Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Concert Is When?!

Tickets to see Lady Gaga here in DC are on sale now (February). The concert is in ... November!

Tim McGraw/Faith Hill tickets have been on sale since around October 2016.  The concert is ... October 13, 2017!

This pattern is fairly typical and very different from our youth.

More differences: as recently as ten years ago, you went to a location to buy concert tickets. It was the box office at the venue or a Ticketmaster location or a Ticketmaster partner. I bought concert tickets at a department store a few times. Now I buy tickets at my desk at work or my coffee table at home.

Concert prices. OMG!  It seems like $20 - $30 dollars was a high ticket price just 15 to 20 years ago. Now the service charges can run that high. What's the most you've ever paid for a ticket?  I've paid close to $125 for three concerts in the past few years: U2, Coldplay and Dave Matthews.   These tickets were all purchased through standard vendors like Ticketmaster or Ticket Fly. Some people pay much higher prices through other entities that could really be considered scalpers.

What's the least you've ever paid? A LONG time ago (1975?) the Grateful Dead were playing Friday and Saturday night shows at a funky little New Orleans venue called A Warehouse. Tickets were a then exorbitant $10 each, which was way out of my price range. After their Saturday night show, they were ... are you ready for this ... busted down on Bourbon Street. They hastily arranged for a Sunday show to raise money for lawyer fees. I could afford that one because it was only $5.

Boomers can probably relate to this scenario. Festival or general admission ticketing was popular at one time. The first Willie Nelson concert I went to was a GA and I happily stood shoulder to shoulder with other fans for the whole two hours. Many outdoor venues feature a general admission lawn area behind the reserved seat sections. 'Pit' sections are growing in popularity; that's the section between the reserved seats and the stage, named after either the orchestra pit or the mosh pit.

The last time I had standing tickets was for a ZZ Top show about five years ago. I'll never do that again. Give me a reserved seat please. How about you?

I love live music but I hate crowds. I wonder if that's a boomer thing or just me. As recently as two years ago, I went to ten or fifteen concerts a year. Because I work for a country music radio station, I get free tickets to most country concerts. I think I only went to four shows last year, even though there were thirty or more in my area. Some of this comes down to convenience and some of it is because of some increased MS-related mobility issues.

This is on my mind today because tickets are on sale now for at least twenty shows I'd like to see this year. I'm carefully choosing which I'll actually attend. I'll go to at least two because they are work-related and I have to go. My best guess for the rest? Maybe two more.

What about you?  Any concert plans this year?  And how far in advance are you willing to buy the tickets? And what's your top price.

While you’re contemplating that, I think I'll channel surf to see if any live shows are available to watch from the best seats in town: my sofa.

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