Heck yeah we've all been riding the marketing machine! However, as pointed out too, the PA makes a big difference. We did the same thing when I was a student in recording engineering class learning how to mic up a drum set for the first time. The drums sounded much better in the control room than it did in the playing area. The guy playing them sounded alot better in the control room tooOpinions? Maybe we've all been taken for a ride by the marketing machine?
I still contend that anyone with the proper ability should be able to take any kit and make it sound good. Drums are not hand-made violins or brass or woodwind instruments. There's a distinction I draw the line at. And not to slight the hand-made steam-bent crowd, but there's not too much difference between those and mass-produced ply drums. But as Al points out, if the hardware is up to snuff, I'd trust it to survive on the road. But in reality this is unwise as 'the road' for musical instruments is made much harsher by weather conditions and sun and stage lighting, that's really what you buy when you get into pro-level stuff.
The problem with that is we all think we're gonna be in those situations. We all think we'll be the next Steve Gadd recording the next discerning jazz track with Chick Corea. We all think we'll be Neil Peart going from motorcycle to stage in front of 70,000 screaming fans. The reality, of course, is much different. I think I've made a career out of playing out once in a while on weekends in between all the other maverick work I do, and I've never found myself in a studio or playing to more than small church (mouse gig notwithstanding). But dang it, when I do - I'll be ready
Thank God I'm told what I need!