Recently, a coworker—who is a huge Bruce Springsteen fan—urged me to scratch the item off my bucket list and get tickets to see him perform live. I’ve already missed the chance to see Clarence play, so why not see the remaining members of the band before they too turn to dust?
So out of morbid curiosity, I decided to go look up tickets. The cheapest ticket I could find, in the sh*tty seat section, is $119 before fees ($149 after).
Allow me to say I know I’m not unique in complaining about ticket prices for concerts. When I saw my first show, it was 1991 at the Capital Centre (Maryland), it was Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and it cost something like twenty-five US dollars. And they were good seats. You can expect prices to rise with inflation, but this is ridiculous.
Similar to movie ticket prices, concert ticket prices have risen way out of proportion with the average rate of inflation. (Sporting event ticket prices too, for that matter.) The unfortunate thing is that this squeezes out the “average guy” who might want to go to an event, or go to events more often.
The price is galling, though. Why on earth should I pay $150 (remember the ticket fees!) to go to a concert with a bajillion other people, some of them drunk and belligerent, with a terrible view and gridlock on the way in and the way out? I’ve made the ritual pilgrimage to U2, but I have to be honest that the last time I went may have burned me out on that one for good as well. The Metro cars were so packed on the way back out that I had a panic attack and a girl almost puked on me because she couldn’t breathe. As great as the concert was, all I could think that whole time was how tired I was going to be for work in the morning and how much I didn’t want someone puking on me. I’m nearly forty and have a family, I should be past the days when I have to worry about a stranger puking on me. That’s an honor reserved for my children.
So Why Target Springsteen In Specific?
Honestly, because “The Boss” is a favorite punching bag of mine. Once he got past Tunnel of Love, he took on that quality of a “star” that rubs me the wrong way. He’s too self–aware to be a true artist. He knows how to make things that approximate art and can be accused of being art, but if you “know” it then you often try too hard and end up full of yourself. Actors do it all the time, too; they get full of themselves and act like their farts stopped stinking.
Adding to that is Springsteen’s embrace of the Occupy movement.
It’s not that I’m bothered that he supports the movement; at least not completely. (The Occupy movement is full of a bunch of ass hats who partake in chaos, rape and public urination.) But Bruuuuuuce came from a Northeastern working–class family, and I guess he feels that the movement is a reflection of that ethic somehow. It doesn’t matter if I agree or disagree with him about that part. There are plenty of artists and entertainers I think are complete dopes when it comes to those sorts of things.
What I can take umbrage with is that Springsteen, and so many other stars/rockers/actors/financial magnates like him, give a ton of lip service about “the poor” and “the average person” and then feed on them to support their own grandiose lifestyles without seeing the perverse irony, if not hypocrisy of their positions.
You know what, Mr. Springsteen? How about you don’t get paid for your performances on this tour? Haven’t you made enough money already, asking people like me to fork over $150 to see you perform from an extreme distance for the honor of saying I saw you before you died?
And don’t give me any crap about it not being practical. I saw David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar, two guys who arguably needed the money more than Springsteen did or does, tour on a double–bill for about $30 a few years ago. I had a nice seat, unobstructed view, and they played all the songs I wanted to hear either one of them perform live. Even accounting for inflation, that nice ticket would cost me about $50 or so now.
So why should I pay three times that amount (more if I want a good seat) to see Springsteen? Push comes to shove, I can wait for the BluRay of the tour and then watch it in the comfort of my home for substantially less than a ticket. All with zero chance of a stranger throwing up on me.
So in short, Bruce Springsteen can go screw himself for being a hypocritical jackass who takes advantage of those who make far less than he does, just like those he criticizes.