Doors to remain closed for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony rehearsals


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That’s the sound of the door slamming shut to rehearsals for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2011 induction ceremony, a day after a pricey program went public that included admission to the warm-up sessions for the first time in the hall’s 25-year history.


The Gilt City website, which specializes in luxury services and experiences, posted an offer Wednesday in which members of the public could pay $3,500 for a ticket that included access to March 13 rehearsals as well as entree to a pre-ceremony cocktail party, dinner and the show itself March 14. The site also listed a $2,000 option without the rehearsal, just the cocktail party, dinner and the show.

On Thursday, however, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation’s board decided to rescind both offers.

“On further review, we really felt that even though this offer was for a limited amount of seats, admission to the rehearsal part of the event was going to end up being too invasive on the artists,” Foundation President and CEO Joel Peresman said Thursday.

“This isn’t like a normal tour stop,” Peresman said. “We really try to put together special things, unique collaborations and everybody felt that to have outside people coming in would be too invasive.”
Peresman said that 10 tickets had been allotted for the $3,500 package that would have included admission to rehearsals. The Gilt City site still carried the details of the program Thursday and indicated that both the $2,000 and $3,500 offers had sold out.

In an age when many musicians, managers and record companies are looking for new ways to generate revenue, Peresman noted that there ‘are some people that are [opposed to programs such as Gilt City’s] and some that aren’t. We decided to err on the side of caution and make things as comfortable as possible for all the artists.”

The manager for one of this year’s show participants said Thursday: “I’m glad they canceled it — that’s sort of overreaching. I think that’s a moment that should be shared by the award winners. It’s a great honor to get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and it’s something that they should be able to share with their peers and friends and relatives.”

In the early days, the hall’s induction ceremony was exclusive to those in attendance, and some artists objected when hall officials decided to allow highlights of the dinner and induction speeches to be recorded for subsequent broadcast. This year’s show will air March 20 on the Fuse cable channel.


“In the first eight or 10 years, they weren’t televised,” Peresman said. “Then they picked up and did things with MTV for a few years, then VH1, and now we’re in our third year with Fuse. It’s definitely become a broader event.”

This year’s performer inductees are the Alice Cooper Band, Neil Diamond, Tom Waits, Dr. John and Darlene Love. Leon Russell will receive the new musical excellence award, and Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman and Specialty Records owner Art Rupe will be inducted as non-performers. The ceremony will take place at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.


Rock Hall opens doors to ceremony rehearsals -- for a price

--Randy Lewis

Photos, from left: Alice Cooper (credit: Joel Ryan / Associated Press); Darlene Love (credit: Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times); Neil Diamond (credit: Lisa Poole/Associated Press).