When it comes to the odds of seeing the Rolling Stones live in concert, time is not on your side, so fans are shelling out big bucks to see rock's elder statesmen on their 50th anniversary tour.
The band members will earn a reported $25 million for their five-date tour, "50 Years and Counting," which kicked off with two dates in London at the end of November. The three American dates are in the New York area, beginning Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. A floor seat ticket there was $831.90, including Ticketmaster's fee of $77.40.
It's impossible to see the Stones without contemplating the passage of time. So to put the prices in perspective, consider this: A ticket to the first Rolling Stones gig at The Marquee Club in London cost 4 shillings in 1962, or about $6 in today's dollars.
Let's also look at what today's ticket sums would have purchased in the Stones' inaugural year. That floor ticket price for the Brooklyn show works out to $108.61 in 1962 dollars, which would have bought a Schwinn Super Continental 15-gear bicycle, or a Canon 8-millimeter movie camera.
Rear stage tickets billed as having "possible view obstruction" for the show sold out at $176 each, or $22.98 at 1962 values. That amount would have gotten a Magnavox transistor radio or a room for four at the Disneyland Hotel.
VIP packages at the two Newark Prudential Center shows, including such amenities as seating in the "tongue pit" closest to the stage, dinner and drinks, top out at $2,450. For the equivalent amount in 1962 dollars ($319.86), you could have flown first class from New York to Antigua, with enough bread left over to load up on smokes for the whole family for both flights and the entire vacation, or you could have bought a mod Vespa LIS 150 scooter, then stockpiled over 40 gallons of gas.
That brings us to ticket scalping. One seller on eBay offered a pair of tickets for $21,423, although they hadn't sold as of Friday. For the London shows, the highest price for a pair of tickets was £25,000 on the European ticket exchange site Seatwave, plus £4,504.99 for the site's fee, according to The Guardian.That's $47,350.76 or $6,181.86 in 1962 dollars — nearly five times what an average British worker earned that year and about 1 1/2 times the average price of a house 50 years ago.
When asked about the prices, Stones front man Mick Jagger told Billboard, "Yes, it's expensive. But most of the tickets go for a higher price than we've sold them for, so you can see the market is there. We don't participate in the profit. If a ticket costs 250 quid [$400], let's imagine, and goes for 1,000 quid [$1,600], I just want to point out that we don't get that difference."
For what it's worth, this Brooklyn-based writer and fan has never seen the Stones live, but at these prices, it might have to remain that way, as she will only pay up to $13.06 in 1962 dollars ($100) per ticket. What a drag it is when bands get old.