Spike, Cross debate ticket prices ahead of Springsteen’s latest tour

Feb 28, 2023, 11:00 AM | Updated: 11:47 am


Bruce Springsteen performs in concert during the Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band 2023 tour at the Moody Center on February 16, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images)

Climate Pledge Arena hosted Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on Monday night as one of 83 stops during an international tour — a concert Spike O’Neill, host of KIRO Nights, made sure he wouldn’t miss.

“This will be, I think, my 55th show? I’m not really certain, you lose track after so many years,” Spike said before the show Monday night. “I’m one of those people that will stop at nothing to see Bruce. He’s been a part of my life musically since I was a teenager.”

The tour began Feb. 1 in Tampa, Florida, and will stretch across the Atlantic into countries including Spain, France, Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland after completing its national dates.

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“It also gets complicated with Springsteen over the last year, it’s been very complicated to be a fan,” Charles Cross told Spike on KIRO’s Midday show. “And this tour, I have mixed feelings about, but once you buy that ticket and take that train with those artists that you discover in your youth, their music means so much to you because it’s essentially how you became an adult by listening to these records. So I’m never going to miss a Springsteen show.”

Cross is a Seattle-based music journalist who ran and edited “The Rocket” for 15 years. His 2001 biography of Kurt Cobain, titled “Heavier Than Heaven,” won the 2002 ASCAP Award for Outstanding Musical Biography.

Cross’ mixed feelings come from the dynamic pricing element of acquiring Bruce Springsteen tickets, which makes tickets vary in price driven by demand from fans, essentially creating a bidding war.

“They technically started at about $135 for nosebleeds, but basically this model, which is not Springsteen’s model, is a model that is happening all through the industry of dynamic pricing,” Cross said. “The tickets go on sale and the $135 tickets, if there’s enough demand and enough people are trying to get in, the computer automatically ups those, and those suddenly become $500 seats.”

Cross claims Springsteen’s tour was handled the worst, as there wasn’t a cap put in place for the tickets, meaning the prices began to reach exponential rates.

“When I went on to buy tickets for this, I saw seats in the second or third row, and literally, they were $5,000,” Cross said. “There are a lot of Springsteen fans that are burnt by this and feel frustrated, and I know people are not going to the show for that reason.”

But both Spike and Cross applauded the sheer amount of tours and concerts Springsteen has held, which now totals more than 3,500 different shows over a career spanning more than 50 years.

“It’s funny, when I got to see Bruce during the River Tour, which was about six years ago, I was wondering if this was going to be the last time I got to see Bruce and the E Street Band play,” Spike said. “And now I say the same thing tonight, but now it’s not that I’m worried about Bruce not making the tour. I’m worried about me not making it to another tour.”

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The E. Street band lost two members of the band within the last 15 years when keyboardist Danny Federici died in 2008, followed by saxophonist Clarence Clemons three years later.

“God bless both those guys. I knew both of them, they were great people and great players,” Cross said. “But we do have the mortality. Music becomes such a touchstone for our early lives. We go see these artists because it reminds us of when we were young. But when they die, we feel the mortality in a deeper way than we do with other people. There’s something about music that’s tied into that.”

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