Talkin’ ’bout My Generation

Scott Payne laments that, owing to high ticket prices, rock concerts are now mostly attended by old, rich people who are ruining the experience for young people who want to get stoned and dance.


Photo by Flickr user marfis75 under Creative Commons license.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Actually enforcing the monopoly laws might be a start.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Actually enforcing the monopoly laws might be a start.

    Well, it would knock down the surcharges tacked on by TicketMaster. But concerts are generally private goods and they’re going to be monopolies on a local basis, anyway, since a given act is likely to play only at one venue per city.

  3. DC Loser says:

    It’s a problem only if you want to see the big name acts in arena concerts. That’s never been my cup of tea. If the kids want to find their own bands by going to local clubs or the underground scene, they can be assured there’s plenty of room for them and not that expensive. That’s the way it was in the late 70s and early 80s during the post-punk era for me.

  4. Bill H says:

    Perhaps reinforcing that thesis is an editorial in the San Diego Union-Tribune a while back. Written by a professor at the University of San Diego, it was complaining about a rock concert he had attended. The security guards were allowing beach chairs when the advertisements said no chairs were allowed (beach chairs have no legs) and, horror of all horrors, he had caught a whiff of pot and wanted to know why the police were not there enforcing our drug laws.

  5. DC Loser says:

    And the fact that bands like the Rolling Stones with Mick and company approaching their 70s still trying to act like 20 year olds, is just a little creepy for me. More power to ’em, I guess…..

  6. Steve Plunk says:

    It’s the Boomers. That fricken generation ruins everything. They had their time but just can’t let go. Time to grow up and stay home.

  7. Drew says:

    “And the fact that bands like the Rolling Stones with Mick and company approaching their 70s still trying to act like 20 year olds, is just a little creepy for me.”

    Alternatively, they still put on a good act, and many other bands suck.

    I’ve seen every tour since 1999, and they were better than in (memory fades) 1978??

    I’d suggest to you though they know their limits. If they tour again, expect more small halls and theatres with appropriate tunes, and few, if any, stadiums.

    And from the critic’s section – please get rid of that Start Me Up song. What crap.

  8. anjin-san says:

    The DOJ is looking into the proposed Ticktmaster/Live Nation merger, as well as Ticketmaster’s business practices related to ticket resales on a sister site, TicketsNow.

    U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. has asked the FTC to look in to it as well. This was touched off when people trying to by Springsteen tickets online were treated to long “stand by” messages then told “no tickets are available at that price” and offered tickets at many times face value on TicktsNow.

    Basically, Ticketmaster is now acting both as the official ticket seller for tours and as a scalper. I had this experience both for Springsteen and The Pretenders & in both cases, I put in a request for tickets at the Ticketmaster site about 10 seconds after they went on sale.

    If you enjoy seeing established acts live, a quick call to your congressional Representative is not a bad idea.

  9. anjin-san says:
  10. Rob says:

    I’m glad I have more money now to go to concerts than I did in my 20’s, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to kick out $100/ticket just because I can. I’ll forego Springsteen or U2 in order to be able to see two or three good acts at smaller venues for the same price.

    It’s not only that boomers are ruining it, itr’s that fewer kids are going out to see local acts or ones that play at small venues, if they are spending money on the big arena acts. Smaller venues close, and fewer smaller acts have places to play. Vicious cycle.

    I think that maybe, younger kids can’t stand the idea that older folks could be into rock, especially to the point of getting wild in the audience. Hell with that idea, I worked hard and have just as much right to scream my lungs out and put my lighter (kids use celphones now) in the air.

  11. roger says:

    I saw R.E.M. at the University of Illinois’ Foellinger Auditorium. They were on tour for their “Fables of the Reconstruction” album. Probably not more than 1,900 or so people in the audience. I was so close to the stage, I could reach out and shake Michael Stipe’s hand. Great venue.

    A couple years later, I saw R.E.M. again for their “Work” tour in the much bigger Assembly Hall. Good concert but wow, I missed that smaller venue.

    Even more years later, I saw Rick Danko playing at a bar here in State College, PA. Probably no more than 100 people in the crowd. I was able to shake hands with him and chat it up a little bit. That was fun.

    In short, I like the smaller venues. There’s a bit more charm to seeing a band or solo artist in those places.