Thursday, February 2, 2023

Too Old To Rock And Roll, Or Just Too Poor



There were nine of us on the thread, all buddies from Sheepshead Bay from as far back as the early 70's. Angel, the heavy metal glamsters with the infamous Punky Meadows on guitar are scheduled to play the day after my birthday in March. Along with Punky is original lead vocalist Frank DiMino, who apparently still sounds the way he did when we all saw them at The Palladium in 1978. So, "who wants to go?"

I think the majority of us on this text knew exactly what this night would be; an excuse to get together, and oh look, Angel is playing, too. Logistics and a "procedure" excused a few. But we managed five affirmatives, which is the good news. But what I am still thinking about are the declines. Those who said no said so because they are "too old for this shit." That bothers me. 

It's hard to ignore the recent passing of so many of our rock heroes. Since 2015, the roster of giants we lost is the size of a Vermont phone book. And I am not in denial. I am aware of the new twinges and muscle aches that I don't recall having two years ago, along with a few other "things" best left for the professionals. But if I am walking and breathing and have two moderately working ears, I am all in for whatever is out there--music, dancing, dining---sign me up, especially if I am accompanied by people I love. You'll have to take me out on a stretcher before I stop participating in all the great things in life.

Last night was opening night of the E Street Band tour. Whenever I think about it, I get angry. Then, it saddens me. I was checking the set list as it was unfolding live. I was lying on the couch in the dark, watching "The Drowning Pool" with Paul Newman, refreshing the set list page. I won't spoil it for you fat cats out there, who might be attending multiple nights, but it is a killer set list. I don't know why I was torturing myself. I was really enjoying "The Drowning Pool." It takes place in New Orleans. There was a brief Tommy McLain sighting. But, I needed to know what I would be missing. Then it hit me. I'm not "too old for this shit." I'm too poor.

I was also scrolling through Instagram and noticed friends, and friends of friends "pre-gaming" in Tampa. I have friends who booked a weekend in Orlando for that show, which actually costs less than a pair of tickets for Bruce in NYC. Jealous? Yes, of course. Happy for them? I guess. But as I watched the set list unfold in real time, I kept thinking, "I should be there. I've paid my dues, damnit!" But alas, even tickets through my "connection" will cost a cool $900 a pair, face value!

Maybe I'm not too old for "this shit." I think I'm too old for "that shit." All of those Bowie ticket stubs in that photo cost a total of $800. I wish I had 900 disposable bucks, as an experiment. I wonder if I'd be able to just hand it over without any pangs of guilt to my Bruce "in" for that pair of house seats. Or, would I hang onto it like Jack Benny, refusing to let go because maybe, I wouldn't be able to justify the unreasonable cost, even if he did do "E Street Shuffle," "Kitty's Back" and "Rosalita."


steve simels said...

I know the feeling, pal.

David Handelman said...

I'm with you. I'll wait for the HBO special. Better seats anyway. And yes, killer set list.

Cleveland Jeff said...

I saw Springsteen once in 1973, and he did all three of those songs, and the show was great. It was at the John Carrol Field House (a not all that large basketball venue with bleachers). Bruce was the only guitarist, and Vinnie Lopez on drums. I think it was three dollars.

Troy said...

I was working on a response to encourage you to keep trying to find more available tickets like we did in the midwest. But then I looked at ticket prices for east coast shows (NY, Bos, Philly) and see what you mean. Maybe plan a trip to a lovely midwestern city and catch a show there?

Anonymous said...

$900 is hard to swallow, even when you love the artist. Regular fans aren't going to a show like that. The hockey arena will be filled with people who talk through the songs they don't know while checking their phones constantly.

It's tough. People need to get paid for what they do, and Bruce and the band certainly give their all. But I'm not sure any show is worth that much money. I bridled at the $179 I paid for a ticket to see Costello and the Imposters later this month. Guess that's pretty reasonable in comparison.


M_Sharp said...

I hope I’m never too old for “this shit”, but I have no patience or money for “that shit”. $900 for a pair looks like a bargain, compared to the Philly show. It’s way too late to get anything through the arena, so the only tix available are through the authorized scalping on Ticketmaster Resale. A pair in the upper deck as far from the stage as possible are $1200, and the seats I had along the side at center ice for the “Darkness” tour are now $1227 EACH.

I have no idea what the original prices were, but I doubt that I’d be able to enjoy the show even if I paid as “little” as $300 for a good seat. Yeah, I know, prices go up, and I always like to see the band make money, and they probably don’t make a dime off the authorized scalping, but this is ridiculous. I’ll stick with the smaller venues where I can get a good look at the band without a giant video screen above the stage, and don't have to cut back on everything else to buy a ticket, thanks.

softshoebanana said...

Too old for Angel....fuck me sideways....slap em' slap em' & slap em' again until they come to their fuckin' senses.

Anonymous said...

First time I saw Led Zeppelin in St. Louis in 1973 cost me $6, the second time in '75, $8.50 (25th row floor).

I have a framed display of all of my important concert ticket stubs just like your display of Bowie stubs - at the very center is my very first concert I went to in November 1968 at the Shrine Mosque in Springfield, MO (my hometown), for Paul Revere & The Raiders - $5.

I'll never forget that night. I was 10-years-old. The start of everything.


Michael Giltz said...

High ticket prices are the reason I didn't see Springsteen On Broadway. I can't bring myself to watch the TV special. I wanted to be there. Sometimes paying a lot is worth it. I forked over, what, $200 or some crazy price to see Simon & Garfunkel at Madison Square Garden and it was def the right decision. I could pay for the tickets without selling a kidney and they were there for the right reasons and still in good voice and I treasure the memory. But 99% of the time, massive ticket prices aren't worth it for big acts especially in big venues. I'm seeing the Mavericks in ATL general admission for $50. For one of the best live acts around? A million great smaller acts are out there. Hell, even the Beacon is too pricey for me now. Just enjoy the acts you can afford and enjoy. And don't waste energy being pissed at people who have second homes and third cars and fly down for the weekend just to see a show at $900 a pop. Only be jealous if you also wish you sold your soul and worked on Wall Street or bought Apple at $1 a share or something. :)

Keith35 said...

I've never seen Bruce. I know that might surprise you. after all I've been through lately, I decided next tour I'll go. I wasn't able to get tickets when they went on sale. I checked what they're going for at MSG and it's insane! Barclay's seems to be a little better. I'll see whether I splurge; probably not. Maybe I'll just see Al Stewart again at City Winery on 4/2 (between the Bruce shows in NYC) instead

pmac said...

I have "spent" the vast majority of my 63 years on this planet attending live music events. I have seen the greats (Bruce/Paul/Elvis (P and C)/Bowie/Queen/all the NO notables) and not so greats. Now, we go to live music events 3-4 times a week in Seville. No way in hell would I pay $900 for a concert, unless they had figured out a way to resurrect, and reunite, the Fab 4 for a night. Too Poor? nah - just someone who realizes that you can experience great music live without mortgaging your future.

Anonymous said...

I’m old, 68. I saw Delaney and Bonnie and Friends at the (original) Boston Tea Party in 1968. It was $1.00, for two sets, with an opening act. This was a bargain the Tea Party offered because they had presented The Who and Led Zeppelin on two of the previous four weekends and charged $5.00! Their usual ticket was $3.00 (about $25.00 in 2023 dollars).

Michael Giltz said...

PMAC, you saw Presley? I'm jealous. Do tell!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous only because Google is invasive… Sal it’s Mobetta Eric….
I saw the price of tickets but I’ve got different reasons for not going 1975/3d row Ann Arbor hill auditorium born to run tour opened up with thunderRoad I stay the course for more than a decade but I haven’t seen the boss since 86/87? I saw the replacements 4 shows in two days(afternoon matinees shows and night) I saw the replacements 10 times in 1986, including Bob Stinson wearing a diaper at the Fillmore West show point being I didn’t move where the boss went. Fast forward 2006 walking by the garden January 20th a Friday night friend of mine said hey let’s go to MSG will call at 9 o’clock as I worked around the corner :we got stones fourth row center it was the best stones show I’ve seen. A stunner…Keith was particularly evil and the music was satanic and it was the first time they played Sway in public in 40 years. I retired after that show… today if I had pocket change of $1000 I’d rather go fly somewhere overseas. Or perhaps save my money for when Kendrick Lamar does a residency in Vegas when I’m 120…… or joe blaxx and Chelsea reunite as captain and tenille

pmac said...

@Michael Giltz
I actually saw him in Vegas the year he died (1977). Back then I was dating a girl who's father (I thought) was a small time bookie. He took me along with her to a 3 day stay in Vegas and he got us into the show. It was more schlock than anything. His fat Elvis stylings were on full display. Still, he had a heck of a voice, and the audience just adored him. Oh, and the dad wound up doing serious time in the fed pen on all sorts of mafia related charges. Glad I saw him, but this was, sadly, def not the prime of his career.

Noel M said...

Yeah, it's rough. One point: I don't think comparing "seeing Zep for $2 in the day" to 2023 prices is quite fair ... maybe it was actually a tad underpriced then? And some inflation is natural, even good. I don't think price should be the main driver per se.*

* I did have a stand on ticket prices in earlier days, which is why I skipped the Dylan/Van/Joni show in 1998, only because "it was more than $100." I regret that miss all the time.

These days, my upper limit has leaped to $250. Which is what we paid scalpers in 2003 to see Simon & Garfunkel, and I'm so glad we did. One of my favorite evenings ever, of any price.

But - would I pay $800 or up to see Bruce in 2023?
Course not. We all agree those type numbers are ridiculous.
Especially when is selling soundboards of each 2023 show for $25 or so.

The real shame though, let's face it, is not Bruce per se - it's the resell/scalper market. That's what forced his hand. Without that, tix for his 2023 shows might be a hundred or two, tops. Which is kinda fair-ish for an 18-member touring band, right?

Anonymous said...

More than a week late, but somewhere in the Theme Time Radio Hour shows Bob said "Bruce is the rich man's Bob Seger" which struck a chord. I'm not glad to see that vindicated but it sure is ... well something.