As a lifelong fan, I was glad to see a few days ago that the Rolling Stones were going to be performing again in celebration of their 50th anniversary as a band, beginning with four concerts: two at London's O2 Arena in November, and two at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. I think it's good to keep doing what you do best for as long as you can, provided you can still sing and such (McCartney and Dylan, STOP). I especially liked Mick Jagger's recent appearance on SNL with Arcade Fire, and that Keith Richards is still alive at all. They seem to retain a sense of humor about it, and that is also appealing.

So I was disappointed to read this article today that outlined just how much it's gonna cost fans to see the band this year -- not surprised really, but still disappointed. Read it and weep, rockers and rockettes: for the London gig you ain't getting in the door for less than £106 ($171 U.S.) with the best option set at £406 ($655 U.S.). Daaaannnnggg. I'm not a big fan of huge arena shows to begin with, but I understand that demand is high and time is not on their sides (heh). It's cost-effective to play the monstro-gigs, and smart business to charge as much as you think people will pay.

But here's why I think it's icky:

1. I think the Rolling Stones are vastly, vastly better seen in a smaller venue. All the giant stage shows they've produced over the years mean nothing to me, for this is a band with the most humble of roots: a bunch of pale, underfed, post-WWII earnest British music nerd kids trying to play the blues. To get too far away from this is to get too far away from what actually made them cool, and gives them their best light. Put them on a club stage, and they come to life. At a big arena, their energy is dissipated and made into overblown theater. Having seen the Rolling Stones in a big venue, I can tell you that all I can recall about the event is Jagger's bright yellow football pants. Consider this when you bring out your wallet.

2. All of the Rolling Stones are very wealthy men, but the world is in an economic recession. The general mood out there is not one to be delighted to part with several hundred dollars (or more) to see a band, even an important band. Will these shows sell out at these prices? Yes, and scalpers will get monumental prices from people thinking that surely this will be the last time, too. But it's kind of a graceless move on the Stones' part. At these prices, you are cutting out a lot of die-hard fans that simply can't responsibly justify maybe going delinquent on a bill payment to see a rock band, or wanting to take their kids to see the Stones, but would have to give up the family's one-week vacation or holiday savings. That's where we're at. That's reality. But they will fill the arenas anyway, with Chad Trustfunddouche in the front row with some trophy girl who doesn't know a single Stones song, and Joe Mainstreetexile cheering from the nosebleed seats while his car runs out of gas on the way home. At the very least, when a band is changing this kind of money, I want to see them link up with a charity and see that a BIG FAT CHUNK of the profits are going there. Something.

I don't know yet whether or not the Stones will be touring next year here in Seattle, but I guess if they do, I'll have some thinking to do about whether or not I believe I would or should pay those kind of ticket prices. Something I do know: it sure takes a lot of the fun out of it all, and that's a shame.