With All Due Respect …

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!”

Sigh …

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.

#cirdecsongs

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8 Comments

  1. I saw them play at Bobby Dodd Stadium @ GA Tech in ’15. I paid $150 for a set of tix that were nosebleed but they had a screen that you saw everything. I was a little put out because had I known that I would have gotten even cheaper seats. It was one of those bucket list deals but now it’s over and there’s no way I’d shell out the $$ to see them again. I enjoyed it when I went for sure, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In a few short weeks, I’ll be 50 years old. Thus, it’s somewhat embarrassing to admit that with bands like The Stones, I am an ageist. What do I mean by “bands like the Stones”? Those bands having a clear image (“bad boys”, in this case) and who continue to dress the part (leather pants) well into their seventies. Mind you, this is the only scenario where band members’ ages matter to me. Bands as disparate as Rush and Shriekback managed to create great music right to the end (in Shriekback’s case, they’re still active) and I think the fact that these bands don’t rely on an image or any other hype gives them the time and passion to continue putting their all into the music, and nothing else. Wish I’d discovered your blog much sooner, by the way — it’s the best music-based blog I’ve yet to find.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hear you, ticket prices for most “big acts” have become pretty outrageous.

    I went to see The Stones when they played in my backyard last summer. Even though I was in a “cheap” seat far away from the stage, it was a cool experience. They had ginormous monitors on stage, so I could even see them close-up – not such a pretty sight, btw!😀

    The only previous time I had seen The Stones was in 2006, so I figured it would probably be one of the last opportunities to see them again. While three would make a charm, I think I’m good now.

    There’s definitely something to be said about experiencing an artist in a small venue. For example, last year I saw Walter Trout at the Iridium in New York and it was excellent! In May, I’m going to see The Temptations at a midsize theatre venue. I also frequently enjoy seeing local tribute and cover bands at small local venues.

    Unfortunately, most of the big acts only play big venues. If I really want to see somebody, I won’t let venue size deter me. But given high prices even for cheaper seats, I’m becoming more selective.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I saw the Stones once. Back in 1969. And the concert was free. OK, I was half a mile from the stage but I was there for the occasion as much as the music. It wasn’t one of the Stones best gigs – it was shortly after Brian Jones dies and they hadn’t really recovered from that. It was worth it, though, because it was also the first public show by King Crimson. They were truly awesome and I wouldn’t have known about them if it wasn’t for Mick Jagger and his mates.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Aw man, don’t get me started on people who only want to hear the hits. I’ve seen some of the set lists from the Stones recent tours and it’s highly disappointing because so many of the tunes they chose to perform were redundant; the same crap you hear over and over again on an AM station.

    I totally agree with you about checking out new acts for cheaper prices. #1, they need our support; #2, you never know they could get big and you can say, “I saw them when they weren’t as known.”; and #3. It’s great to meet and talk to them. Whether they are just starting out, of indie status, or forgotten old timers, they’re the real deal!

    Liked by 1 person

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