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Saturday, May 18

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Andrew / June 21, 2007 1:16 PM

Question suggested by Mark.

Dave / June 21, 2007 1:38 PM

Well, while I was still a full-time grad student, the answer was most definitely anything > $0, particularly in the summer.

Now, I really only have a theoretical cap somewhere near $100, but that had better be one incredible seat or an incredible lineup or both, preferably.

It also helps to have a friend who works the ticket hotline at the CSO.

Dunl / June 21, 2007 1:40 PM


(That's not to say I won't sometimes go ahead anyway and actually pay too much...)

Emerson Dameron / June 21, 2007 1:51 PM

Sliding scale. $5 seems like a good cap for anything I don't have particular confidence in. I'm a big Prince fan, but I'd cap him somewhere way below $3000.

Bill V / June 21, 2007 1:56 PM

I had never paid over about $40, but Beck and Arcade Fire went over that a bit. Then I got sucked in to the Police for $70 and I'm not even that big of a fan, just going for the party. Fact is I have a better time with the $10-15 tickets so for most shows in the future I won't be going over about $25. I don't think I answered the question at all!

mary / June 21, 2007 2:55 PM

for the most part i dont pay more than $20 if i can help it, but i refuse to spend more than $50 on any sort of tickets (concert, sports event, whatever else tickets are sold for)

Annie / June 21, 2007 3:10 PM

I don't think I'd pay over $40, and even that might be too high for me. Depends on the venue too. $40 for a show at the Auditorium? I would probably pay it, if I was into the band. $40 at the Tweeter Center? no way.

spook / June 21, 2007 3:19 PM

This is my beef with live music today. I mean you pay these ridiculous covers
and you have to buy drinks at ridiculous prices! Whatís up with that?

Why not give the band a cut from the bar?

For instance I love Rosa's Blues Club and I use to go every week, but it just got ridiculous.
This is the same way with Jazz clubs in Chicago. You canít just hang out their and drink.

This is the reason why I donít like the New Hot House downtown as opposed to the old one where you could just drink, while listening to the music in the other room with out paying a 20 dollar cover.

jen / June 21, 2007 3:49 PM

anything approaching $100. i paid i think $60 (after ticketbastard charges) for the cheap tom waits tickets, and that's really about the highest i'll ever go. especially when you consider that these shows are at HUGE venues, and you're not that close to the artist at all anyway.

put me in a small club with 200 people for a big name performer, and i'd consider a $100 ticket, but it would have to be a band i'd never seen before.

it's also hard when you see a band initially and their tickets are about $10-15, then the next show they're more popular and it's $20-25... after that, well, i'm kind of done with a band. i don't care how snobby it sounds, i'm just not paying $30 for a band i saw for half that two years previous (when you also factor that the beer prices at the venue go from $2.50 to $5 also...)

snuh / June 21, 2007 3:54 PM

anything that's after the ticketmaster fees is too much.

Jill / June 21, 2007 4:10 PM

It really depends on the artist. Beth Orton for $19 was a deal. Duran Duran for $75 wasn't horrible (because really, that's only $15 per Duran, and they do know how to put on a show). But $35 for Madeline Peyroux at The Vic? Couldn't justify that one.

BTW, can someone explain why Ticketmaster needs to charge convenience fees and a fee to print out your ticket online? And isn't there another processing fee on top of that? Criminy! It's worth it to get your tickets directly from the venue whenever possible.

Cliff @ Berwyn / June 21, 2007 4:18 PM

$10. No more than $10. For any show. Ever.

I've yet to meet anyone who could explain in a rational and believable way why a ticket to a performance has to be more than $10.

And don't give me economics 101 BS. Supply and demand my right butt cheek. No one NEEDS to see live performances. BTW this goes for sporting events too...

kate / June 21, 2007 4:21 PM

Wow GB, I was just having this discussion mere hours ago. A band I've never seen before is coming to town and tickets are a hefty $39.50. I'm going because... well, they kick ass and I've never seen them before.

Generally speaking, $30 is just too damn much. I'll go over that cap from time to time. Most of the shows I see are in the $8-$20 range and I'm ok with that.

vanessa / June 21, 2007 4:27 PM

So, the most that I have paid for a ticket was $125 and that was for the Stones. Say what you want about them, but they're pretty f-ing cool to see live. But for the most part, nothing over $50, maybe $60 for a concert ticket.

David / June 21, 2007 4:55 PM

Fifty bucks, period, unless it comes with a happy ending.

A bloated monstrosity of a live show equates to bloated ticket prices, in my opinion. Example: Rolling Stones.

And my most favorite shows, my best memories, all come from shows with tickets less than ten bucks.

Carrie / June 21, 2007 5:22 PM

Funny, we were talking about the stupid ticketmaster fees just the other night. It's absolutely ridiculous.

Anyway! I always promised myself that if The Police went back on tour, that I was going-- no matter how much it cost. I kept that promise and got the cheap tickets :)

Even though it wasn't a concert, I did pay like $40 a ticket to see David Copperfield. The show ruled and was worth the $40.

Those are pretty much my "I don't want to pay more than $20 to see anyone" exceptions.

Andrew / June 21, 2007 6:17 PM

I do my best to not pay more than $15 for a concert. In the past I've made exceptions for festivals (although Lollapalooza is finally far too costly for even a credit card) and high-end artists. But, as someone pointed out above, I find it hard to justify paying, say $25 for a band that I've seen in the past for $10 or $12. I'm fortunate in that I can get guestlisted at many places around town, so that helps cut my expenses a lot...

fluffy / June 21, 2007 6:24 PM

It depends on the band. There are very few bands I'd pay a lot of $ to see. I guess if it was one of my favorite artists and they had to travel from overseas, and they normally hate to fly, but did so anyway, well...maybe it'd be worth it.
I'm just happy I paid only $10 and I get to see Sonic Youth.

Maybe the ticket prices being so high is an incentive for all of us to check out more local/still obscure bands.

SR / June 21, 2007 10:03 PM

I distrust anything listed over $40 (festivals excepted)... with all the fees that puts one in the $55 range... That's my general ceiling for an act that I feel is pretty good.

Brian / June 22, 2007 1:18 AM

Generally anything over $30 is too much. I will make exceptions, though. I've missed the last two Morrissey shows, and if he comes through one more time, I'd pay up to $100. If New Order were ever to tour again, I *might* consider up to $200 reasonable for them. But for most anyone else, $30 is the limit.

Pete / June 22, 2007 8:28 AM

Whatever ludicrous sum the Eagles happen to be charging this year.

JohnMc / June 22, 2007 9:11 AM

I ponied up $56 to see The Pogues in March and had buyers remorse. It was just an okay show, nothing like seeing them in '85.

Sarah / June 22, 2007 9:23 AM

Lollapalooza tickets are too expensive, even if you do get to see a lot of bands. My brother and I were thinking about going to treat ourselves to Lollapalooza passes for our birthdays (mine is the 8th of August and his is the 11th) but we decided we'd just to to Pitchfork instead. $15-20 is generally the most I shell out for anything, including theater tickets, but I would make an exception if it was an artist that I really wanted to see. I think I'd still have a hard time shelling out more than $50.

Steve / June 22, 2007 10:13 AM

I pay nothing. Music wants to be free! And I want to be home by 9 pm.

Most I've paid was $51.50 face for Pogues, which eclipsed the previous year's record high of $49.50 for New Order. Very "Krafty" of them to keep it under 50, it was.

For the most part, club shows remain a delicious bargain, though it cost me twice as much to see Dinosaur in 2005 as it did in 1989.

jj / June 22, 2007 10:28 AM

Depends on the artist, but I start to feel pain once we hit the $40 mark. I have paid $40 or more, but it has been for special situations - an artist I always wanted to see and that was my one chance, an international artist that probably wouldn't come back to Chicago, or a benefit concert.

I really wanted to buy my parents tickets to Paul McCartney a year or so ago because that was the first concert they took me to as a child - they STARTED at $250. That is just insane.

Bill V / June 22, 2007 10:36 AM

Who ever says just 10 bucks for a "limit" probably isn't much of a music fan on a national level. Sure you can see local bands, punk bands, etc. for that, but not many touring acts.

d / June 22, 2007 10:38 AM

30 bucks is my limit. This would probably explain why the last big name concert I paid to see was the Verve in 1999.

There is just no way I'm shelling out 5 times what a cd costs to see a band play live.

Well, better get back to telling those kids to get the hell off of my lawn.

JB / June 22, 2007 10:58 AM

20 bucks. and you can sometimes skip out on ticket purchasing fees if you go to the venue to get them.

Josh / June 22, 2007 11:00 AM

I'll pay any price under $100, but as long as the concert is at a venue where I can buy directly from the venue's box office, thereby bypassing all Ticketmaster charges.

The Black Crowes and The Church have been the only thing I've enjoyed seeing in the past several years, anyway.

skafiend / June 22, 2007 11:18 AM

I'm with most people here... $20 but maybe $40-50 in an extreme case... say Jimi Hendrix came back from the dead or God decided to play bass for U2 or something. That might be worth shelling out big bucks to see. The last big bucks show I paid to see was Aretha Franklin at the House of Blues a few years ago. About $70 apiece for 2 tickets. I figured, how many more years does she have on earth... Crowded, couldn't see, she came on almost two hours after the scheduled time and the first song she sang when she came out was "Who Let The Dogs Out?" I didn't pay one-hundred-fourty-fucking-dollars to hear Aretha Franklin sing "Who Let The Fucking Dogs Out?"

Oh, and I love the answer that equates how much you spend with whether you're a music fan or not. So I guess someone on a meager income could never be a real music fan.... get real. And what does a "music fan on a national level" even mean? Just because you don't see them live doesn't mean you can't be a Rolling Stone fan...

jaymce / June 22, 2007 1:05 PM

if joe strummer ressurected to play a clash reuniion show, i might give my left arm.

personally, i prefer small venues so all my shows are typically in the five to twenty buck range. i saw the evens for like 5 bucks this spring and it may have been the best show i have seen in a long time.

if the band is asking over 40 then that is jacked. scalping is another story...

cliff @ Berwyn / June 22, 2007 1:15 PM

Thanks for ridin' to the defense skafiend. Regardless of what Bill V believes, I'm a huge music fan. I just believe that there's too many insulating layers of middleman between me and the band. And every single one of them wants a cut.

I'd rather pay the venue a cover to see the band, or give my money straight to the group.

And I never said that I don't pay more than $10 to see live music. ($25 a ticket to see The Dandy Warhols at Metro comes immediately to mind.)

But the question above was "How much is too much to pay for a concert?" I answered the question. Did you Bill V? I think not!

winediva / June 22, 2007 1:29 PM

I'm quite sure we all agree that ticketmaster has become a greedy and evil entity with downright inexplicable fees. That said, I really have aviceral stomach churn paying over $50 for any kind of live performance. Obviously, if music, or theatre, or dance is your passion you may not have trouble paying $100 or more for an exceptional artist, but somewhere around $100 per couple makes me financially queasy. I did pay $75 a seat for Doubt with Cherry Jones and $50 per ticket for front row at the Court Theatre for Arcadia. Don't regret those one bit...but I'm a theatre nerd.

printdude / June 22, 2007 1:46 PM

To see one band, I think the Max is $60. That venue would have to be no larger than the Congress, however, the smaller places are generally better.

I do enjoy the

As for Festivals, I think that Lineupofloozers is quite expensive, but I'm still going, although they will have to really pack the stages next year before I purchase a ticket at a cost of two weeks groceries.

Joseph J. Finn / June 22, 2007 2:33 PM

Anything over $15.

jen / June 22, 2007 3:03 PM

Bill - bands at the Empty Bottle are national touring acts. just because they're not a big name you've heard of (yet) doesn't mean they're not on the music radar. one doesn't have to love Pearl Jam or Dave Matthews to be a music fan.

And Lolla is whack because with 6 (?) stages, there will inevitably be two bands you want to see playing at the same time (Spoon vs. Patti Smith? I'd have to choose Patti, but I wouldn't be happy about it...), so you're really not even paying for that many bands you'd want to see. Not to mention the festival is sponsored TO DEATH (AT&T stage, MySpace stage, etc. etc.), why are tickets still so expensive? They should damned well be near free!

Prof. / June 22, 2007 3:50 PM

Hi Cliff @ Berwyn...I don't have an answer to your specific question.

One thing, though. Economics does not really have anything to do with "need". The demand is "want" and it is measured in "utility".

Further, "Need" is a paradox in Economics. We "need" water, but we "do not need" diamonds. Why are diamonds more expensive?

"Need" has its role in Economics, but it has nothing to do with the Law of Supply and Demand.

I'd pay up to $50 for a band that I like and up to $200 for a good sporting event.

skafiend / June 22, 2007 4:29 PM

Sorry to keep piling on, Bill, but for someone who purports to have a music-oriented blog (which I just perused), you sure have a myopic view of what constitutes a music fan...

Bill V / June 22, 2007 8:18 PM

Point taken regarding national acts, but the last few times I've been at the Bottle the tickets were way over 10 bucks. And yes you can be a music fan and see a lot of bands for 10 bucks or less, but most of the shows that I see listed go for over that amount. That's all I was sayin.

My limit is pretty much 40 bucks except for about three times that I can remember. I love live shows so paying 15 or 20 plus beer money is money well spent.

TMUPOGB / June 22, 2007 9:33 PM

The most I have paid lately for a ticket in the past few years was about $40 to see The Pixies awhile back. It's been the only high-priced (relatively) reunion band I've had any interest in seeing in ohhh, forever.

For the most part, I am a big fan of small venue shows for $15 tops. I like being able to see/hear what I am paying for as opposed to being stuck in the back of a lawn listening to horrible acoustics of amphitheaters.

And we all could see the groaning about Ticketmaster coming a mile away. I also think Ticketmaster is a big corporation. gone wild with willy-nilly ticketing fees HOWEVER (and I am not defending them, I am just being a realist here) I realize that some of those fees DO pay to keep that place running. It IS very convenient for me to sit at my office @ 10am when tickets go on sale and buy on the web and insure I will GET a ticket if I really want one. They need people to answer the phones, people to run the web site (and with the traffic it encounters no easy task) to make sure things run as smooth as they can when 30,000 people are trying to log on at once to get their Rolling Stones tickets and a million other things.

Is it perfect? No. Are they fees a little outrageous, sure. And they DO take advantage of it, but there are real reasons behind some of the charges. It is a national service. And remember, you always have the option of going to the venue to buy tickets to save the $10+ per ticket. But a lot of people don't live anywhere near the venue's box office, and a huge national ticketing outlet is a service for those people. Unfortunately, those people really do have to pay for that service--if they don't want to go through the trouble of going to the box office. We pay for all sorts of conveniences in life, this is one of them.

Just be lucky we live in Chicago and have the option of getting to the box office AT ALL to save a little money if we really want to. Music fans out in podunk do not. (I am assuming most people here don't realize there is life beyond I-80--think of those poor teenagers growing up in the corn fields trying to get to the rock show for a night for crying out loud!!)

And if you're talking fees, even smaller venues like the Abbey Pub will charge you $2 more for a ticket the night of a show ($2 more than if you would have bought then in advance). Why? They realize it is more convenient for a lot of people to just show up and pay a little more than plan ahead. It's your "not planning ahead" tax.

Thank god for things like ticketweb, their fees are reasonable and a great alternative for now.

The options are out there, you just need to figure out what is worth paying for.

And as a side note since I am off and running, you can't always blame the big evil producer promoters for big ticket prices. Honestly the profit margin for promoters is actually relatively small in the grand scale of ticket sales (and here comes the groaning but it is true). There IS profit, but considering gross, it is actually small. Most of the dough goes to the group (and the group's wranglers, production people, lawyers, etc).

Gwenny, The Rolling Stones, and The Police's etc fees set the ticket price for the most part and it goes from there. If you are willing to pay it, then there is no reason for the artists not to scale back.

(I am not talking small bands here, how your band plays for $5 split 6 ways and maybe a free beer.)

But for the big acts, your money is your vote as to how ALL of these things will go down.

And now that I think about it, I'd totally pay $79.99 plus fees to see Madonna. (though that wouldn't get me there.) So anything over $100 is too much.


The Most Unpopular Person On Gapersblock

Andrew / June 22, 2007 10:05 PM

To clarify, the Andrew above is not the Andrew of GB. This is.

I'm cool up to around $30-40, including fees. After that, I have to really have a reason to go. Like it's James Brown's last tour through Chicago or the Pixies are getting back together. And considering I've learned never to believe the hype when it comes to "last" "farewell" tours, those special circumstances are few and far between.

The El / June 23, 2007 3:50 AM

$30 for cheap seats to see Barenaked Ladies this week, and when all was said and done the price jacked up to $47.50. There's the reason I no longer go to stadium concerts! However, I promised my boyfriend today I'd be his slave for the next six months if he got Misha tickets for next month (4th row!).

daruma / June 23, 2007 9:49 AM

Wow, I'm pretty surprised by these responses. Who are all the people who sold out The Police at $254 a pop?

bibliogrrl / June 23, 2007 12:30 PM

It varies. And fests don't count. I don't like to pay more than 20 bucks a pop, and like everyone else, Ticketmaster makes my blood boil. (The 14 dollar tickets for Ted Leo? I ended up paying over FIFTY bucks after fees when I had to get 2 of them online. ugh)

Generally the shows I go to are in the 10-12 dollar range, and I'm more than happy to pay. Then again, I tend to go to small club shows, and avoid bigger venues. I'm going to Tweeter for the first time in September (RUSH!) and am kind of apprehensive because I keep hearing about how the seats could be behind a pole. At least I didn't pay.

p / June 23, 2007 2:22 PM

you all are some suckers Paying to get into shows. i just walk in those things. ticket takers are all "where's your ticket dude?" so i'm all "uh, i'm jeremy piven i don't need a ticket" so he goes "no you're not, you don't look anything like him" so i'm like "trust me son, i'm jeremy piven and if you ever hope to get laid in this town by anyone better looking than that dumpy goth-mess selling merch behind you- you'd stop gaping at me and step aside" so he's like "sorry mr.piven" and i breeze past while in the same motion- with my left hand giving his package a firm hetero-squeeze, then giving him a friendly wink and simultaneously i raise my right arm, under which 2 sassy russian dime-pieces slide in while passing me a gin and placing a lit joint in my mouth. we pay for everything else in rubles for the rest of the night and everytime we do we join arms around the waitstaff and we all laugh heartily- because of course my money is no good there but my inclusion of everyone in my rubles jokes is fun and very generous of me. but to answer the question i pay nothing- ever, except for some things in rubles occasionally but i can't convert that shit to dollars to tell you how much and my girls, who also think i'm jeremy piven, are all still asleep from the party at Vision throughout my suite here at the W, where they also believe me to be pivs.

i'm only up due to not being able to sleep because that one little guy with the perm who was in the sitcom about being married to a demanding but spontaneous asian woman and best friends with an ambitious consierge gave me some designer drug called "Shy Love" in the bathroom at the underground, again thinking i was jeremy piven. You can read about all of this monday in Michael Sneed's "Sneedlings" coloumn, because she too believes me to be Piven.

Sue / June 24, 2007 3:42 PM

Well, a few years ago, my husband and I wanted to go see Aerosmith up in WI at Alpine Valley before they started doing nursing home tours (we're in our 40's and also wanted to see them before WE end up in one as well!), so we thought we'd make a weekend of it and stay at a local resort as well. We made a few calls to some ticket brokers we know and after telling them that we'd at least like to sit where we could actually SEE them, the prices they came back with were UNREAL! $400- 500 for poop tickets! And beyond that, on the main
level, 20 rows in, to the stage was equal to our mortage payment!
We are Aerosmith fans, but the CD was looking better and better! The main floor tickets closer to the stage are almost always saved for the industry people and promotional stuff. It's really sad because going to a concert and having halfway decent tickets today is almost next to impossible. I feel badly for our sons and their friends.

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