Rock and Roll for the Privileged Few?

Last Wednesday I was thrilled to finally get a Verified Fan code to purchase tickets for Springsteen on Broadway. I’ve been a Springsteen fan since about the 8th grade, and I was so excited about this series when it was announced, and I registered for the Verified Fan service as soon as I could. This was the third round of ticketing for the extended Broadway run, but the first time I’d gotten the coveted invitation to buy tickets. I was in the third group allowed to purchase tickets starting at noon.

I was in a meeting I couldn’t get out of that precise moment, but within 15 minutes I was online and trying to get into the site. New York is only 3.5 hours from here, and I have a huge amount of unused vacation time, so I was ready to go any day. I started with my birthday, October 17, looking for tickets for myself and a friend. There were no tickets, so I began trying other dates, especially Wednesdays and Thursdays thinking it might be easier to get tickets for those than Friday or Saturday.

The site was laboriously slow, even on my super high speed work connection, but that at least allowed me to get work done while I searched for tickets. I was able to check multiple dates, but couldn’t find seats for two. After about an hour I decided I would not be able to get two tickets, and I decided to see if I could at least get one ticket to go alone.

It took another hour, but finally I found a ticket, for $400! I simply can’t afford that. For reasons not worth going into here, I simply can’t afford that. In hindsight, I should have snapped up that one ticket. I have been looking for tickets since the run was first announced, and I know how much they go for from resellers. I made a few payments on some loans for what I might have gotten for the ticket. But I wasn’t thinking about anything else but finding just one affordable ticket to any date available! I did find another $400 ticket for a different day, but then then nothing for the next 30-40 minutes.  I finally gave up.

It used to be that all you had to do to get great tickets to see someone like Springsteen was to get to a ticket outlet super early the day that, or even the night before, tickets went on sale and wait in line. Now if you have to have specific credit cards you can get in on pre-sales or register as a verified fan, you can get in on early sales. If not, good luck! Tickets to big name acts are incredibly expensive and they sell out fast.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. You can often get tickets long after seats for the plebes are all gone, but they are part of VIP or Premium packages. They may sell for more than $1000! The only time I’ve ever been able to sit in that section was at the Life is Good Festival 3 or 4 years ago, because I raised over $1000 for the Life is Good Foundation.

I was proud of that because I worked hard to raise money for a good cause, but it doesn’t feel very true to the once rebellious spirit of Rock and Roll to get front row seats simply by shelling out more than most people pay for rent.  It is probably small change to those who buy premium tickets on a regular basis, but it’s a lot for me.

Springsteen is amazing in concert, whether it is one of his loud, raucous rocking shows, or a more sedate, folksy show like the Devils and Dust Tour. I’ve only seen him live 5-6 times, but his tours are associated with a lot of fond memories such as taking my younger sister to her first concert to see Springsteen in Maryland, being inspired by the Human Rights Now! concern in Philadelphia, and even being lucky enough to be in London when he played in London’s Hyde Park. But I’m beginning to reconcile myself with the fact that I may never see him or many of my favorite, more established artists live in concert again!

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