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My Big Political Statement Regarding Ticket Prices

Tonight, Motley Crue and Poison are playing in Cincinnati, about an hour from my house. I am not attending.

This may shock some of you. I was on the fence about the show for many months and not so long ago I decided I wouldn't go as a means of protest. The ticket prices are high and I've seen Motley and Poison many times before. I decided that I could continually keep writing about high ticket prices, then just pay up... or I could complain about ticket prices and protest with my wallet. I know not buying a ticket for me and my husband isn't going to rock the concert industry or hurt the bottom lines of either Motley or Poison. But that's not the point. The point is that I am now forcing myself to be more self-aware of the cost -- and every show I'm intentionally skipping will mean just that much more in the long run.

If more people voted with their wallets, the price of concert tickets would come down. A product is only worth what the market will pay. If everyone starts refusing to plunk down a hundred bucks a ticket, guess what: suddenly we're seeing shows for $50. In addition to skipping Motley/Poison, I'm also intentionally skipping Def Leppard/Heart. I work a lot and I'm just sick of being fleeced of my very hard earned cash -- especially when the set lists never change and the bands don't even seem to care about putting out a fresh show.




Reader Comments (30)

I'm with you on this issue. I DID attend this show a few weeks ago at the Hollywood Bowl.I wanted to see the New York Dolls at a larger venue than the usual clubs I've seen them in. I wasn't for one second going to pay $70 to see Motley. (I saw their 1st club show ever, so this is nothing new to me.) Were it not for the website offering very good center of the venue seats for $35, I wouldn't have bothered going. Ticket prices need to come down, And they need to do it now! The record industry has already been almost killed by downloading, How long will it be before the live concert industry is killed off by the greed of too high ticket prices & the virtual rape of "convenience charges" being tacked on, that add up to $20 to the price of a ticket? When I was a kid, I'd see KISS & Aerosmith concerts & the tickets were between $6 & $12 a piece.
June 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAce Steele
A-friggin'-men!! I'll be sticking to tribute acts in small clubs for quite a while. The set-lists are, sometimes, a little bit different, the bands seem to be REALLY having fun and the ticket prices are affordable.

I refuse to pay more and more for more of the same. Particularly when it's "more of the same" b/c the bands are only getting together for the payday they get from these ticket prices.
June 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSean
Well...Poison and Motley are coming to my little town of Frederick Maryland this summer. NOT Baltimore or DC...but little ole Frederick for the Outlaw Jam. I could not back down from the high prices. Luckily, the Moose Club is right across the road from where the concert is taking place, which is in the Fair Grounds. The $ 1.25 beers in the Moose will definately be a great tailgating location and a short walk across the road gets us to the show. I am still in shock that this tour is actually coming to my small town. With that being said, I would not have gone to this gig either, and I agree that the prices of shows are way too high.
Just like the NFL or any pro sport, we are the ones that let it continue. If you dont pay the prices, someone else will pay. The bottom line is that YOU will not get to enjoy the game or the concert of your favorite band. Believe me...I for one know that money is tight now. (example: I'd love to go on the monsters of rock cruise with KIX....but cannot.)
But, putting that big cruise aside, I figure this is what I work for. To be entertained once in a while. Going to ROK, M3, other fun shows like the upcoming PoisonCrue show. If I boycott, I am just hurting myself..who knows when these bands will hang it up.
June 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrian L
Def Leppard played in Raleigh last Friday Night. The venue is less than 30 miles from my house, but I rarely go to shows there because the prices are so high. I saw Leppard there April 18th, 2003, fourth row, center and the tickets cost $50 plus a $5.65 service charge. (I still have the ticket.) It rained that night and they were giving all of the people on the lawn free upgrades to covered seating. Yes there were that many unsold seats available. Last Friday I heard there were still tickets available and did a search thru Live Nation/Ticketmaster. You can pick your seats now and I could see that less than half the venue was sold out and I could get tickets as close as the eighth row. When I clicked on the seats in the center section and saw they were over a $100 a piece, I decided I was not going. I don't see how bands can keep playing to half empty venues. If they drop their prices I believe they would sell mores seats and may even come out ahead. A lot of bands should look at smaller venues with lower overhead and a more reasonable ticket price. I go to way more club and theater shows than sheds and arenas.
June 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid B
I hate to say this but I guess I have to. What is it with people and spending money on music? Is music that invaluable?

Let's take a second and evaluate the situation from a mathmatical stand point. This tour is coming to my area and I know for a fact that the venue has all union employees working the backstaging area. They make a good living working at these shows but not anymore than anyone of equal skills at any other type of job. Now what about the people that stock the food and beer? The people that sell the food and beer to you. The people that actually work for the band like the roadies? The booking agent takes his cut as does the concert promoter. What about the price of electricity and the water to run the toilets? How about the cost of feeding the band and their employees? You think the price of gas is high... what about the cost of diesel for the buses? The tractor trailers that bring the staging and the other specialized equipment for the tour? All of these things cost money. How about the cost of Tommy Lee's new roller coaster drum kit? Someone had to design the rigging that makes it possible. Someone had to fabricate the parts to make it an actual physical object. How much did Motley pay for all of that?

Now let's look at the old addage of when these bands toured in 1988. I got to see them for $10 and now ticket prices are $100!!! What a rip off... Ok, let's look at this in 1971 you could have bought a Mustand Mach 1 all the bells and whistles for less than $6000. Wanna guess the price of a brand new Mustang today? How about the fact that when you bought that Mustang in 1971 gas was less than $1 a gallon. Everything goes up in price and everyone involved needs to get paid. Everyone acts like the bands are walking away with millions of dollars a night and they don't deserve what they make. They don't make millions and they do deserve to be paid.

How about the fact that they play the same set list every tour? Well let's see a band makes a cd and either nobody buys it or they steal the music. Then they bitch that the songs aren't as good as the classic songs. So where's the win for the band? You want to hear the classic hits and the only reason they are hits is because you heard them everyday during your youth on either the radio or Mtv. People don't give music a chance anymore they listen once and have an instant opinion on the song and since we have the internet and can listen to it once without buying it and we make the decision of good or bad right then and there. The music never gets the chance to become anything other than the crappy new tune from your favorite band.

Let's look at the effect of the internet on the concerts. When we didn't have the internet. We would have had to have gone to see the band to know the Tommy Lee's roller coaster existed or we would have bought Metal Edge and seen a picture of it and had the desire to see it up close and personal for ourselves. Today we can go to You Tube and see it for free and we no longer have that wow factor. Somebody already took video of the drum solo on the roller coaster and we now could care less. Bands try and make things exciting and fresh but you really either don't care about the new music or you already know what your going to get... so why go?

Is ticketmaster making a killing at ticket fees? Yes but we can't change that. You can boycott all the concerts that you want but you know what will happen. The band will make less because ticketmaster doesn't care if you buy a ticket or if you don't because the next Lady Gaga will be here soon and they will make the money off of the new act. The venue just won't book a show that they feel won't make money so who hurts. The bands hurt they end up playing smaller venues until theu just say screw it and don't tour anymore.
June 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlonghairedrocker
I have been protesting financially for quite a few years, not just with concert tickets but also clothing, shoes and even food. Food more so lately than any other time. This is the only thing that will work if the masses would sign on to do it.As far as concerts go I will not be seeing Def Leppard this summer and probably never will again after the horrible vocal effort by Joe Elliot a couple years ago here in Nashville, big money for those tickets. Same for the Crue, probably never again. With that said, I did spend a bit more money than I would have liked to get Journey, Foreigner and Night Ranger tickets as my wife really wanted to see these bands since she has never seen them. But, for the money I shelled out I'm seeing three bands that sound stellar in concert and two of these bands have new music out and their setlists should be a little deeper than the norm. I'm also seeing Styx/Yes, Steely Dan and ZZ Top this summer at a new, small outdoor venue here in Nashville. All three of these shows are under $30 (general admission). 3 shows for the price of 1 Def Lep ticket, sorry I'm done with that shit!
June 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris D.
Long Hair makes a very valid point, usually now days I take into consideration of how the band will perform for the money spent. Sure, any band can have an off night due to illness, fatigue or whatever but bands known to sound horrible on a continual basis. I can't justify spending $70-$100 knowing I'm going to walk out of that show saying "man he/they sounded like shit. I will probably buy the 3 disc live cd from Def Lep at Wal-mart for $11.88, at least I know it will sound pretty good due to some tweaks in the studio.
June 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris D.
I nominate longhairedrocker for post of the year! Very well said my man.
June 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGary
I'd of waited for that political statement until the next concert. Now your gonna miss Bret Michaels and Nikki Sixx strutting on stage on the same night. You'll never see that again!
June 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNancy
Gary..I agree..LONGHAIREDROCKER NAILED IT ON EVERY ASPECT!!!!! have agreed more...on a cool note.I just bought Cinderella w MASS tix in Hampton Beach NH for 26 bucks and Whitesnake for 23 bucks!! and its a 2000 general admission venue!
June 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjimbo
Great idea! no more paying for $100 + concert tickets!
I believe this is because there seems to be fewer shows going on so to make up the short fall ticketbastard is making everyone pay! and artists that are seasoned and have made a crap load of money off their fans over the years should do something to help out. The economy is still in the toilet and who has a tone of disposable income anymore?
June 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlooksthatkill
I have nothing to add after reading longhairedrocker's statement. His approach to this issue are very on par with my thoughts.
June 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSpence
I will join the chorus of those heaping praise on longhair's points. My big problem with concerts is that they the unabashed screwing they do to their customers. I cannot think of another industry that takes such pleasure in gouging their clientele and seemingly enjoy rubbing in our faces.let's say you want to buy two tickets to concert X. you go online and the tix are $30 a piece. you add them to your cart and your $60 total is now $85. The puzzling part is that there are usually 2 different "service charges" on there. I don't know about you but every other company I deal with usually gives a discount for doing business online. Oh well.
So let's say that you refuse to pay that service fee and tomorrow you will be by that venue so you will just pay for them at the box office. You go to said box office and the $60 tix are now $70 because Live Nation charges $5 per tix for the privilege of you to buy said ticket. When patrons are confronted with that bizarre bit of business, what are they going to do? They already paid for the sitter plus the $10 for valet so may as well pay that extra FU fee. That also does not include when the $30 ticket you saw online is now $35 and they have just not "updated" the website yet. I am convinced that is the reason that ticket windows have the bulletproof glass. Not for deterrence of thieves but to stop irate customers from coming across the counter out of frustration.
I try my best to not and deal with Live Nation or Ticketmaster but that is like saying that you have a computer and will not use Apple or Windows products.
My selection of shows have gone down and for me it is because I am tired of feeling screwed. I can handle the $10 beer and the $35 shirt. But charging me extra just because you think you can is my final straw.
June 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterscott whitt
For me, it's just a matter of how I spend my entertainment money. There are a gazillion options around to spend entertainment $ on, and I choose live music. There isn't much out there that beats a big-ass rock show. It's more than just the music, it's the whole experience & the energy that you get from being in the show. I've seen well over a hundred shows now and there is still nothing like that moment when the house lights drop and the crowd erupts. There is also nothing quite like a power chord blasting through the air, so heavy that you can almost see it, or a full crowd sing-along to one of your favorite songs. Or even just the moments sitting in your seat with a beer waiting for the band to get on stage.

Like most of you, I'm not particularly happy at how expensive the shows are getting, but at the end of the day, I'm happy to spend the money.
June 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBryon
Very pertinent topic. I will play devil's advocate here: I greatly respect Allyson's stance - protest is important, and always will be. Although I am taking the same stance as her (Crue/Poison show is next week in south FL), it is not entirely for 'political' reasons, but also practical ones. The $$ isn't there right now, and the $ spent for one night's show would come close to covering my entire 4th of July weekend of fun. Or to put it another way, the Crue/Poison tix are $113 + gratuitious service charges. The final product is nearly $140 PER TICKET. Unconscionable... Particularly when you keep in mind that I paid a reasonable $150 for my M3 ticket (eBay), and I had great seats towards the front of the pavilion for 18 bands over two days! Now putting all hypocrisy aside, if funds were better, I would certainly have little problem ponying up the $$ for this tour. But as I've seen both bands numerous times over the past 20+ years, I can "afford" to sit this one out. Reluctantly, to be sure, but that's how it goes sometimes...

Now, as a businessman, I certainly see long haired rocker's POV. There are a lot of people, many behind the scenes, whose livelihood is dependant upon a particular band's tour. They are affected as well. And I completely agree that the so-called "convenience" charges (talk about an oxymoron!) are completely out of hand. Some of these charges are tantamount to racketeering, in my not so humble opinion.

So what's the solution? I don't have one. As I said, I can see both sides here. It certainly was a tough call to skip this show for me, but financially, it was the best decision at this time.

As usual, Allyson, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, and sparking an interesting debate.
June 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGator
Iam just glad their together or it would have been 2 concerts i have to bitch about the cost
June 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertommydahl
I've been saying this for years!! I totally understand the economics of this, but the downside for me is I pick and choose alot more carefully of what shows I will see vs what ones I won't based on a limited amount of money I will pay for an event. In the end, where I use to see upwards of 25+ shows a year, it's now down to maybe 10 as I'm not as willing to spend $100+ for a show anymore. Sad.....
June 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGunntherd
Glad to see we have so many like-minded folks when it comes to this. I did the exact same thing and to your point on the bands trotting out the same old set lists that adds insult to injury. Instead of dropping tons of cash for these type of gigs I've been catching a band like Vains of Jenna who are carrying the torch for the genre we love. Or catch the hair bands doing the club circuit. Bands like LA Guns and Ratt have been playing smaller more intimate gigs in recent years and seeing them in that type of setting is so worthwhile.
June 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHair Metal Hero
Longhair makes many great points in one of the best commentaries on here ever, if not the best! But I must say people will still want to listen to a new song from an old band if it's on par or even in the general ballpark with their older stuff -- Case in point: "Saints Of Los Angeles".

And people will want to hear songs beyond the usual "hits", too. Longhair, as wise as he is, and the bands, who are so sure they know what their fans want, don't realize most of the people who are willing to shell out the big bux to see them pretty much know most of their material and would love to hear a blast or two from the past like Poison doin' "Cry Tough" or Crüe doin' "Public Enemy No. 1" or sumthin'.

As far as payin', yep, Longhair's right -- the price of everything has gone up so you might as well just go ahead and pay rather than fight City Hall and miss an incredible show.

If it means I will have pay out the wazoo to see 'em up close, point blank than that's what I'll have to do. It ain't ideal but I will see my faves live and in the moment, which, when it comes right down to it, is almost priceless. I mean, how much longer are the two bands gonna be playin', especially together? Maybe never!

Get it while it's HOT!!!
June 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
The point about the same old set list is an interesting one on this show. If what Motley says is true, the FANS picked the setlist this tour. This tour's list was more like it was choosen by people that only knew the MTV hits ("Smokin In the Boys Room"..C'mon!!) Of course you would think the FANS would pick a setlist more like the Carnival of Sins tour, which had way more old school stuff (like Starry Eyes and On With the Show) which would have made sense this time since they scrapped the idea of doing TFFL start to finish.I know it would be WAY too much to get the re-mastered bonus tracks too, I won't push it, LOL. Ah to hear their cover the Raspberries "Tonight" again live. You see, I was at that first ever show too, right along side my brutha from anutha mutha, Ace! And like he said, the best part of this show was seeing the DoLLS in a big place!!
June 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbritt harlow

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