We Are The Rolling Stones, and We Are Here For Your Every Last Dollar

Categories: WTF

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Brian Rasic
How much is too much to see the 'Stones?
How much will you pay to say you've seen the Rolling Stones?

In 30 years, when Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are either dead and buried, or are liquid-preserved human heads running a cybernetic body, how badly will you want to tell your (grand-) kids that yes, you saw the real Rolling Stones live?

Will it be worth $170 for nosebleed seats at the top of HP Pavilion in San Jose -- facing the back quarter of the stage? Would you pay $450 to sit one level down, still in a side-facing section? What about $623 to get a floor seat two dozen rows back from the stage? Or $1,500, to be very close, in the Tongue Pit?

Because that's what it will cost when tickets -- to what may be the Rolling Stones' last two Bay Area shows ever, on May 5 and May 8 -- go onsale to the general public at 10 a.m. today. Even a seat in the upper deck at HP, clear on the other end of the arena from the stage, will run you $272. (Prices for the Oracle show on May 5 are similar, or a few dollars more.)

This brings a number of questions immediately to mind. Most immediately: Is it worth it? Reports say that the Stones are playing quite well these days, 50 years into their career and with the principal members pushing 70. But still, there is no way for anyone to answer that but you. Amounts like $623, or $450, or $272, seem beyond exorbitant us, though we love the Stones and have dreamed of seeing them for years. They may amount to pocket money for you.

But here's an easier question, and one we can't get off our minds: How are the Rolling Stones not complete assholes for charging so much?

Just try to explain it. Take a shot at justifying how these 69-year-olds, who sold millions of albums and concert tickets in the era when being a huge rock star still actually paid, should price concerts so that only rich people -- or not-rich people willing to suffer or go into debt for months -- can afford to come.

"Because they can get it," you'll say. And yes, they probably can. Even with the band making $4-$5 million per night, according to press reports, the Oracle and HP shows will probably sell out.

But is that really how the greatest living rock 'n' roll band wants to be remembered? For grabbing every last dollar from fans' wallets simply because they can? Does their music mean nothing more to Jagger and Richards than an excuse to engage in scorched-Earth capitalism?

Other artists with similar legacies charge quite a bit -- but not this much. Our press tickets to Paul McCartney's 2010 show at AT&T Park seated us about a dozen rows back from the stage, albeit significantly off to the side. Their face price? $180. Roughly the same location at the Stones would cost more than $600. Prince is playing four shows at the intimate DNA Lounge later this month, for which he charged $250 per ticket. That's a lot -- but you'll still be in a small club with Prince, not on the other side of an arena, squinting through binoculars or watching him mostly on a jumbotron.

We'd expect the Stones to charge $600, or even $1,500, for a ticket to a small club, where exclusivity is expected. And for a front-row seat at an arena, maybe that's reasonable. But when seats that provide you with the merest view of the band, from far up high, go for nearly $300, that's not anything close to profit-minded pricing. It's cold-hearted money-grubbing, and the members of the band should be ashamed of it.

You'd be proud to tell people you saw the Rolling Stones -- naturally. But will you also be proud to tell people you got fleeced by them?

-- @iPORT



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24 comments
alexhardy
alexhardy

I saw 'em at the infamous 1972 July 4 concert in D.C..  They charged $5.  For that tour, Mick was not happy about scalpers, so the Stones limited sales to 4 tickets per customer.  I suspect that his dissatisfaction with scalping had more to do with his loss of profit than the fans getting screwed, but it seemed to work.  It was wild - Martha and the Vandellas opened and were literally bombed off of the stage (it was 4th of July).  Stevie Wonder came out and played a 10 minute drum solo and the crowd loved it.  He stole the show.  The Stone played a great set but were chased off of the stage by frenzied fans, so no encore.  A memorable 4th.   

Sasha Antman
Sasha Antman

I paid $85 about 6 yrs ago and proud of it

Tamara Rosado
Tamara Rosado

I just can't pay $635+ per ticket...I don't know if there is any band I'd pay that much to see. Yeah, those prices are so rock 'n roll, guys.

塞繆塞繆
塞繆塞繆

Rolling Stones are fuckin old! They need to retire!!!

toe_ace
toe_ace

I've been a Stones fan since my early teens and have seen every tour since Voodoo Lounge in 1994.  I have paid hefty ticket fees before but nothing like this.  My biggest score was camping out on the street all night and paying 10 bucks to see them for their warmup gig for the last tour.  Anyway, that's my Stones lineage.

Do I feel like the Stones are assholes for charging this much?  Yes I do.  It seems they want to make almost as much money on this tour as they do when they go out on a year long jaunt. 

In many ways, the Stones are everything I hate.  A huge corporate entity which claims to care oh so much about those they "serve" when what they really care about is the bottom line.  Unfortunately, I'm in a predicament which is unrelatable to other corporations in that the Stones are my favourite band.  Their music gets my rocks off like no other.  With that said, several factors (including the ticket prices) will see me sitting this tour out despite Mick Taylor's return to the band (ie. my dream) since his departure in 1974.


Here's the thing though, this isn't how the greatest living rock band will be remembered and Mick knows that.  When people are watching footage of this tour 30 years from now the ticket prices will not be a point of discussion.  What will be discussed frequently is the physical marvel that is the present, Peter Panesque, Mick Jagger.  Along with the money, it's ego that has kept Mick and the Stones going.  Do they still like to play with one another?  I believe they do.  But they (especially Mick) want to leave behind a legacy of being at the top of their game for 50 years, even if they were predominantly playing songs from the first 10 for the last 40.

toe_ace
toe_ace

I've been a Stones fan since my early teens and have seen every tour since Voodoo Lounge in 1994.  I have paid hefty ticket fees before but nothing like this.  My biggest score was camping out on the street all night and paying 10 bucks to see them for their warmup gig for the last tour.  Anyway, that's my Stones lineage.

Do I feel like the Stones are assholes for charging this much?  Yes I do.  It seems they want to make almost as much money on this tour as they do when they go out on a year long jaunt. 

In many ways, the Stones are everything I hate.  A huge corporate entity which claims to care oh so much about those they "serve" when what they really care about is the bottom line.  Unfortunately, I'm in a predicament which is unrelatable to other corporations in that the Stones are my favourite band.  Their music gets my rocks off like no other.  With that said, several factors (including the ticket prices) will see me sitting this tour out despite Mick Taylor's return to the band (ie. my dream) since his departure in 1974.


Here's the thing though, this isn't how the greatest living rock band will be remembered and Mick knows that.  When people are watching footage of this tour 30 years from now the ticket prices will not be a point of discussion.  What will be discussed frequently is the physical marvel that is the present, Peter Panesque, Mick Jagger.  Along with the money, it's ego that has kept Mick and the Stones going.  Do they still like to play with one another?  I believe they do.  But they (especially Mick) want to leave behind a legacy of being at the top of their game for 50 years, even if they were predominantly playing songs from the first 10 for the last 40.

nkanell
nkanell

The McCartney comparison was spot on. The Stones are no more relevant in 2013 than Macca is, and at least he still puts out new music to this day. The $170 Stones tickets were gone in 2-3 minutes, so of course the fans will fork over their hard earned money for more expensive tickets. Ah, the pitfalls of free market economy...

Honey Katherine Badger
Honey Katherine Badger

I saw them front row on Oct 23, 1994 at Rice Stadium in SLC, Ut for $70 bucks. That was enough.

Lisa Eileen Hern
Lisa Eileen Hern

I paid $150 for upper deck at AT&T park a handful of years ago. They are charging too much now.

Ralph Boethling
Ralph Boethling

I bought two of the $85 mystery tickets - will be interesting to see where they are on the day of the show - at least they will be inside ;)

Todd Ganser
Todd Ganser

Not nearly as much as they're asking.

Bryan Bibey
Bryan Bibey

I hear their music, but they should be ashamed of themselves. come on, they're washed up/washed out.

briansays
briansays

sili(valley) prices--buy or rent the dvd "Shine A Light"

haggie
haggie

Karaoke night at my grandmother's retirement home is Wednesday and it is free.

ben09
ben09 topcommenter

If people will pay $1,500, then that's how much the tickets will end up costing. Either the band gets this money or scalpers and StubHub do.

gmflash1
gmflash1

@alexhardy would you ever sell your rolling stones ticket stub for 150.00 . i'm trying to collect all of the rolling stones ticket stubs from the 1972 tour:):)

toe_ace
toe_ace

@ben09 That's true for the tickets which end up getting sold on StubHub.  It's not true for the tickets bought by real fans (like me) who want to go to the show.

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