Posted in writing

Bamboozled By the Boss

A few weeks ago Bruce Springsteen announced the U.S. dates for his 2023 tour. I found it kind of strange that these dates, which happen first, were announced after the European dates. But I’m not a tour manager and I’m sure there was a logical reason for the European dates, happening after the U.S., dates, to go on sale first. It only makes sense that the dates happening first (the U.S. dates) would go on sale first. But again, I’m not a tour manager, so what do I know? I digress…

So the U.S. dates are announced and everyone gets all excited. After all, it’s been nearly seven years since Springsteen has actually toured. The only action we’ve seen from him, even during the pandemic, was on Broadway. A single show in a single theater.

Then the tickets start going on sale. And Springsteen fans are puzzled, baffled, taken aback, shocked, put into hock, selling their firstborns and anything they can get their hands on to afford tickets. Because, after all, this is The Boss and he hasn’t been on tour in seven years. And we didn’t get to see him on Broadway where, although tickets were expensive, they weren’t nearly as expensive as the nosebleeds on this upcoming 2023 tour.

They told fans to register with Ticketmaster to get “verified”. I’ve been this route before. Once with Harry Styles and once with Olivia Rodrigo. Both shows I attempted to get “verified” to get tickets for my daughter. I never achieved verification for them so you can imagine my shock when I got verified for Springsteen. In fact, I was in disbelief. So I figured it was “meant to be” and I’d give it a shot and see what I could get for tickets for the Mohegan Sun show.

I should mention that a year ago I obtained tickets for Justin Bieber at Mohegan Sun, in the very same arena, in the nosebleed area, for $150.00 a ticket. An entire year before he was scheduled to perform there in June 2022, about two weeks before he announced his illness and a day before I sold the tickets at face value because my daughter could no longer attend. In checking Ticketmaster tonight for that same section, Springsteen tickets are going for $676.00. Now I know Springsteen is not Bieber and Bieber is not Springsteen, but how does this figure? In fact tonight as of this writing at Mohegan Sun the cheapest Springsteen ticket you’re going to find is for $525.00 and the most expensive is for $2,193. In hovering around on the seat map I found the $525 seats to be behind the stage. I’m not even seeing tickets for $2,193. General admission right near the stage are going for $1500. A real bargain if you care to stand for four hours. Shit, at these prices, Springsteen better tack on another hour, just to give the fans more for their money. At 73, does he still have the stamina?

Leading up to Friday’s ticket sales, I had heard plenty from others who had gone into sticker shock during Tuesday’s ticket sales. So I wasn’t expecting much but was hoping for the best. I got in to Ticketmaster with no issues and had a $500.00 budget, before fees and all the other crap. I wasn’t even in there for two minutes, didn’t see anything in my budget range, said “fuck this shit” and left with no regrets.

As a fellow fan and someone who hasn’t seen Springsteen perform live in 35 years, when I paid $20.00 for a seat eight rows from the stage, I can understand everyone’s frustration and let down. It’s hard to swallow when you feel you’ve been bamboozled by someone you felt understood the common person and where they’re coming from, how a lot of them live hand to mouth, how many of them cannot afford tickets, but would still do whatever they could to get the tickets. With the economy the way it is today, it’s amazing that anyone, other than extremely wealthy people, could afford tickets. And if you bought tickets, hopefully nothing occurs in your life between now and then where you are left wondering if you made the right decision because you could have used the money you paid for Springsteen tickets for something more important. We all make choices.

There is one large factor about the Springsteen tour that nobody has seemed to have mentioned. Remember he has not been on tour for seven years. He didn’t even tour during the start of the pandemic. He was holed up in a Broadway theater, which shut down for a period of time during the start of the pandemic. He hasn’t experienced being on the road with his band, hours away from doing a show and having the drummer test positive, having to postpone or cancel a show. He hasn’t started out on a tour in early 2020 only to be shut down for a year because of the pandemic and having to have his shows rescheduled until 2021. Springsteen hasn’t experienced any of that, unless he had to cancel a Broadway show here and there. I don’t know. So there are a lot of unknowns to keep in mind. And I won’t even start with the age factor. But it’s no wonder why he was jumping on stage to perform with McCartney recently.