no matter how selective I am.
But once again, that means it’s back to the other level of disappointment when a band I like does not tour here.
Epica and Sabaton are going on tour, the latter having released a new album recently which I have yet to acquire. I was upset to discover that all the dates were in the US, sans Montreal, Quebec and the closest city I live to is Toronto. I love travelling, I do, but I’m very prone to experiencing anxiety when I do so by plane, train, car, bus, etc. as you may already know. Things make me anxious like will the airport/station be crowded, will we get there at a reasonable time, did I pack everything, will I have enough money after the trip for something else I need or want, and so on? Because of this, it’s much easier for me to go to a gig that’s more local so that my anxiety isn’t triggered by many unpredictable ever-changing outcomes.
This has always been a challenge for me so I prefer to pre-plan with money, time, and location before travelling anywhere for whatever purpose.
Many of my friends (and some online strangers too on band pages) fail to understand why I don’t just “live a little” by taking some risks, even if it means dropping everything to travel to another distant city or country and be bankrupt afterwards. Well, the term “live a little” I see from a different perspective. Living a little doesn’t have to be taking risks, it can be the exact opposite at one’s desirable comfort level without making it seem like the individual is unwilling to have fun at all.
I don’t particularly want to travel to Montreal to see those two bands. I mean, it’s not that I’m missing out too much because I’ve seen Epica once and Sabaton three times so it won’t break my heart to miss it. I also don’t particularly like Quebec. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it’s got lots of sightseeing opportunities and I’ve even been to the capital city back in 2014, but the people there have always been difficult for me, online and in person. For instance, one person from Montreal was trying to encourage on Epica’s Facebook page other people in my country to look at plane tickets if they really didn’t want to miss the show. I tried to explain to this person that not everyone can or wants to drop everything to fly or drive nine hours or more to Montreal due to time, money and other factors.
Of course, this person simply got defensive finding it absurd that I was too afraid to splurge or take a day off from work, calling me a workaholic, hell they even suggested I change jobs and that’s not the first time I’ve received that remark. No. I love my job, and I do get 2-3 days off a week since my shifts are twelve hours long. But, with only having that amount time to spare, I would prefer to use that time to focus on self-care and hobbies, or maybe a day event like a convention. If I want to travel anywhere for something longer than that, it would be ideal for me to have a little more time off if I can get it approved as vacation time. But no, I am definitely NOT a workaholic so that was unacceptable and arrogant.
I find it ridiculous that Sabaton didn’t get dates booked in more cities in my country, especially since they’ve just released a new album and have a pretty solid fanbase here. In the past they have always played in multiple Canadian cities. But who knows what the situation is with Epica.
On another note, I saw Rob Zombie advertise on social media that he was going on tour this summer with these other acts and I thought that hell I’d go to that in a heartbeat, just for him. But unfortunately, this was even worse than my last example, there were no Canadian dates at all. It was all US and travelling there is a big no thank you for me because that’s even further. Given how big Rob is, I was genuinely surprised there were no Canadian dates, not even Toronto and I’m not the first person to be disappointed. When I expressed that disappointment, some older guy told me that there were no Canadian dates because I quote:
Cause your leader is a cuck
The Prime Minister has NOTHING to do with this, just like Rob has nothing to do with this either, so for the love of Primus, don’t bring politics in this. I don’t particularly like my current Prime Minister but that’s all I will say.
Maybe there is still hope, maybe there will be a full Canada tour. I’ve been considering reaching out to local venues to see what they can do because I think it’s safe to say Rob is on my concert bucket list now! Some of my friends and some readers of this who have seen him live told me he puts on a great show and that I shouldn’t waste the opportunity if it is given. Well that depends on if there actually will be an opportunity in the near future.
I have to constantly remind myself that a band/artist has no say in when they tour and where. It’s handled by promoters and financiers who I think are biased and don’t appear to ask the musicians where they want to tour. But because that is all behind the scenes and there’s often no way to contact these people, we are very prone to venting our frustrations directly on the band’s social media pages as if it is their responsibility when it isn’t.
One of my views that I did try to share earlier is that there is some benefit to advocating up on social media for your favorite band to play in a particular city. As long as you are respectful but not angry that’s what matters right?
I remember one time Lordi did not play in Poland for a while. The fans there were loud and clear about it in many places and eventually, it paid off and they returned to that country.
Respectfully advocating is the least we can do, especially, if we cannot always travel to see the band.
Nevertheless, band promoters are just one of those types of people that I despise because too often they plan tours for bands I love and my country is frequently either left out completely or is only 1 – 3 cities and I have to hope and pray that Toronto or Hamilton is one of them, because sometimes it isn’t.
I get it, maybe there isn’t enough demand or it’s expensive. Like our customs are so strict and not to mention visas can be hard to obtain too. I wish it wasn’t so difficult and even though these parts of band management often make these decisions as to what generates the most income for the band, I wish they would think outside the box and pay attention to what the band may want. Maybe European bands do want to tour more countries abroad and maybe US-based ones would like to cover every nook and cranny of Canada as well and more often.
They should also hear what the fans are saying too in places outside the box of cities they normally choose. Yes there is a prime concern for how much money will it generate, but I remember when Lordi came to my neck of the woods in 2017, some of those shows were sold out. They even made extra cash with some limited-edition merchandise such as the hot sauce.
What was it that made Lordi finally come to the US and Canada in 2017? Were the promoters willing to think outside the box that one time, or was the fanbase loud enough in terms of social media usage and contacting booking agencies to make it happen? Or maybe the band members spoke up and said, we need to make this happen, we’ve obviously got fans over there and we want to play for them.
Unless they’re a band that genuinely does NOT want to tour my continent which is another story. I love Powerwolf but I lost some respect for them after learning that they themselves genuinely don’t want to tour here.
My country could use some more heavy metal bands from the US and Europe with tours culture and festivals, not just Montreal.