Based on the number of concert announcements that were made over the last couple of weeks, you can tell that summer is right around the corner. Sure, here in the Northeast, we’re due to get one last round of snowfall before winter finally retreats for another year, but the scent of summer is still close. Hearing that bands like Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden, Kiss, and Motley Crue are gearing up for their summer tours makes me feel all warm inside. I’m giddy with the anticipation of a hot summer night and my favorite bands. This summer is shaping up to be a great one for concerts, as some exceptional bands are teaming up for double bills across the country. The only problem with all of these great shows is that no one can attend them all…unless they win the lottery.
I checked out some ticket prices for the upcoming shows this summer and I was shocked by what I saw. I mean, I get that a ticket isn’t going to cost $30, $40, or even $50 anymore, but some prices were astounding. Take Kiss with Def Leppard for instance. Here are two aging bands that have cashed in on their fans multiple times over, limping into retirement, and barely put on the live show that they did years ago. The asking price to sit in an actual seat at one of the outdoor venues this summer is $200. I find that ridiculous if not insulting. $200? And the lawn wasn’t much of a better deal at $50. Yes, it’s cheaper, but there’s a lot lacking on the lawn, not to mention a lot of drunks bumping into you and possibly vomiting where you need to walk. Yes, I love my hard partying, metal buddies.
Nine Inch Nails with Soundgarden isn’t a cheap show either. They are looking to get $100 for a seat and $40 for the lawn. Boston wants $100 and $70. Chicago with REO Speedwagon was looking for $125 but their lawn seats were a bargain at $20. And then there was the band that had me throw my hands up in despair. Journey is going on tour with the Steve Miller Band and they are expecting fans to shell out $225 for an actual seat. I have a feeling those shows will not be selling out.
Sure, you can call me a crusty old fan, a hostile curmudgeon, or someone stuck in a time warp, but I still believe that when tickets get over $100 for a seat, it’s ridiculous. The median income for a full time worker in America is $19 per hour. To see Kiss and sit in an actual seat, that fan would need to work more than 12 hours (don’t forget to subtract taxes taken out) to pay for that concert. Almost two days of work to see 3 hours of entertainment and the same tired set list. If any of these bands are wondering why their shows aren’t selling, they need only to look at their ticket prices. Face reality, gang. You’re performances are not worth the price you are charging. But what’s a head banging fan to do? He wants to see his favorite bands. She wants to have a rocking good time this summer.
Unfortunately, fans are forced to pick and choose which shows they can see. Using the above examples, I have to choose between Kiss and Def Leppard or Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden. Pick either my favorite band in all the land versus a band that I have never seen live (Soundgarden) but have always wanted to. It sucks that I have to choose at all, but unfortunately, like most hard working Americans, I am on a budget. And yes, I am making that choice for lawn seats. There’s no way I can afford the real seats.
What happened to the good old days of affordable tickets? In the 90s, I could see up to 12 shows a summer and spend less than the cost of 2 shows these days. It’s a shame the way bands just continue to rake their fans over the coals. And then they wonder why those same fans are stealing their music online. I mean, at the price they are asking for tickets, Def Leppard and Kiss could at least throw in their latest live and greatest hits albums respectively. Sweeten the deal, somehow!
In the end, I suppose it’s inevitable. If fans continue to pay the asking price, bands will continue to charge high. I know that no one is going to boycott a concert in protest of the ticket prices, but I still feel that most of these shows will not sell out. And maybe when these artists perform to a half empty house, they’ll get the message. Or maybe they’ll just count their money and move on.
What about you? Are you fed up with ticket prices? Have you had to cut out shows that you really want to see due to the high price of attendance? Drop a line in the comments and let us know.