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When the Levee Breaks

I was talking to a musician friend of mine this week, a guy who has played some pretty big events in his life. We were discussing our amazement at how the selling of tickets to concerts or sporting events is now almost completely in the hands of ticket re-sellers, parasites who mark them up skyward in order to take a bite out of the disposable income of them that got.

This reminded me of the time my wife and I went to see Led Zeppelin back home in Ohio. First off, the tickets were less than ten dollars apiece. We had four, two for us and two for another couple. The week before the show, the other couple had to cancel so I asked WMMS-FM to announce that there were two free tickets for Led Zeppelin available. We got a zillion calls and someone came over that night to get them. Seemed like a cool guy and we did that invisible music head handshake when I handed them over. “See you this weekend,” I said. “We’ll have a bottle.”

We got to the concert (the infamous Richfield Riot show) and I looked over at the man and woman sitting in our other seats. Who are these people?

“Where’s Ronnie?” I asked.

“Who’s that?” was the reply.

I was so naïve. I had no idea there was such a thing as re-selling tickets. Now, my musician friend informs me, ringside tickets for the August 26 Floyd Mayweather–Colin McGregor fight are re-selling for $60,000 each and rising. Seats two thirds of the way back are $13,000.

The Led Zeppelin show was great. If I had $60,000 extra, I would gladly have paid it. The chances the Mayweather-McGregor fight will be great? Less than zero.

Caveat emptor.

Lee Ballinger, CounterPunch’s music columnist, is co-editor of Rock and Rap Confidential author of the forthcoming book Love and War: My First Thirty Years of Writing, interviewed Honkala for CounterPunch. RRRC is now available for free by emailing Ballinger at: rockrap@aol.com.

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