The Rolling Stones are coming.
The original Bad Boys of Rock and Roll are headed back on the road, and they will be gracing my fair St. Louis with an appearance.
Good thing we still have that football stadium around.
I have no intention of going. The thought of having to sit in the upper, UPPER deck of a 71,000-seat echo chamber to catch a band that hit the scene before I was born gives me the shakes.
Now let’s be clear here: I like The Rolling Stones. I have a few albums and a box set with three concerts in it. They are all plenty cool. And if you want to go and see them, that’s your business. Enjoy yourself!
Even though I’m skipping the gig, I was curious about ticket prices. Those upper deck seats? They’ll run you about $84 a pop. And you’re not even in the same ZIP code with the band! I suppose with binoculars, the band would go from looking like ants to looking like grasshoppers.
If you want to get closer to the band — and we’re not even talking about the very front rows, which have already been bought up by media companies and corporations — a seat a stone’s throw away (sorry about that) will require you to plop down about $124 each, on average.
That’s assuming you’re not forced to go through a secondary ticket market (which you most likely will be). Then you’re looking at nosebleeds costing a minimum of $180 and closer running as much as $1,800. Each. (Don’t believe me? Check the Tickets on Sale web site.)
With all due respect to The Rolling Stones, I’m sure I can get a bigger bang for my musical buck elsewhere.
I hate nosebleed seats. So if I were to attend this show, I’m sure I’d be paying upwards of $150 for a ticket. For that price, I can catch at least five younger, (literally) hungrier bands in a much more intimate setting. And I’m likely to have a much better musical experience.
I suppose people who’ve never had a Rolling Stones experience would deem prices like these worthwhile. The latest King Crimson sold their tickets in a similar price range. For that and other reasons, I declined. I did jump at a chance to see both John McLaughlin and Jean-Luc Ponty in the last couple of years. They’ve been out there for decades, too. But I got to see them in smaller venues for more reasonable prices ($45 and $35, respectively). I have no regrets.
But I’m much happier putting my money in the hands of younger musicians playing tunes I’m not as familiar with while I stand just a few feet from the stage. Granted, standing gigs are a bit more of an endurance test, but they are usually worth the effort. And you are frequently offered an opportunity to interact with the band in the form of autographs and photos. Not always, mind you. But I’m quite certain your odds are a helluva lot better than meeting Mick Jagger at the merchandise table.
I can’t help but think some of these Stones fans are more willing to pay those high prices out of a sense of familiarity and the unwillingness to take a chance on something new. Somewhere, I read an article featuring a promoter being asked about giving the people what they want. “The people don’t know what they want,” he said rather curtly. “They want what they know.”
What a pity.
This also explains why fans of more popular bands get annoyed when said band tries to play new material in concert. A friend of mine told me that one day. “I hate when they do that!” You understand the band is on tour to promote their new album, right? “I don’t care! I paid to hear the hits!”
The music industry is in pretty dire straits. One reason why is the unwillingness of alleged music fans to take the occasional chance. I implore you to do so. Sure, I like feeling like my favorite bands are well-kept secrets. But I’d also like the musicians in those groups to not need a day job to survive.
The Rolling Stones are great. But wouldn’t you like to catch five gigs for the same money? I know I would. And I’m pretty sure Keith Richards won’t mind all that much.
With all due respect.
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