Another good show in Atlanta last night.
As, unusually, Starless was to be the closing number, I climbed to the very back of the venue to capture the dramatic "red lighting moment" at the end. The very back of the balcony was only sparsely filled, but the sound and experience, even at the very back was astonishingly good (the venue has the feel of a Moorish castle with a starlit sky above). My enjoyment of the closing number from up in my eyrie was ruined, however, as I looked down at the front of the venue and noticed that half the seats in the pit area in front of the stage were empty. Enough to make my blood boil.
We started the Royal Package because prime front seating had become so contentious - and most venues now happily give us the exact seats we want in the first six or seven rows. We got what we needed at The Fox, but were still surprised to be told that many of the seats in the orchestra pit area were "unavailable". And looking down from above, I could clearly see (as you can in the photograph) that they had kept almost complete rows back - AND THEN NOT FILLED THEM! This serves no-one. It is bad for the band, as it is hardly inspiring to play to empty seats, and the front few rows are the only ones that they can see. I know it is as difficult for promoters as it is for musicians as live music creeps back into venues (I think we were for the first show back at the Fox) - but this practice doesn't even serve the promoter. We could easily have sold those seats, and everyone would have been better off.