Elton John, 25 November, Dunedin

### ODT Online Sat, 19 Nov 2011
About the music: Q&A with Elton John
By Shane Gilchrist
” Last month, Elton John played his 3000th concert (at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas). Now he’s about to head to Dunedin for a concert that offers the statistically inclined musician the chance to add another entry to a long list. Shane Gilchrist asks the chart-topping, globe-trotting performer a few questions.
Read more

The show
Elton John and his band (Davey Johnstone, Nigel Olsson, Kim Bullard, Bob Birch and John Mahon) perform at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, on Friday, November 25. Rock cellists 2CELLOS (Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser) will also perform with the band, as will four backing singers. Hokitika singer-songwriter Katie Thompson will open the concert, which begins at 7.30pm.

Short Biography
Discography and achievements

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Concerts, Design, DVML, Events, Fun, Inspiration, People, Project management, Site, Stadiums

45 responses to “Elton John, 25 November, Dunedin

  1. I heard something very interesting today about this concert. And it happened to two individual people from the same workplace which is small.

    Both rung to get tickets to the concert tonight, both wanted two tickets. Both paid for four tickets via their credit cards without their consent, but they only wanted two and thought they were paying for two.
    When one of them rung and complained he was told that yes they had mucked up blaming a computer issue, BUT that they have a no refund policy. One of them has only just moved here from Canada and is fuming, the other older guy was busy trying to sell off the extra tickets he hadn’t bought and didn’t want but had been lumbered with.

    I have no doubt that they will indeed get refunded, in fact would be shocked if they don’t, but that would be one way to get a sellout concert….

  2. Hype O'Thermia

    I am not a lawyer but….
    That’s theft by keeping, I think – certainly it is illegal. If someone delivers an unwanted, parcel that you have not ordered e.g. packets of Christmas cards, to you along with an invoice, you are not obliged to pay or to send them back but must not use, sell or otherwise dispose of them. You are obliged to keep them for the owner to retrieve.
    The “accidental” sale of unwanted tickets PLUS taking money without permission is even worse, and claiming that they have a “policy” of not refunding is no excuse. Not refunding is fair when it was a good-faith transaction but the customer subsequently changed his mind.
    Not-refunding policies took a big hit in retail after the Warehouse started up with its no-hassles refund policy. I am not the only person who bought e.g. clothing I probably wouldn’t have otherwise, and people bought for family members because they could try garments on at home. Cheap tools and gadgets were worth a try and often turned out to be as good as more expensive ones. No-refund policy hurts businesses in the not-very-long term: customer avoidance sets in. Perhaps big concert organisers imagine they are exempt from this but anyone who has had to squeeze their budget to afford tickets only to find they have had their account double-dipped will be very wary next time and will not hesitate to warn everyone else within ear- or internet-shot.

  3. Anonymous

    That sounds like the old bank scam. You discover an extra charge of 10c or 50c added to your account and have to decide whether to waste 10 minutes of your time trying to get it refunded. The thing is they’ve ‘accidentally’ charged 10,000 or 100,000 customers. The small number who hassle the front line staff has nil impact on the perpetrators (maybe a manager’s report indicates complaints rose 2% that month). The banks have moved on from this practice and now do it legally through notification of change ads in newspapers – everyone informed but read by few. As a side note, I sometimes think supermarkets have picked up on this as there are a lot of ‘accidental’ price mistakes. In one higher end example I brought it to their attention too and watched as the team leader got that glazed look so common with customer services training. The price was not corrected and a dozen or so people get nailed for the price of one or two complaints. Or maybe this method of ticket sales is just something they used to do at QPR.

  4. Hype O'Thermia

    Perhaps what is needed is a loose association of retired or unwillingly-jobless people – smart people with some time on their hands for serving the community – to set up Facebook sites for people who have been scammed then after gathering as many reliable accounts of such incidents, pursue them through banking ombudsman, hassling Head Office of whatever supermarket chain, or whatever means wastes at least as much of their highly expensive time as their victims’. A customer doing it for himself can waste the time of several of their high-level desk jockeys plus their lawyer. The aim is to make it uneconomic, with associated bad publicity, thus leading to improvement in behaviour. It’s a lot like training dogs, without consequences behaviour modification is very very unlikely.

  5. Jennie Williams

    Just wanted to thank the organisers of the Elton John Concert for an absolutely awesome concert. Everything was perfect!! Elton John was his usual amazing self and the other entertainers were equally fantastic.
    Stadium performed to perfection – great seats no matter where you were sitting, plenty of toilets and facilities. Bring on the next concert…..
    Many Many thanks from an alltime fan!! Well Done Dunedin !!

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Sat, 26 Nov 2011
      Oh, what a knight!
      By Nigel Benson
      Sir Elton John rocked and rolled Dunedin last night, in a spectacular debut international music concert at the city’s Forsyth Barr Stadium. The 35,500 crowd was the largest seen in Otago for a concert. Octagon cafes and bars did a roaring trade in the build-up to the concert, as the central city swelled with out-of-town visitors. A steady stream of concert-goers thronged Anzac Ave in sunshine on their way to the stadium. Strong wind gusts continued throughout the night but they had little effect on concert preparations.
      Read more

      ODT Photos: The performance
      ODT Photos: The fans
      ODT Raw Video: Elton John at Forsyth Barr Stadium

      Known issues (described on the night by stadium staff and general public):
      Stadium bar – access, long cues
      Dunedin traffic management – major flaws, congestion
      Sound system – quality of concert performance hampered by poor sound delivery in various seating areas
      Stage – height of stage too low for easy viewing from some seating areas
      Internal access – thoroughfares across pitch blocked views of those in expensive seats
      Public toilets – access
      Viewing distance – between stage and seating areas, viewing diffculties, screen positioning

      • Elizabeth

        Like a stadium in the wind ?

        ### ODT Online Mon, 28 Nov 2011
        Concert reactions cover all extremes
        By Nigel Benson
        Bouquets and brickbats have followed from Friday night’s Elton John concert in Dunedin, with some people saying the sound quality was “superb” and “awesome” and others “horrible” and “disgusting”. Capital C: Concerts managing director Phil Sprey yesterday said the extreme weather conditions on the night did cause problems.
        Read more

  6. Anonymous

    “Octagon cafes and bars did a roaring trade in the build-up to the concert.”


    • Elizabeth

      What’s a white plastic picnic chair sitting on the turf (with no rake) worth – when circulation is cut off to the back of the legs after 30 mins, your view of the performance is blocked, and the sound environment is mostly abysmal ?
      I suggest not much at all. How many people didn’t ask tough questions before ticket purchase, if the form of available seating was knowable then ? What was the dollar value of the total number of tickets sold for the ‘turf area of disappointment’ ?
      Today, Dave Cannan in his ODT column ‘The Wash’ gets it pretty much right.
      Why push a rugby venue too far, is the predictable fallout worth it ? Blame it on the wind.

      • Elizabeth

        ### ch9.co.nz November 28, 2011 – 6:35pm
        Sir Elton John
        Elton John’s concert on Friday night was a landmark occasion, and a once in a lifetime opportunity for many to see their musical hero. Although Sir Elton was the first big act to play in the new stadium, he’s been promised not to be the last, with more international megastars heading our way.

  7. Phil

    Interesting to read the comments with regard to the sound. Concrete structures and a curved roof will always mean that sound quality and direction is very difficult to control. That’s the trade off for keeping dry. It’s also to be expected that those sitting on the pitch would have received a worse quality of sound than those in the stands. Maybe that should affect the pricing structure for musical events in the future. What interested me the most in the comments was that many people had trouble hearing speaking, but not nearly so much trouble hearing singing and music. Coming from the same person with the same microphone. Suggests to me a pre-recorded concert which the sound system was set up for ?

  8. Peter

    That would be hilarious, Phil, if Elton was indeed actually lip synching. Nothing would surprise me in the Age of Fake.

  9. Peter

    I’ve reliably heard that the sound for the Elton John concert in the Forsyth Barr corporate box was terrible. Not sure why Eion Edgar was so upbeat about the night on TV. Maybe he joined another box?
    Also, many in Deloitte’s are not fussed with their box. Apparently there is an overhang on the outside that obscures vision for the whole field. The box holders have to go out to a balcony to get clearer vision.
    Once the euphoria of the RWC and the EJ concert die down the ongoing and increasing costs on the ratepayers – and the design faults of the stadium – will undoubtedly grow larger in many peoples’ minds as they will be less prepared to forgive the stadium’s shortcomings.

  10. Mike

    I went through the DCC web-page-o-stadium-documents today looking for some information about the acoustical design of the stadium – I seem to remember someone (Farry? Davies?) raving about it – couldn’t find anything – there was an oblique reference to an acoustical study by a company called AES, but I think that was about the effect it was going to have on the neighbourhood (a friend who lives nearby complains EJ was a bit too loud)

    • Elizabeth

      You might’ve read the ODT’s Q&A in yesterday’s newspaper (page 2), ‘Stadium: tick ‘box’ for sound problems’. Reporter Debbie Porteous asked some questions of Colin Fox, Associate Professor of Physics at Otago University and specialist in building acoustics (for ten years he directed Auckland University’s Acoustic Research Centre which undertakes research in and commercial testing of building acoustics).

      “…he can see just by looking at it that no thought has gone into the acoustics of the venue” – Assoc Prof Fox defined the problems quite simply, they align with the acoustic principles I was taught by Prof Harold Marshall, his predecessor, in my BArch undergraduate years.

      I recommend the read.

      Yes Mike, the consultants provided just such a study in preparation for the Stadium Zone plan change. No building plans other than indicative bulk and location were necessary for the plan change. Whether Populus and Jasmax used an acoustic consultant I don’t know; have a feeling they did but to what level is a mystery – depends what the brief was.

  11. Hype O'Thermia

    There may be some relief for property owners. Sound from the EJ concert was, I believe, better outside than in many seats inside. Alternative venues on people’s properties could help with the rates. BYO, watch a video, eat what you want to eat, and listen to the artist – all at a fraction of the price of a ticket to the Fubar.
    Just like the Scotsman’s Grandstand of days gone by.

  12. Stu

    I have heard that the sound quality in Opoho was fantastic.

  13. Phil

    Sound is transferred through vibration, direct contact, and reflection. Vibration sound isn’t heard so much as felt and it will travel right around a structure which is completed coupled together. Which is why people can feel ill when they are at an indoor concert, yet fine when they are at an outdoor concert. Direct contact is obvious enough. If you have a straight line between yourself and a speaker, then you’ll have the least amount of sound distortion. If there are people sitting between you and the speakers, such as with the people sitting on the playing surface, then the sound that reaches you will be distorted and muted due to absorption and reflection from the bodies in front. Which explains why most of the complaints have come from people who were seated on the pitch or in the stand immediately behind those people. Reflected sound will bounce off any dense object, such as concrete or steel. When you have an irregular dense surface, such as a grandstand, the reflected sound will bounce in many different directions, meaning that a person can receive the same sound at different levels and from different directions. Creating a major distortion. This is, of course, compounded at the stadium by having a roof surface to further reflect bounced sound downwards.

    The pre concert sound checks are great, but they are working with a stable sterile object. Fill it with 30,000 people who have their own acoustic properties, and the conditions change completely. The focus is on getting sound out from the stage, but no allowance is made for the acoustic turbulance generated by, and from, the people in the stadium. One only had to listen to the racket from the stands during the RWC to see the effect that noise generated by people has.

    If you want a good guide as to how to build a structure for acoustics, we have the perfect example already in the city. The Town Hall was specifically built for passive acoustics. There is hardly a single sharp edge inside the concert hall, meaning minimal reflection. The horizontal cone shape strengthens and guides sound with clarity right to the back. They knew a thing or two back then.

    • Elizabeth

      And those points, Phil, were encompassed by the Acoustics Research Centre too, which at the time I studied was heavily involved in concert hall design to take different types of performance. However, those majestic contemporary performance spaces (national and international) didn’t include a rugby field.

      Assoc Prof Fox was asked if the stadium’s sound problems can be fixed. Having already explained “if people want good acoustics in a building, they need to get acoustics consultants in right at the design phase of the building…”, he replied “If you pour a lot of money into it [now] you could build an active sound system that could simulate a better [building] shape. They would have to be serious about putting a series of speakers all the way along the stands and around the stadium and control each one separately. But then that would raise other problems – for example, big stacks of speakers would block some people’s views. I couldn’t put a cost on it because the building is quite an unusual construction for sound and I doubt any acoustics people have had to deal with it before, but an acoustic consultant could work out what it needs.”

      When asked if it is worth doing that work, he said “Yes, if you want the music experience to be good. It’s got to be quite bad for people to complain about it. In my experience, once a place gets a bad name, it is very hard to get people to come back to it.”

    • Elizabeth

      Dalmore resident Sandra Stevenson said the noise was “like a gang of Harley-Davidsons roaring down the street” until the concert finished at midnight.

      ### ODT Online Thu, 23 Feb 2012
      Stadium noise to be monitored
      The Dunedin City Council will attend a sound check at Forsyth Barr Stadium today after complaints about noise levels reverberating from a concert on Tuesday night. Representatives of the council, Otago University Students’ Association and Dunedin Venue Management Ltd will attend the 3.30pm sound check after numerous complaints about noise levels from the opening Orientation concert. More than 2000 first-year students attended the “Orientadium” toga party to see DJ Dhalism, Bulletproof and Jessie G perform.
      Read more

  14. Peter

    Sooooo… maybe… for any future concerts the ticket price in any given area should reflect the expected sound quality and not closeness to the performer(s)! Cheap(er) ticket equals crap sound quality. Your choice.
    Better still go to Opoho where Stu reckons the sound quality was ‘fantastic’.

  15. Peter

    Also have now heard from an informant of people who bought $400 tickets and the sound was crap!

  16. Stu

    I’ve speculated previously that a possible solution for a large open concert venue in Dunedin would be a Hollywood Bowl amphitheatre style construction in the old quarry at NEV or similar terrain with a PTFE lightweight roof over the top. Bench style seating, relatively inexpensive to construct at 10K seated venue and acoustic design would be a doddle (many venues with similar characteristics solved previously)

  17. Phil

    Maybe people will learn over time not to follow the pricing structure that the venue operators have put in place for concerts. These have clearly been priced according to the best viewing positions (great for mime theatre) but not for the best listening positions. Presumably the venue operators (who seem to believe that they are doing everything right) will keep the same prices for the same locations in the future, which means that there can be some real seating bargains to be had at future singing events.

  18. Peter

    In New Plymouth they have a natural amphitheatre at the Bowl of Brooklands, attached to Pukekura Park.It is a wonderful venue that has held many top rate concerts including, I understand, Elton John. Cost? Occasional painting of seats (others just sit on the grassed hill) and stage maintenance and mowing the grass. I may add that Taranaki gets its fair share of rain! The locals are very proud of this venue.
    Why do we get things so complicated…and wrong?

  19. Phil

    It’s called doing it “the southern way”, Peter. Do try and keep up.

  20. Peter

    Duly admonished, Phil. Silly me.
    I remember dear Malcolm, the spokesman for ‘The Southern Way’, saying in a Channel 9 stadium debate back in 2007 that they had employed the ‘best experts’ in the whole of NZ to design the stadium. Presumably that included ‘expert’ advice on stuff like…. acoustics. (Funny how Mike can’t find any info on DCC/CST reports into this aspect of the stadium’s design.)
    Of course our super sleuths at the ODT and most of the councillors believed him and none of the local rags would dare challenge him now. It’s all just too hard and of course you need… balls. Just report the bare facts to cover yourself and maintain some outward show of credibility and let the likes of Farry and Davies continue to ruin our city with their far-fetched schemes to siphon off ratepayer money for the rugby entertainment industry.
    The day the local media zero in on DVML and CST incompetence, and wage a campaign to get rid of the culprits, will be the day I can respect them more. Neurosurgery was easy pickings to campaign on. Try something harder, media people.

  21. Peter

    Apparently the Ticketing staff had a terrible time when the ticket prices were dropped to offload the remaining tickets in order to achieve a ‘sell out’. Among these tickets were a fair proportion of $400 seats. Apparently people were trying to exchange $400 tickets for the $120 ones and when they were told this was not possible, the poor staff were at the receiving end of much abuse. The moral of the story is to try to ignore the ‘tickets selling fast’ talk and wait for the ticket prices to drop.
    The amount of bad will created by DVML just keeps growing. Don’t the assurances that the $1.5m EJ sound system, which would solve the problems that arose at the ODT’s concert, sound hollow now? It’s a wonder hoards of people haven’t asked for their money back. They will undoubtedly feel conned after the assurances given after the ODT concert.
    To think they headhunted David Davies, while taking into account his background in the UK as CEO of Queens Park Rangers. This says a lot about those who hired him and those who still support him.

    • Elizabeth

      ### Ch9.co.nz December 2, 2011 – 6:28pm
      Who would you like to see play at Forsyth Barr Stadium?
      It was a week ago today when Sir Elton John made history by becoming the first big name act to entertain 35,000 people in Forsyth Barr Stadium. As the visitor landscape to our city shifts into becoming an Event Destination, 9 Local News asked locals which major recording artists they’d like to see here in the future.

  22. Phil

    Any artist who is willing to pay the full market venue hire price will do fine.

    • Elizabeth

      No news is no news, DVML. Same applies, ODT.
      This item of no moment whatsoever is elevated to front page news when all it is, is a David Davies’ stream of consciousness, with reporter Chris Morris plugged in to gratefully receive – not unlike last night when Channel 9 trumpeted Dunedin as an “Event Destination”.
      ODT / Allied Press wanting to distract us from the DVML / ORFU / Highlanders debacle, surely not!

      ### ODT Online Sat, 3 Dec 2011
      DVML chasing headline performers
      By Chris Morris
      Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen and Radiohead are among top international acts emerging as possible music acts to follow Elton John’s sell-out show at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium. Dunedin Venues Management Ltd chief executive David Davies confirmed “at least three sets of discussions” with promoters had been held since the November 25 show, which attracted 35,500 fans. The aim was to secure top international acts capable of filling a stadium to follow in Sir Elton’s footsteps, Mr Davies said.
      Read more

      A little like the PR you do when there’s no large event to follow EJ and you’re hoping like hell something will fall out of the sky to save your arse, while you scrabble to find the dollars to make good the stadium after Farry’s ‘team’ took care of GMP exclusions. No-one’s fooled.

  23. Hype O'Thermia

    Other top international acts likely to grace the Fubar include Elvis ( http://www.webspawner.com/users/elviselvis/ and Proof: Elvis is Alive!! – Elvis Presley, the man, the myth, the legend … http://www.elvis-is-alive.com/ ). Oh yes, naysayers will scoff as usual but we know all about those people who post facts. They aren’t really interested in the truth, they just want the stadium to fail ;-)

  24. Anonymous

    The 12 page spread about the Forsyth Barr Stadium in the ODT on Monday should offer significant entertainment too. Farry’s Fanatics will be on standby to cover the ODT Online forum to fight for their rugby religion.

  25. Peter

    No doubt, Anonymous, we will hear about the best indoor stadium in the world and how everyone is looking at what we have done and how they are flocking here to copy us and before you know it the town will be booming because it all happens in Dunedin where no-one else has thought of building a stadium anywhere else in the world and….got to catch my breath….lo and behold the Second Coming of Jesus Christ at the new stadium is said to be at hand. Amen.

    • Elizabeth

      Be thankful ratepayers can afford the 12-page spread?
      (your blood and bile are yet to be extracted)

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Mon, 12 Dec 2011
        Elton pays his way
        By Hamish McNeilly
        Elton John’s Dunedin concert pumped more money into the Otago economy than individual Rugby World Cup matches, Paymark figures reveal. Figures released by the eftpos provider show during the weekend of the Elton John concert an extra $2 million was spent in the region, compared with the corresponding period the previous year.
        Read more

  26. Funny how ‘they’ all seen to have forgotten that this lemon was meant to be a multi event deal. Rugby, concerts and whatever else they could come up with. I even recall them saying about the sound had all been taken into account.
    As the blocking of those pesky drafts was too.

    We’ve been burgled by a bunch of tie wearers. Slam the pricks into the pen and asset strip them to pay for their sins and THEIR lemon.

    If a commoner like me did this sort of shit I’d be doing time.

  27. Russell Garbutt

    They hang the man, and flog the woman,
    That steals the goose from off the common;
    But let the greater villain loose,
    That steals the common from the goose

    While this derives from the 17th century from the enclosure and associated land grabs, perhaps we have a version today that could read:

    They rate the family and put them in debit
    To pay for a stadium built on credit
    While the Mafia pays no such fee
    Their rugby mates get off scot free

    A chocolate fish for any better versions!!!!

  28. Peter

    Russell Garbutt is our 21st century Robbie Burns. I propose an appropriate statue on the plaza outside the stadium, but made of something more solid.

  29. Anonymous

    “Elton John provided $14.9m boost” so says the Otago Daily Times with its usual enthusiasm for that damned rugby coliseum. Yet another fascinating insight by Hamish McNeilly, the same reporter who gave DVML free advertising in yesterday’s paper with the no-news about Lady Gaga. Reads like the ODT is dusting off its 2006 spirit for the stadium project to ensure readers get behind the pretty, pretty stadium, forget all about the 40 years of debt, extra $100M of interest, that errant $1M for Carisbrook and keep voting for pet poppet Cr Syd Brown.

    Retail, accommodation, and food and beverage: $14.9M (cough).
    Ratepayers: Nil.

    11 Feb – http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/197396/elton-john-provided-149m-boost
    10 Feb – http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/197238/rumours-go-gaga-whos-coming-dunedin-stadium

  30. Anonymous

    The more you read that feel-good story the less it seems to add up. What initially appears to be just a bit of fluff from or on behalf of DVML is actually quite tricksy. It’s a bit like that fertiliser ad repeating “if you knew there was something that worked… wouldn’t you want to know about it?” and then goes on to make no such claim about its own product.

  31. Calvin Oaten

    “$14.9m boost” There goes the old “Multiples Trick” again. Some-one should ask Hamish Saxton just what multiple he used for this one. If he can’t explain, then we should ask Peter Brown, he of the “multiple game” justifying the ‘Town Hall Conference Centre’ spend up.

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