Sunday, July 10, 2011
Now I don't think Hank ever done it this way, but wow! I mean THAT's a stage. It dwarfed Vanderbilt's 'stadium' and the concert drew as many fans as the Vandy football team does in two seasons. Huge. Epic. And to be fair, U2 was up to the task. Bono, probably because it is verboten to call the Emperor, I mean Obama (yup, that's for you Frank) "naked", soft-pedalled the 8th grade political grandstanding and he and the band were tight and played the hits and some more and the show was fantastic.
So this show sold out in two or three hours back in October and to get a primo seat was $250 and to sit on the grass was 75$ and *boom*... all the seats are gone. But because of my incredible position of prominence within academic medicine I was given first dibs on tickets and I bought four at $250 and figured to double my money as I don't need to see U2, but I could sure use an easy grand right? I mean I'm paying cash up front and I got great seats and I figured that U2 in Music City was a no lose, lead-pipe cinch for some easy cash... certainly a better investment than anything on Wall Street... still with me?
Well, I did not know about the flaw. I should have figured something was amiss when I could not sell the tickets when I bought them for more than face value, but I held them for the frenzy around the show to drive the prices back up.
And to cut to the chase, on the day of the show, early, I found myself making a trip to Nashville to stand on the corner and sell tickets. I did sell them. I met some great Americans doing it, and I lost my ass. But, having discovered that getting pissed about things beyond my control is only fun if I have an audience, I decided that I would go ahead and see the show.
Now these are not the best seats in the house, and this is a terrible picture, but the giant, 360 degree HDTV screens above the stage made for every seat being a great seat. Even this one (it's the same picture as above only after sunset and with the strobes etc..) And the sound. Wow. Awesome show.
But there is one thing I am not telling you about these seats... They were free. And, as it turns out, the reason I could not sell my tickets for what I paid for them. Because these seats were in the parking deck overlooking the football field. The drinks at the Marriot were cheap, compared to the drinks inside the stadium. I would walk around the deck, watch the show for a bit, get a drink, a little bit to eat, and it cost me about thirty bucks (after losing my ass on the tickets). Turned a pile of shit into fertilizer. Nice. And then I took some more pictures.
These seats were free too... Closer to the stage, in fact, than the rear-most general admission seats (the $75 seats). Now you couldn't see the stage from here, but you could hear everything loud and clear and the high-def screen made it so you could count Bono's nose hairs.
So what? Well, in my wanderings around the parking deck checking in on the band and people watching I saw this, and yes, it's a terrible picture, but hell, it's a cell phone...
That's Vanderbilt Hospital. If you are dying and you can get there you will probably live. If you have any number of bizzare illnesses that would kill you if you lived in just just about any other country in the world you have hope if you can make it here. Their children's hospital is also world class. Vanderbilt Medical Center is in a league with Emory, UCLA, Harvard, and John's Hopkins. It is a Mecca.
But part of the deal used to be that, for the most part, if you were admitted to Vanderbilt or were seen in their ER you had to pay... something, at least, for the care delivered. You still do of course, if you have insurance or money or a job or a car or a house. But if you have none of these things, or only a few, or are in the country illegally you can STILL get in here and get access to the $250 dollar seats. And here is where you do it....
Now U2 isn't hurting and neither is Vanderbilt. U2 makes a ton of money because people will buy $250 dollar tickets AND because most stadiums will not allow the freebie seats. Vandy is not hurting because it simply overcharges people with insurance or money or assets to pay for those who don't. Why is your medical insurance so high? Because the west end of the end zone is wide open, and it's free. In NYC it's called three-card monty and you guys are all suckers.But the difference is, Vanderbilt Medical Center, like all hospitals in the country, can not close it's end zone. EMTALA. and all. The effect is to be punished for being excellent. It's going to be hard to watch our great institutions die, but I guess it is necessary to make things fair. *sigh*
Posted by 911DOC at Sunday, July 10, 2011