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Topic: Cant Get No Satisfaction? Why are the Stones gouging their own fans? ( Return to archive
05-18-02 09:46 PM
Gazza COLLECTIVELY, THEY OWN multiple chateaux in the south of France, duplexes overlooking Central Park, summer spreads in Connecticut, and who knows what else in England, Scotland and various secret Caribbean islands. When they want to throw a party in Manhattan, they buy the restaurant; when they want a good bottle of wine, they buy the vineyard. So why, on their just-announced 40th anniversary tour, do they feel a need to gouge their fans to the cacophonous tune of more than $350 a ticket for a top seat?

The first time I saw the Stones, at Madison Square Garden in 1975, I paid $15 — 200 percent of my weekly allowance. I was given by pre-concert publicity to believe that the extra-high ticket prices charged to New Yorkers would be offset by special effects not available to concert-goers out in the boonies. But all we got were a bunch of leaves strewn across the top of the Garden. (Even in the Midwest, fans were treated to the decidedly mixed pleasure of seeing Mick Jagger cavorting with a 24-foot inflatable phallus.) I know all about inflation, but how many weeks’ allowance is $350?

Would you pay $350 to see the Rolling Stones?

No, I don't even like the band.
No, I like them but that's too expensive.
Yes, I think they are worth it.
Not sure.

Vote to see results

Would you pay $350 to see the Rolling Stones?

* 5438 responses

No, I don't even like the band.

No, I like them but that's too expensive.

Yes, I think they are worth it.

Not sure.

Survey results tallied every 60 seconds. Live Votes reflect respondents' views and are not scientifically valid surveys.

Four years later, two friends and I, in need of an adventure with which to bore our grandchildren one day, decided to hitchhike from Ithaca, N.Y., to Toronto to see a Stones concert that Keith Richards had been ordered to do by the Canadian courts, rather than serve the drug sentence that would have applied to any mere mortal. We made it to my friend’s house in Buffalo by noon. There, the guy’s dad took us aside and explained that he had always regretted his failure to sow his wild oats as a young man, and he did not want us to share this regret. To our collective amazement, he then proceeded to turn over the family car, a bunch of credit cards, and a cooler filled with sandwiches, munchies and beer. (Yes beer. Things were looser back in ’79.) He told us to be sure to have a good time.
That wonderful man saved us enough money to pay scalpers for the show. The price of tickets in the parking lot was an astronomical $75. Ah well, who needed textbooks, anyway?

I understand why the Toronto scalper needed to rip us off, but why Mick and Keith? Are blood transfusions really that expensive? Is the problem multiple child-support payments? (If that were a legitimate measure of cost, then Norman Mailer’s books would be the most expensive on earth.)
Having long forgotten their working-class roots, the Stones are now competing with the likes of the egomaniacal Streisand and the Eagles rather than the young and hungry bands that make the kind of music they can barely remember.

Barbara Streisand got this ruinous ball rolling with her disgusting decision to charge $350 for tickets way back in 1993. (She later upped the price to a shocking $2,500 per ticket, though this included bad food too.) The Eagles, proving that they were always more a product of Hollywood than of rock ‘n roll, followed suit with a tour in which tickets cost $125.
Today everything has gotten way out of hand. Down the street from my apartment, at the Beacon Theater, Liza Minelli is demanding $500 per ticket, after blowing a quarter of a bajillion on her most recent wedding. Meanwhile, a celebrity-worshipping media — dependent on the promoters for freebies — says virtually nothing in protest at the sight of multimillionaires ripping off middle-class and teen-age fans lest it interfere with the flow of free product.
Having long forgotten their working-class roots, the Stones are now competing with the likes of the egomaniacal Streisand and the Eagles rather than the young and hungry bands that make the kind of music they can barely remember. No wonder they haven’t managed to put out a decent album since 1978’s “Some Girls.”

Bruce Springsteen, whose last tour charged too much in my opinion, still kept it down to $67.50. I saw Bob Dylan not long ago for $29.95 (with Phil Lesh and Friends on the bill, too.) Unlike the greedy Stones, both of these “grizzled veterans,” as the tabloids like to say, manage to make money on tour without embracing a corporate sponsor. (Those counter-cultural revolutionaries over at e-Trade are doing the honors this time for the Stones.)
Both Bruce and Dylan have also managed to retain an organic connection to their fans that the Stones have probably not experienced in a quarter century. And while Dylan will always be a little crazy, my guess is that Bruce, at least, has managed to achieve something that will forever elude the money-grubbing Mick and Keith: Satisfaction.

Eric Alterman is a columnist for The Nation and a regular contributor to

05-18-02 10:07 PM
Scot Rocks :angry

would you pay a nickel to read this guys trash?

results were --- yes 6 (some guys have too much money to splash aroound!!!)

no --- 1000000

in another poll

would you pay $350 to see this guy get his ass kicked?

yes --- 400400

no --- 4

I would pay more, it is worth much more than $350 --- 560000

05-19-02 01:47 AM
Happy Motherfucker!! Yeah, this guy really blows! But, one thing that he is right about, is The Stones charging this outlandish price for tickets. They are the best Rock'n Roll band that has ever graced a concert stage, but do they really need to bilk their fans like this? I mean, what the fuck is up with this gold circle shit. For most true fans, they don't have $350 to pay for a ticket. I bought tickets this morning for DC, got some damn good $90 seats on the field and it came to like $426. It would have costed me $1500 to take my family if I had wanted gold circle seats. You tell me, but ain't that fuck'n crazy for a night out at a rock show? The ones that are sitting in the gold circle seats are just the weekend fans that are trying to impress their dates with expensive tickets. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure some of you guys shelled out those kind of bucks and it will be worth it to you, but on average, a lot of those tickets are going to people who probably can't name two songs off of "Exile". Also, this fan club rip-off deal that they have droped in front of us. Please tell me why they would feel they need to charge their fans twice for a shot at good tickets. A lot of bands that make no where the cash that The Stones do, don't charge a fee for presale tickets. I just can't understand the logic behind this. The Stones are really taking a beating over this in the press that's for sure. $350 is just fucking crazy for a 2 1/2 rock show. I don't know about the rest of you, but I think for as long as The Stones have been around and as many diehard fans that they have, it's a fucking shame that they don't give us more credit for supporting them for all of these years. There is sure to be many more negitive articals on this before tour so get use to seeing it.
05-19-02 11:27 AM
Gazza Sorry but apart from the bit about them not putting out a decent album since "Some Girls",I have to admit theres not a word of that piece that I'd disagree with (and at least to the guys credit,unlike most journalists he doesnt ridicule them for their age either). Theres a lot of unwarranted and idiotically cliched criticism about the Stones in the press,but I'm not sycophantic enough to think theyre above criticism either.

Interesting comparison with Dylan. I saw two terrific Dylan shows at London Arena last weekend - I like both artists pretty much equally so for me it was as good as most Stones I've seen. Two and a quarter hours per night with twelve songs changed in the setlist from one show to the next. An artist whos been around even longer than the Stones with (IMO) an even more impressive back catalogue of work and who's still making good music. No corporate sponsorship to underwrite tour expenses - the tickets cost £25 each (thats about $35). No elitist money grabbing "golden circle" nonsense either - there WAS a priority ticket allocation for subscribers to a couple of (unofficial) fan magazines which cost next to nothing for fans (basically the cost of getting them sent by registered mail) and I managed to get very good seats both shows (9th row centre on the floor second night).

Being a legend isnt enough excuse to justify ripping off the people who made you what you are. Its sad that the greatest rock'n'roll band of them all won't lead by example and do something about it.
05-19-02 03:35 PM
Stray Cat Totally agree Gazza. Why can't they charge like the Who?
Maybe they're charging these prices in the States because they know they'll never get away with it in Europe, especially the U.K.(Remember the backlash over the 1998 tax issue)?
05-20-02 12:16 PM
Mikey I agree with all the bashing about the ticket prices, but let's compare apples to apples here. Take my experience in 1994. I paid $75 for Gen Admisssion tix to the Rose Bowl in LA. The opening acts were Buddy Guy and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. The show started at 7 and was over at 11:45. I thought that was good value for the buck.

Fast forward to 1997 at the Oakland Colisium where I paid $70 for tix in the back of the bowl, but not high - perfect viewing levels. Pearl Jam was the opening act and included a spectacular fireworks show afterwards.

I hate paying $350 for 2 tix to the Oakland Arena show like I did on Sunday, but the reality is that, in my opinion, we get more than just seeing the Stones perform their hits on an elevated box, ya know?


05-20-02 01:01 PM
Joey " in my opinion, we get more than just seeing the Stones perform their hits on an elevated box, ya know? "

Damn Straight............. Stones is Stones .....bigger than all of us and worth any price .

Bunny Joey

05-20-02 01:14 PM
steel driving hammer Prolly cause this will be the "Heavy Secuirity Tour"

I will see them in Chicago 11th & 13tb of Sept & maybe Aragon.

Just a years aniversary of Sept 11.

You bet the security will be tight, and it should.

But I think the Taliban know not to fuck w/ The Stones.

05-20-02 01:48 PM
T&A Clearly there are two valid opinions - and I can sympathize with both sides. But, it's tough to argue that anybody should be free to charge whatever the marketplace bears. People are buying the $350 seats, so that clearly indicates the buying public is willing to shell it out. As a fan, I wish it were otherwise.

Keep in mind, that, without a doubt, those fans (like me) who are willing to wait in suspense and can handle a little anxiety for a few months, will be able to walk in dirt-cheap to great seats for most venues. The scalpesrs are already noticing the market does have a ceiling. That's my plan - it worked in '97 and '99 and it will again this year. (Meanwhile, I'm feeling pretty cozy about my $50 Wiltern and Orpheum seats - sorry, I had to brag a little.)
05-20-02 04:16 PM
jb Interestingly, it's the Europeans who are complainining the most about ticket prices..No offense, but put up, or shut up!
05-20-02 04:30 PM
Mr T People just need to stop worrying about the money. OK, tickets are WAY too expensive - but seeing your favorite band is priceless, this September will be my first Stones show & I wouldn't miss it for the world. Appearantly it means enough to their fans as we still compete with each other to be the first on the phoneline for these $350 tickets. And they do have $50 seats too - so if they aren't worth the $350 to you then don't bother bitching, cuz you don't have to empty your wallet to see them from the cheap seats. Some people just don't know what they're complaining about. $10 says that guy's just pissed off cuz he paid $350 for top notch seats - well guess what buddy, I'd be glad to pay that to be up there - so consider yourself lucky.
05-20-02 05:03 PM
Gazza >Interestingly, it's the Europeans who are complainining the most about ticket prices..No offense, but put up, or shut up!

Going by your other post about the washington show,seems that theyre not too happy with them either.

05-20-02 06:49 PM
Scot Rocks Yeah Mr T, my first Stones show and I have been looking forward to the day for years and I would not miss it for the world. I also know it will cost me a lot of money too however as I have discussed with my friends we will be going no matter what. So for me the price will be a bit of a pain, however that will all it will be, yet I know for some people especially with families etc. things may not be so clear cut with your prices in the States being so high and that is sad considering that some bug stones fans may miss out. However that Journalist by his tone would have found something else to criticise the Stones about even if the prices were lower.

BTW jb what is your problem with us here across the pond?

05-21-02 10:28 AM
Vile Dance Maybe it's all just part of an experiment. As far as Dylan goes though, he seems to like playing obscure gigs. He played Lewiston Maine which is a pit, small and ugly, a few months back. He's played Maine a dozen times in the last 10-15 years or so. Why? I haven't figured it out yet...maybe he likes small gigs. But he's on tour all the time I guess.

"gouging their own fans"
Well who else's fans can they gouge???
[Edited by Vile Dance]
05-21-02 11:27 AM
jb I was apparently wrong about D.C.-while not sold out, it appears atleast 50,000 will attend...that is somewhat respectable...As for Europeans, I have nothing against you with the exception of the cowardly , hateful, french. While most English people bitterly despise the Stones(please don't deny this-it is obvious in newspaper articles, ticket sales, album sales, and most importantly, the fact that the stones do not even place in the top 100 English bands-also Queen refuses to Knight Mick and the boys)is prood enough. However, I gibe the British credit for being our staunch allie as usual in the war on terroism...the Brits are brave and noble warriors...however, britain, like france, is a hot bed for muslim fundamentalists.
05-21-02 12:02 PM
Scot Rocks jb Mick and the boys not being knighted by the Queen is good not bad. It shows the Stones are still true R&R not like that pathetic McCartney and others who are the Royal family's best friend now. They will give anybody an MBE, OBE knighthood etc. for publicity and keeping the tax-funded monarchy popular, and "in touch with the people".

Give us a republic and we could have Mick as President. LOL
05-21-02 12:31 PM
jb May the Queen Bless you ScotRocks-you seem like a really cool guy, who has a sense of humour unlike most on this board.
05-21-02 01:40 PM
Honky Tonker The answer to the question "Why are the Stones gouging their fans"? is that the non-fans won't pay!
05-21-02 03:59 PM
jb Remember, unlike the hideous Beatles, there are only about 500,000 hardcore fans....the stones rely on us ...lets not let them down on this, their final tour!!!

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