Before I get to the nitty-gritty of the first Eden Sessions event on 2012, lets just cover the issue of the recent price drop for a limited time only on the Sessions tickets that haven’t sold out. Looking at it from a totally objective point of view Eden have done totally the right thing. The Sessions are a product and like any product it has to sell. If it doesn’t sell as well as hoped then you are faced with the tricky decision of whether to hold the value and risk losing out, or drop your asking price and sell the rest of your product at a reduced or no-profit rate. The reaction visible on The Eden Sessions Facebook page has been what most posts have been on their page for all announcements…..negative. It seems the patrons of The Sessions while having every right to vent their displeasure have kind of missed the point as to the price drop. I’m sure Eden didn’t want to drop the prices, but obviously faced with slow sales and in order to keep the event on rather than cancelling them did what they had to do. The guys stung with paying the higher prices are screaming bloody murder over being ripped off and being shown no loyalty, inevitably playing the ‘local’ card…please! Let me ask this, do you go into your local clothes retailer when that hoodie, T-Shirt or Dress you paid full price on is now 1/2 price? Do you scream at them for showing you, the full price paying customer a lack of respect, and loyalty for daring to drop the price of an item you paid the full price for??? Don’t think so, chances are you take it on the chin. Anyone who pays the full price for a product, be it gig ticket, item of clothing, food etc does so to do one thing….guarantee ownership or attendance. Sometimes it works in your favour and the time in question sells out and you have something others really desire and would be willing to pay way over the odds for (Just chcek the prices Blur tickets at Plymouth Pavilions are going for on eBay), but sometimes it doesn’t and you find yourself out-of-pocket. But to go so far as to organise a petition, or boycott future events is quite frankly a bit pathetic. We’ve all been stung in the past and we no doubt will again in the future.
On the flip side, Eden could have handled it a lot better, radio silence is a PR disaster and leaves the already unhappy customer to spiral wildly out of control. There will undoubtedly be knock on effects next year, I doubt the Inside Track scheme will be taken up by many, with people probably opting to take their chances later in the day in the hope prices will fall again. I think the problem in sales stems from a few factors. Eden have obviously enjoyed huge success in the past with the Sessions of previous years, mostly selling out on the day of going on sale or fairly soon after, which probably left them resting on their laurels in terms of pricing. It was bemoaned last year that the Brandon Flowers gig was £45.00 for a 45 minute set. The pricing structure needs work, making it more affordable for all but profitable for Eden as well. I think people underestimate what a massive undertaking putting on events of this size is. With astronomical artist rates making all sorts of tickets spiral out of control. Eden is also a logistical nightmare which adds to already high costs. Our location in the country also means that production crew and performers generally have to travel large distances to get to us down in Cornwall….again money, money, money. The Sessions have been overall a glorious addition to the local events calendar, and I for one always look forward to their announcements. Not all acts please everyone, but this year Blink 182 will come to play for us in Cornwall, honestly never in my wildest dreams did I think that would happen. So thanks Eden for organising these events, and lets hope everyone gets over their anger and enjoys the Sessions they attend this year.
So Saturday June 23rd marked the inaugural date in the Eden Sessions diary for 2012 (incidentally the 10th anniversary of The Sessions, surprised they’re not making a big thing of this), and a welcome return for Comedy at the sessions. Comic luminary Bill Bailey previously packed out Eden in 2008 before a woeful Al Murray looked to have signalled the end of funny men (or women) providing a bit of diversity. The task to put this right fell to one Tim Minchin…..and his rather large band. Capably supported by Canadian joker Craig Campbell and rather bizarrely, but also totally wonderfully Cornish folk darlings and official friends of Clean Slate (It’s true!) Kola.
Let’s get it out-of-the-way first and without further ado THE WEATHER! It was wet. In fact I can’t ever recall ever being wetter. The rain started early and really set in, actually getting heavier during Tim’s set than before. Looking backwards to where the spotlight originated showed just how heavy the rain was. This didn’t stop the near capacity crowd (I guess the price drop worked!!!) from turning out, determined to have a great time.
Up first and being rather apologetic for obviously not being funny Kola really did get a soggy crowd going for the night. They were incredibly well received, and personally it was a wonderful moment to see a band that so richly deserves their time in the spotlight getting much warranted attention.
The sizeable crowd really got behind the band during their set which included tracks such as ‘Shine A Light’, ‘Ruins‘, the brilliant ‘Godspeed’ complete with a rather personal introduction by lead singer Ryan Jones, ‘Driver For The Queen’ and my new favourite tune ‘Good Souls’.
Never before have I been so envious of anyone carrying an AAA as I was tonight, with the vast backstage area the Eden stage provides offering much-needed shelter.
Next up was Craig Campbell, a Canadian comic, who now apparently resides in Devon. I’ll admit I knew nothing about Campbell pre-show, but with comedians that sometimes is an advantage, as unlike music where familiarity with material will always enhance a gig as you can sing-a-long, knowing the jokes a comedian is going to deliver kind of ruins it a bit.
It was kind of distracting being in the pit taking pictures of Campbell as I couldn’t stop laughing. From the start he clearly understood his audience and had them in his pocket straight away. Funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time, his set was well paced and it was impressive that he didn’t appear to take a breath.
Craig hosts a monthly comedy night in Tiverton, so anyone wanting to see him again I’d suggest booking tickets here: http://www.comedyhall.co.uk/
Before Tim Minchin took that stage there was a rather great band called Saturday Sun playing on the Stage Right stage. Now considering I was soaked to the bone by then, standing out in the rain to see them was no problem whatsoever. I wanted to catch them as they are playing B-Side @ Bunters this Friday with locals The Sum Of. I was highly impressed with their noise, and they showed great resolve playing in such bad conditions as the small stage they were on didn’t offer any kind of cover that the main stage afforded.
Like Craig before, I was totally unfamiliar with Tim Minchin’s material. Aside from watching him on shows like Nevermind The Buzzcocks, I was totally in the dark. Tim arrived on stage his trademark Robert Smith gone ginger look sporting a fine pair of wellies, which he proceeded to kick them off immediately and strolling round the stage having a bit of banter before settling behind his piano.
Now some would probably think this a bit retarded, but I was surprised that Tim’s act was almost all musical numbers. The reason for this surprise (aside from being a total newbie to the world of Minchin) was that I found his stand up bits in-between songs much more entertaining than the songs themselves. His cutting observations and inventive use of language mixed with his infectious voice were great and I could have listened to his witticisms all night without a single chord being tickled on the ivories.
There were however some great musical moments, I laughed my ass off to songs like ‘Cheese’ and ’Prejudice’, but I found my attention wandering in parts (maybe down to my growing concern that I was going to drown). The audience were absolutely loving it, and that Eden trademark roar that echoes all over the former clay pit was on display throughout the night.
A fantastic start to this year’s Sessions, with great acts to follow including the incredible line up for the Folk Session this should be another cracking year despite the moaners. Let’s just hope the weather holds off for the rest of them, or next time I’m bringing a canoe to get home in….
To book tickets for future sessions at the cheaper rate head to the following link before Saturday 30th June: http://www.edenproject.com/sessions/buy-tickets/index.php