How Badly Do I Want To See Van Halen?

Like everyone else I was stoked when Van Halen finally announced “A Different Kind of Truth“, their long-awaited new album with original singer David Lee Roth. But even more amazing than the first new music with Roth on vocals in 28 years was the bands plan to embark on a tour to support the new record.

I never had the opportunity to see Van Halen with either of its two singers, Roth or Sammy Hagar (I don’t count the Gary Cherone “experiment”). And even though original bassist Michael Anthony would not be taking part I still wanted to hear Eddie shred on Eruption and experience “Jamie’s Cryin”, “Ain’t Talking Bout Love” and “Hot for Teacher”. I mean, let’s face it, Eddie Van Halen is one of the few remaining Guitar Gods. I had to see him and pay homage.

All the while I was consuming myself with the thought of seeing Van Halen for the first time a little voice inside my head was telling me that I had better hurry up and order a ticket. For if the past is any indication, I’m quite certain that it’s only a matter of time before the devil they’ve been running with inevitably rears his ugly head again and breaks up the band again. So time was indeed of the essence.

I was very excited to discover that the band would be making a stop in Philadelphia on March 5th and so I immediately grabbed my credit card and proceeded to the ComCast Tix website to make my purchase.

Since I ‘d be going alone I didn’t really care where I sat. I noticed that the cheapest ticket available online was in the upper bleachers for $49.50. That sounded good enough to me so I added the ticket to my shopping cart and proceeded on to the next screen.

“Uhm… excuse me, is there something wrong here? There must be some mistake.”

I was greeted by a screen that told me that the $49.50 ticket I was about to purchase would also require me to pay a “fee” of $11 and another $5 “order charge”. What these so-called “fee” and “order” charges were wasn’t explained but suddenly my ticket cost had gone up to $65.50 (a 32% increase).

As the blood pressure started to rise I was able to calm myself by singing out loud some possible Van Halen songs I’d hear: “Might as well JUMP! JUMP!”…. “PA-NAH-MA!”…”Daaaance The Night Away!”….That seemed to work although my dogs, which were within earshot of me in the living room, made a bee line for the exits. My confidence had been restored.

I was next asked by the website if I’d like to purchase advance parking for the event ahead of time. “Yes, I guess that makes sense”, I said to myself as I clicked on the link.

My cart was immediately updated and now things were beginning to get a bit out of hand. Parking for the show would be $25 and, you guessed it, that cost did not include another additional $2.25 “fee” bringing the total for my original $49.50 cheap-seat ticket to see Van Halen to a whopping $92.75. Beg pardon Comcast, but you do realize that now I am paying almost double the cost of what my ticket is worth don’t you?

But if you thought it ended there, wait….there’s more!

I had the ticket and parking covered but now the question was: how did I want to receive my one SINGLE paper ticket? My choices ranged from an additional $2.75 just for the opportunity to print the ticket out at home up to a $19 charge for express delivery.

After adding everything together, including the mandatory toll charges to and from the event, I concluded that the cost for me to go by myself to see Van Halen in Philadelphia with a $49.50 ticket was going to be over $100. I clicked “Cancel” on the transaction screen.

The more I think about it, the angrier I become. Not at Van Halen mind you. My issue is with these outrageous parking fees and the Comcast Tix, Ticketmaster and Live Nation sites who are supposed to be doing service to the fans but instead wind up screwing them with fees. It’s frustrating to essentially have to pay double the price printed on a ticket just to see the show.

Worse still, it makes me do something else I’ve never done before besides see Van Halen. It’s made me start to second guess just how badly I want to see a concert.

And shame on these ticket outlet sites and venues for making me feel that way.

4 thoughts on “How Badly Do I Want To See Van Halen?”

  1. The price for these tickets for the cheap seats was enough to give you a nose bleed, huh? I saw Van Halen at The Monsters of Rock tour at JFK Stadium (when there was a JFK Stadium) in Philadelphia. June 11, 1988, it was Van Halen (with Sammy), Scorpions, Dokken, Metallica, and Kingdom Come. My (future) wife and I went with one of her friends. We were down on the stage level, and we worked our way up to about 50 feet from the stage, fighting the (drunk) crowd to get there. It was an awesome day. In fact, the Scorpions were so good that we went to see them the same year when they came to the Allentown Fair. I don’t fit in the tour shirt anymore; I think it shrunk…lol. But, my daughter still has it.

    1. Sounds like a was a great show. My first concert ever was the Scorpions in 1984. They had some new band named Bon Jovi that opened for them Still not sure what ever became of them. I heard they were pretty good. But they got booed off the stage that night.

  2. Agreed, the prices are insane…even more so here in the NY area. But as much as I hate ticketmaster, they’re not the only ones taking a piece of the pie. Read this great article by Bob Lefsetz, music analyst, some great insights.

    Everyone down the line needs to realize there is just so much cash to go around. So instead of seeing five shows, I’m seeing maybe two or three. And the first tier artists like Springsteen & VH, are off the radar with what it would cost. Good fortune for some second tier acts, to be sure…cause that’s where my money is going.


    1. It’s gotten way out of hand. I don’t remember EVER having to think twice about seeing a show. If it was $20 to see a show that’s how much it was. I remember back in the 80’s seeing REO/Survivor (greatest concert EVER); Night Ranger; AC/DC; RATT; Poison and Bon Jovi (all within a span of a year) and never had to worry about mowing any extra lawns or begging my parents to take out a second mortgage just so I could go to a concert.

      “Maybe” there was a charge to park (a few dollars at most) but there was never any of this “Facility” fee stuff. The worst one of all is that effing “convenience” fee they use – just to obtain the ticket it costs you $3 (on top of everything else).

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