Jukebox: SPAC shows come with familiar sticker shock

Mountain Snow Orchestra at The Egg Friday
Multi-instrumentalists John Kirk and Trish Miller.
Multi-instrumentalists John Kirk and Trish Miller.

Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s early announcement of five concerts brings fans’ excitement, but also sticker shock that began when the Eagles broke the $100 barrier there in 1994.

Dead & Co. return next June 18, 37 years to the day after the Grateful Dead’s SPAC debut. Tickets for 2019 cost $175.50 to $49.50; tickets for the Dead & Co. at SPAC this past June went for $149.50 to $45.50.

Train, the Goo Goo Dolls and Allen Stone play SPAC next June 26. Tickets are $125 to $22. When Train played SPAC in June 2017 with Natasha Bedingfield and O.A.R., tickets cost $222 to $18.

Hootie and the Blowfish play SPAC next Aug. 4 with Barenaked Ladies. Tickets are $139 to $22. They haven’t toured in a decade, so clear comparison is impossible.
Kiss plays next Aug. 24; tickets cost $1,020 (likely a VIP package with meet-and-greet) to $39. When Kiss played SPAC in August 2014 with Def Leppard, tickets cost $149.50 to $29.50.

Ticket price jumps reflect national trends and are not new.

In July, Pollstar reported the average price of a concert ticket during the first six months of the year was $46.69, 4.2 percent higher than the previous year. In 2016,

The Fader reported average ticket prices overall rose 20 percent from 2010 to 2015.

When we looked at concert trends in January, the reasons seemed clear. “The top 10 percent of artists make money selling records. The rest go on tour,” Scott Welch (who manages singers Alanis Morissette and LeAnn Rimes) told ABC News.

“Agents [who represent artists] have said the same thing over the last 24 months or so,” Bob Belber at the Times Union Center confirmed. “Record sales have dropped. … Artists are finding that to keep their lifestyle and keep their revenue, they have to tour,” said Belber, SMG regional general manager and SMG Northeast Region director of live entertainment.

In this context, ticket price jumps at SPAC next summer don’t seem out of line.

For reference, the face value on my press ticket for the Rolling Stones at the Times Union Center (one of just four press tickets) read $351.

Friday, the Mountain Snow Orchestra plays The Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany). Built by the now-retired Chris Shaw and Bridget Ball for seasonal musical might and comic craziness, the orchestra is singer-songwriter Kevin McKrell, percussionist Brian Melick, and multi-instrumentalists John Kirk and Trish Miller; Miller also dances up a storm. 8 p.m. $25. 518-473-1845 www.theegg.org

Kirk and Miller lead their own holiday folk show Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon at Caffe Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs) with former Gazette illustrator, now political cartoonist and longtime banjoist David Kiphuth, Addie & Olin and Sara Milonovich. Longtime stage-mates in many a folk revue, they’ll lead sing-alongs with good-humored dazzle. 8 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. $18 advance, $20 door, $10 students and children. 518-583-0022 www.caffelena.org

In what may sound like an anti-holiday show, Hamell on Trial plays the Low Beat (335 Central Ave., Albany) on Wednesday in what he calls “Winter Storm Warning,” subtitled “Peace on Earth Blah Blah Blah … ” Maybe the most viscerally, thematically and humorously powerful troubadour who’s ever lived here, Hamell is unprecedented. 7 p.m. $10. 518-432-6572 www.thelowbeat.com

To get you in the holiday mood, the Parish Public House (388 Broadway, Albany) presents “Funk Night Xmas: Ugly Sweater Party & Jam for Tots Toys Drive” tonight.

An all-star, jam-capable crew rocks the place and collects Toys for Tots: singer Hayley Jane (the Primates); keyboardist Beau Sasser and bassist Chris DeAngelis (both of Kung Fu); guitarist Justin Hendricks (Wurliday); trombonist Bryan Brundige and trumpeter Phil Chow (both of the Chronicles). 9 p.m. $15. 518-465-0444 www.parishpublichouse.com

The Caffe’s weekend starts tonight with a non-holiday show by troubadour Griffin House. A Midwesterner transplanted to Nashville, he sings on his recent “So On and So Forth” album about family, sobriety and creativity. 7 p.m. $22, $25, $12.50

Next up, singer-songwriter Ana Egge, hailed as folk’s Nina Simone, celebrates her new album “White Tiger” on Friday, singing and playing a guitar she crafted herself. “She takes your breath away. I just love her,” says fellow troubadour Shawn Colvin. 8 p.m. $18, $20, $10

Saturday, Brazilian jazz singer-songwriter Bebel Gilberto sings at The Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany). The daughter of singers Joao Gilberto and Miucha (born with the imposing name Heloisa Maria Buarque de Hollanda, she’s the sister of three singers), Bebel Gilberto has released seven albums since 1983, singing in English and Portuguese in a light but expressive voice with the sweet charm of a graceful bossa nova feel. 8 p.m. $34.50

Categories: Entertainment

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