Music column: Because they’re worth it - or are they?

Led Zeppelin, back in their heyday, are one of many bands to reform recently.
Led Zeppelin, back in their heyday, are one of many bands to reform recently.

So Led Zeppelin did it, the Stones did it, Genesis did it, and last week Santana announced they are doing it and The Who are doing it.

They’re all cobbling together the remaining (surviving) members, wheeling them in (literally for some) and reforming or re-surfacing for one-off tours for their fans, fans that can afford it that is. So my question is, are they worth it?

The Mail's online music columnist Annie Lees, of Fleckney

The Mail's online music columnist Annie Lees, of Fleckney

Led Zeppelin really did set the benchmark for stratospheric ticket prices back in 2007, commanding £125 for a ticket. This led on to all manner of ridiculous money changing hands on third party and auction websites, in excess of £1,000 was being paid in some instances (although that is another article altogether).

So it begs the question, in a triple-dip recession, where money is not a luxury for some people and music is a staple in most people lives, how can bands justify charging these exorbitant amounts of money for tickets?

Now, I say ‘bands’ as if Robert Plant was sat on his golden throne waving his hand nonchalantly, plucking numbers out of thin air, but we all know the PR execs, the venues and the management have as much, if not more say in this matter.

But I don’t believe for one second Family Plant would starve if these prices were at least halved, and that the O2 arena would start running into disrepair should a reasonable reduction in ticket prices be introduced.

The frustration from a personal point of view is that these are bands that I have grown up with, that as a child were a staple part of my family life and that I have always been passionate about and dreamt of seeing.

My husband echoes this sentiment too. I have brought my children up with music being forefront in our home and something that is not a luxury, it is a necessity!

In December I took my (then 10-year-old) daughter to see The Black Keys, her first gig (we don’t count Miley Cyrus) and something of a milestone in my relationship with her! At £33 a ticket I winced as this 1hr 30min excursion cost me in excess of £100 for three of us. I was happy to pay but it was an extravagance I would not be committing myself to on a regular basis.

So last week The Who release tickets for the Quadrophenia tour, my husband, like a kid at Christmas, eager in anticipation of seeing his heroes of 20-plus years grace the stage, to find out tickets are £70-plus. Plus booking fee. Plus postage. For a family of three. It gets ridiculous!

I understand that the PR geniuses believe that their market may be 50-plus, possibly of bus pass-collecting age, disposable income, no ties. This is simply not the case.

In an era like this where music is so diverse, yet so streamlined through modern day outlets such as radio and music channels, I emphatically believe that it is so important that live music like this is affordable for everyone, as we are depriving our children of, what I believe, to be the crème de la crème of ‘proper’ music, and in turn they are being conditioned to liking the music that is deemed ‘popular’ by radio bosses as that is all they have access to.

Having said that, people will pay. I would pay, had the tickets for The Who not sold out by the time I got online on that morning.

I’d pay because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but I guess they know that!