Wow, have things changed since I was in high school when it comes to concert ticket prices. I remember a conversation I once overheard in a class:
Is there a band you'd pay over 10 bucks to see in concert?
Yeah, Rod Stewart. Maybe Aerosmith.
That conversation took place about 30 years ago, when concert tickets for big shows by Kiss, Fleetwood Mac and other great bands in their late '70s prime were only about 8 bucks each. The thought of paying 10 bucks to see a show (which must have seemed like a lot of money then to 14 year olds) was outrageous.
I remember when Rod Stewart came to Vancouver during his disco-era record sales peak, and we all got up really early to line up for tickets at the new Concert Box Office (CBO) at 501 West Georgia in downtown Vancouver. I've never seen so many people crammed onto a sidewalk. I literally lifted my feet off the ground and was carried to the door as people filed in for tix. Those were the real days of "first come first served." You could camp out and get front row tickets.
Today concert-going is a real luxury. Seats at the back of the stadium for popular acts are well over 100 bucks. Unless you are willing to shell out much, much more you can forget about getting up close to the bands. And thanks to TicketMaster's near monopoly on ticket sales, they've managed to corrupt the sales system so badly that only the rich can see shows with any frequency. Furthermore, online systems literally block you out from access of the best seats.
I love live music, but concert tickets are way out of my price range. To top it off, the bands are mostly not worth seeing live. Gone are the days when rock music created excitement with entertainers like Aerosmith's Steven Tyler.
I've begun to wonder lately why even bother go to a stadium to see a live show? Home entertainment systems with big screens, surround sound mixes and pay per view shows are an exciting option for sport and concerts. Why not have the ability to see bands who come to your town on your living room TV at the same time they play at the downtown arena? I'd pay a few bucks to avoid the hassle of parking and drinking beer at rip-off prices.
Unless some serious antitrust legislation is forced upon these music biz monopolies in Canada and the USA we'll see live music increasingly become for the elites. Maybe it's time to offer live shows as home entertainment and make it more affordable for the rest of us.