Which live events are worth the money?

by L

EXPERIENCES. Which experiences are “worth it” to you? Totebaggers may disagree on whether the following are worth spending money on:

  • Concerts (non-classical).  For this Totebagger, concerts are uniformly not worth it:  too expensive, too LOUD, and too late at night.  I have only been to a handful during my life, and found the Depeche Mode one the best.  (I saw U2 in 2001, and Bono was unfortunately flat during many of the songs!)
  • Concerts (classical).  Definitely worth it, but at choral concerts I find myself wishing I was performing instead of watching/listening.
  • Opera – Nope, unless one of my friends is performing.
  • Ballet – yes for the Nutcracker or similar fairy tale; for the modern ballets, I would go more if I had a non-DH friend to go with.
  • Broadway musicals.  Worth it!  I plan to see “Hamilton” later this year.
  • Plays.  YAWN, except for comedies (“Noises Off” and similar).
  • Live sports.  Pass, other than the Red Sox once a year.
  • Kid shows (Disney on Ice and similar).  We have so far managed to avoid going to these!

What about other Totebaggers? I know some of you are bigger sports fans than I! What is the most you have ever spent on a live event ticket? My max is $150.

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204 thoughts on “Which live events are worth the money?

  1. I was looking for tickets to see The Sound of Music when it’s in Boston. $460! For $460 I better be getting a lap dance from Julie friken’ Andrews.

  2. When we were DINKs, DW and I probably saw about 20-30 Broadway plays and musicals. At least half were through TKTS, but we paid more for shows like “Wicked.” It seems like the prices now are even more insane.

    We’ve done Disney on Ice with the kids once when DW found a great discount on really good seats. They loved it.

    And I would definitely pay to see the Opry again. Their format in which you see about 12 different singers or groups in one night is phenomenal.

    I might go to one college football game a year, but that’s more social than actually caring about the event.

  3. I like to see as many concerts (rock) and Broadway musicals (tours) as I can. Since having DS, we are lucky to get to 1 or 2 a year (if that).

    Live sports – not too into, but have been to a couple Purdue football games and an IU basketball game. We go to the local baseball team (lower level ,than say, the Reds)

    Kids- we took DS to Yo Gabba Live a couple years ago, it was fun!

  4. We did the circus with the kids when they were younger. Pre-kids we went to the rodeo (mainly for the concert built in) as the sound was not overly loud in the venue. Have been to a few concerts, but only enjoyed a few – again mainly due to being too loud and without taking the next morning off, too late.

    I enjoy ballet periodically, but currently have no one to go with. Opera – no; Musicals – sometimes. Sports – almost never.

    Often these things are in my town for a very short time and with kids schedules it is often hard to get it all in. Now that we don’t have to add the sitter cost in too (kids old enough to stay alone at home) we are starting to consider more live events.

  5. I’ve only been to the Ballet a couple times (Nutcracker a few years back and last year went to see Cinderella- both times with DH). I really enjoy it. Not really DH’s thing.

    With time and money trade offs- would generally prefer seeing musical theater versus classical concert, ballet, or plays, but I enjoy all of the above.

    With unlimited funds and no babysitter needed (and someone to go with) I’d get annual tickets to the ballet, orchestra, Actors and the B-way series.

  6. I actually don’t find any live events worth the money, I find them all boring. I don’t even like to go to the movies. I like baseball games if the seats are close or you’re in a box and can move around.

    We take the kids to the Puppetry Arts Center occasionally and took our oldest to see Peter Pan and the Nutcracker, but once was enough for me. My oldest now goes to a lot of theater stuff for field trips so I feel like she’s still getting some occasional culture.

  7. I love going to live events. I am at the point in life where I am willing to pay to get good seats, especially since the “cheap” tickets aren’t all that cheap for a lot of things. The most I’ve ever spent on a ticket is $325 about 15 years ago when the Jets were in the AFC championship against the Broncos. It was literally 2 weeks after I moved to Denver so I figured it was fate. Of course the Jets lost.

    More recently, I paid a bit over $200 a ticket to take DS to the Nebraska-Michigan State game last November for his birthday. I also paid over $200 a ticket to take DW to see Billy Joel and Elton John a while back.

    Concerts (non-classical): If someone I really want to see, I’ll pay $100-150, especially if it’s something that I think will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Fleetwood Mac fell into this category last year. If it’s something I’m taking the kids to that I’m not all that interested in (Taylor Swift), I will go for cheaper seats.

    Concerts (classical): No interest at all.

    Opera: Less interest than classical music.

    Ballet: We took the kids to the Nutcracker once. They have no interest in going again and neither do we.

    Broadway musicals: Yes, but the cheap seats. The cheap seats at the theater are pretty good.

    Plays: Not the big productions but there are some local quirky theater groups in town that are fun to see. There’s on that performs in a carpet store.

    Live sports: Absolutely. My teams don’t come to town all that often, so I’ll pay for really good seats. If it’s teams I’m not interested but the kids want to go (most Rockies games for example) I’ll pay for decent seats but not great ones. I scored a great deal on a Nuggets game next month through a promotion they are having with Denver Public Schools – $37 for lower level center court seats. I have zero interest in the Nuggets, but DS loves going to any sporting event any time, and I figured we’ll never get a chance to get seats like that again.

    Kid shows (Disney on Ice and similar): Our kids are past the point now, but we saw the Wiggles several times and some of the Disney shows. We paid for good seats but they weren’t overly expensive.

  8. DH really enjoys live sports/concerts, and We probably go to 1-2 adult concerts a year. He goes to a few NFL games with his brother or friends, and a handful of other major league games (he gets invited about once a month for work).

    We’ve done a couple of kids’ shows (Sesame Street live, steve songs) after buying discounted tix through Groupon. In both cases, our elder 2 (preschooler and toddler) LOVED it and talked about it for weeks after, so I would be happy to do those again.

  9. Concerts – I’ve only been to Springsteen, which was worth it (my date paid for the tickets, so no idea what that cost). I don’t like crowds, though.

    Plays – Paul Newman was worth watching in Our Town. Most recent plays are too leftist for me.

    Opera – DH won’t go.

    Ballet – not for me, I spend too much time thinking about how much the dancers’ feet must hurt and if any of them ever crack and eat a nice lasagna.

    Musicals – used to have to go for recruiting for work, so they became a chore. I like watching them on TV.

    Live sports – Baseball games with the family. Otherwise I get enough live sports chauffeuring DD around.

    Kids’ shows – Only if it’s free.

  10. the most I’ve probably spent on a live event would be around $75, I think John Lennon or David Bowie would need to come back from the dead for me to pay more than that in today’s money

    I’ve spent about $300 for a weekend musical festival, but it was definitely worth it, went to Bonnaroo (TN) several times, music from Thurs-Sun. Big names plus learning about new bands and it was our “vacation” that year

  11. The events I have gone to most in recent years are plays put on by the Children’s Theatre. The tickets are reasonable, parking isn’t a problem and there are Saturday or Sunday afternoon shows which worked perfectly for us. We have also seen kid favored ballets like Cinderella and Nutcracker. We are yet to go to a minor league baseball game here. The new stadium is small, tickets are inexpensive and it is a family outing. Same with the hockey and basketball teams. The football team now is another story. My favorite live concert was Aerosmith. I haven’t yet been asked by my kids to take them to a tween concert.

  12. ◾Concerts (non-classical). We’ll go to Springsteen, but otherwise no
    ◾Concerts (classical). We’ve subscribed to the Philharmonic both in LA (where we went with another couple and we were the youngest 4 non-music-students in the audience) and here for several years pre-kids. Then I tired of it and we switched to…
    ◾Plays at the regional actors’ equity theatre. To which we subscribed for about 10 years then they moved their curtain times 30 mins earlier during the week…(to accommodate the seniors who make up most of their audience/subscription base) we liked to go on Weds ; they weren’t going to change for the one complainer (me), so we dropped them. I like plays and they had a variety of them comedies, dramas, musicals, new, old but the timing didn’t work. Now that it’s been off the schedule for a while, it’ll take effort to go again.
    ◾Opera / Ballet – no. just not fans.
    ◾Broadway musicals. If we’re in NYC we’ll go to one. When the roadshows come here we’ll go to some (Book of Mormon is the most recent). We’ve seen Lion King at various kid ages here, Times Square, Toronto.
    ◾Live sports. Baseball mostly, although sometimes NHL games. I’ve bought ~15 or 20 game strips to Toronto Blue Jays in some past seasons; we’ll see some games (youngest is a Yankees fan and it’s a lot easier/cheaper to see them in Toronto than the Bronx) and I’ll sell some on Stubhub.
    ◾Kid shows. Yeah, we did these. Big picture, like many “special” things done for kids, is that the money probably could have been better spent, insofar as those did not seem to create lasting memories.

  13. Wine – yeah we’ll go see our local Bats-level team a few times a year. Those are fun.

  14. The best show I ever saw was Starlight Express when I was 7.5. I sat right next to one of the skating ramps and it was AWESOME. Also awesome was the fact that I got to eat ice cream in the theatre.

    Closely followed by Les Mis (I have seen 3x), which is probably my favorite show musically-speaking, and Book of Mormon (cried laughing).

  15. I think the Globetrotters are worth it. If your kids like basketball taking them when they’re tweens is fun.

  16. It is definitely worth it to pay to see performers about whose music I am passionate. I’m very excited about going to a concert in NYC next week, but as usual I’m left with lingering doubt about whether I got the best deal for my money. I’ve found it takes work and/or sophisticated knowledge (or a big wallet) to get good seats for bigger concerts.

    Last year I fumbled big when I tried to get tickets to a big concert. Ticket sales were first opened to certain credit card holders and fan club members, and in that panicked scramble I barely managed to get nosebleed seats. Later on closer to the concert date, I saw better StubHub tickets that were priced not much more that what I had already paid. I bought those, and tried unsuccessfully to sell my original tickets. So for next week’s concert, I don’t think I’ll have the stomach to check StubHub over the next few days.

    BTW, I did check to see other venues for next week performer. This was discussed recently here. I could have gotten better seats (I think) for about one-third the price of NYC tickets if I was willing to drive about 70 miles away. However, I did not want to risk snowy weather ruining my plans, plus I did consider that maybe NYC’s performance may be more exciting.

  17. Sports–we share MLB season tickets. They are very good seats, so we usually take friends. We used to have NFL season tickets but dropped them when the price got insane. Occasional college basketball games.
    Live concerts–one word, Springsteen. Won’t pay to see anyone else.
    Ballet, opera–season tickets to both, we go with friends.
    Symphony–used to have season tickets pre kids, may start up again when DS is gone.

    Plays/live shows–only when we make plans with friends.

  18. L — How far in advance did you get your Hamilton tickets? From what I’ve seen, they’re sold out until at least later this year. After you submitted your post, I decided to try their lottery every day and see if I could score $10 last-minute tickets.

  19. and Book of Mormon (cried laughing).

    I was a bit disappointed with it. Probably because there was so much hype that it could never live up to the expectations. It was a good show, but I thought Spamalot was better.

    I think the Globetrotters are worth it. If your kids like basketball taking them when they’re tweens is fun.

    I agree, although the key is to try to see them in a small arena. Whenever they come here, they play at the Pepsi Center (the major 20,000 seat arena) and the 1st Bank Center (a much smaller 9,000 seat arena). The worst seats at the 1st Bank Center are the equivalent of lower-level seats at the Pepsi Center, so you are much closer to the court. We’ve seen them at both places and it’s a much better experience in the smaller arena.

  20. some of the best musical theatre I’ve seen – Les Mis, Miss Saigon, Evita, Pippin, Lion King, Sweeney Todd, Titanic, Jekyll & Hyde, Little Shop of Horrors

  21. L – If you ever want a buddy for the modern performances of Boston Ballet, I’m in! I love ballet more than any other art form, but DH and DS are uninterested, and DD is a little young for the contemporary shows. (But I’m taking her to see Swan Lake in May.)

    I really like going to live concerts at small venues. In the past couple of years, DH and I have seen Chris Isaak, Emmylou Harris, and Mary Chapin Carpenter at venues in our area that seat only a few hundred people. I have no interest in going to concerts at big venues or stadiums.

    Fred — We’re actually going to see the Globetrotters in a few weeks at the TD Garden in Boston. My DD is going to be in a halftime show! (Her PE teacher runs a basketball-skills program for third graders, and the group got invited to perform at one of the Globetrotters shows.)

  22. I think DW and I are the only people who have been disappointed by a Springsteen concert. The first time we saw him, around 2000, we loved it. We saw him again around 2010, and we were very disappointed. I think a lot of it was that he played mostly stuff from post-2000, which we were unfamiliar with. I passed on the tickets for the upcoming show that just went on sale last week. I know he’s playing the River in its entirety so it will be more familiar songs to me, but I just couldn’t do it after last time.

    I do give him a lot of credit for selling the tickets close to the actually concert date (it’s less than two months). I got Maroon 5 tickets 11 months before the show. It’s absurd.

  23. Wine — My husband, who generally is not a fan of musicals at all, LOVES Jesus Christ Superstar. He frequently puts his soundtrack CD (which he’s had forever) into our player, and blasts it at full volume. I’m sure he would want to go to that show if it ever came around again.

  24. -Sounders (our local MLS soccer team) – we have season tickets; go to about half the games and sell about half the games.

    -concerts at small or outdoor venues where the tickets are under $50. I don’t like seeing people in large venues and I am not willing to pay more than $50 a ticket.

    -local theater.

    -I generally don’t but tickets for Kid shows for kids less than 5 years old but the tickets are more than $15. The kids won’t remember the show.

    -I did once take DD to a Disney on Ice show and thought it was really well done and worth the money -this would be an exception to several of my previously stated rules :-)

  25. How much does the venue factor in to whether or not you’ll go to a show?

    For DW and me, the main factor is if it’s at Red Rocks, in which case we won’t go unless it’s someone we really, really want to see. I know it’s blasphemy to say this in Colorado, but IMO, Red Rocks is one of the worst places to go to a concert I’ve ever been to. The setting is great, but aside from that, it’s a nightmare. Unless you get there 2-3 hours early, parking is awful and you have to hike up the mountain. They seating is very uncomfortable (wood benches with no backs). There are people smoking all through the show (tobacco and pot) and security won’t do a thing about it.

    My favorite concert venue is Fiddler’s Green, which is one of those outdoor places with seating up front and the grassy area in the back. It’s in a neighborhood so they have a hard 10:30 curfew on weeknights and 11:00 on weekends, and it’s 10 minutes from our house so I know we’re going to get home at a reasonable time.

  26. I love going to musicals. Since having kids most live shows are limited to what the local children’s theatre puts on (but I find those very enjoyable). My kids love going. Occasionally we go to a Disney on Ice. I find them painful, but my kids love it. In a few months we are going to see Wild Kratts. I’m looking forward to that, but was disappointed in the cost of the tickets, mainly the service fees!

    I also love going to live sporting events of my alma mater, and baseball games on a perfect summer day. Other than that, I’m not really interested in seeing sporting event in person. TV is fine for that.

    I won’t go to live concerts anymore. Too much money.

  27. venue definitely matters

    we can get tickets for smaller acts for $15-20, but there is no seating and it kills my back to stand for an entire show these days (hell, 10 years ago it did too).

    I will endure it if it is someone I really want to see, or I’ll pay it and know ahead that I won’t be staying the entire show

  28. I didn’t realize this but older kid who is in band will get opportunities to perform at various local sporting events. So that is one way that he will get to see events.

  29. “There are people smoking all through the show (tobacco and pot) and security won’t do a thing about it.”
    probably a feature for many

  30. I have great memories of seeing Jackson 5, Bruce Springsteen, etc. in my youth. Before kids, we went to a lot of concerts and enjoyed them. Same for Broadway shows (always bought tickets at TKTS). It was a tradition when I lived in NYC to see the Radio City Christmas Show every year. Loved it.

    Now, we don’t do as much–tickets have gotten insane and there are fewer bands that I want to see. I want to see Hamilton, but I’m not sure I want to pay the ticket price for Hamilton.

    My parents used to have really, really good Cowboys season tickets, when the Cowboys were in Texas Stadium. Haven’t been to a game in 20 years, though.

  31. I don’t like concert-level volume, and DH hates crowds, so we don’t go to many concerts, other than things like The Chieftains or other non-rock groups. I have taken my daughter to a couple pop bands at an outdoor theatre, so the volume was not annoying. Although pricey, I’d like to see Garth Brooks in person. My DH would have no interest, but my friends would want to go.

    This weekend we are going to Cirque de Soleil. One of my kids really like it as a younger child, so it’s become like a family thing we do every year. Walking out last year, my son put his arm around me and thanked me for getting the tickets, saying he really enjoyed it. So, worth the price. We occasionally do Nutcracker, but haven’t gone to many plays in the last decade. I like to go to 1-2 college football games, but that is a whole fun weekend event.

    We used to go to symphony performances where we lived before Houston because everything was cheaper and more easily accessible and our schedules were light.

  32. The waterfront here puts on free concerts through the summer. These are a lot of fun. Smaller names, saw Dawes there before they got to be a bigger name

  33. Broadway shows, particularly in their home theaters in NYC – yes.

    UNC Basketball games – OMG yes.

    College football – yes if the weather’s good

  34. I love live performances, and I don’t think I’ve ever regretted when we’ve decided to pony up for tickets. We don’t do a lot of concerts these days because there are few bands I want to see badly enough to pay the premiums, fight the crowds, and deal with all the smoke and shoving; not to mention I haven’t wanted to deal with panicked rushes at Ticketmaster. My ears apparently can’t take the noise as much either, and it feels ridiculous to me to pay a small fortune and then wander with earplugs being elbowed and coughing on smoke. Smaller venues with live music are always a treat, though. Musicals are great, and tickets for Cirque du Soleil were worth the premium.

    We did Disney on Ice once, and to celebrate one child’s birthday we got tickets to see Bad Kitty on stage. I find most of the kid-oriented ticket stuff to be reasonable, and a good experience for them. We also paid once for some crazy, animatronic dinosaurs in a stadium thing last year that was overpriced for what it was, but surprisingly we all had a great time and the kids were super impressed.

    We’ve seen the Nutcracker a couple of times, but we aren’t big into ballet or opera. I found a local venue that does classical music, but does a short “lecture” before the performance telling us about the music and the musicians. I don’t know a lot about classical music, so I feel like a little bit of knowledge makes the performances more interesting and fun.

    We had a great StubHub experience recently. My DH bought tickets for a local NBA team. (I think those were $200 each? Ridiculous to my ears, but he wants very little and this made him super happy, so I roll with it.) There was some problem with the seats, so StubHub gave him a different set of tickets– way better seats– for what he’d already paid. I’m so pleased with their customer service on this one that they’ve gotten some loyalty.

  35. I’ve never regretted the money spent on the shows I’ve seen, but I do regret missing some concerts when I wanted to save the money

  36. -Concerts (non-classical). Yes. Jimmy Buffet still on my list, but I will see Springsteen again, Bon Jovi, Imagine Dragons, Barenaked Ladies, and a few others. DH and I do our best to keep to a short list so we’re more willing to spend money.
    -Concerts (classical). Would do it for the philharmonic and the Pops. Take my mom only, DH gets annoying at these things. Haven’t done it in about a decade and a half though.
    -Opera – Nope. Don’t like it.
    -Ballet – never been a fan, but I’m willing to be converted.
    -Broadway musicals. Absolutely worth it. I’ve seen nearly 30 shows, with a slow down when we moved out of the NYC metro area. Now we pick up shows on tour and it’s great (cheaper for better seats). I just took my mom to Cinderella and she loved it.
    -Plays. I like comedies… usually reserve these to support friends.
    -Live sports. Bring it on. We love hockey (see below), and will go when we can get tickets (we tend to hit PVD Bruins games quite frequently because they are local and cheap). I’m not a fan of baseball, but I will go for DH (and bring a book, or something to do). Never been to a football game. Would love to go to a MLS game one day.
    -Kid shows (Disney on Ice and similar). Not there yet… DS doesn’t know the difference between Disney and Warner Bros – he just likes the moving pictures.

    The most expensive ticket I’ve purchased has been near the $100 per seat mark. Though that is slowly rising – higher income, less resistance to getting good seats and paying for them factor in. Now, I’ve been gifted some amazing tickets to hockey games – 4th row behind the visitor’s bench for a NJ Devils game ($150+ per seat); Club level at a NJ Devils game ($200+ per seat); 100 level (~10 rows behind the goal Rangers attacked twice) at MSG for a Rangers game ($250-300+ per seat).

    Venue – like others, I like the smaller venues. Foxwoods and Mohegan have nice medium sized venues – perfect for some bands. I’ve spent similar amounts to be a hundred yards away at an arena as I do at Foxwoods where I’m ~100 feet from the stage.

    Where do live stage shows fall in? We’ve seen Cosby live, a bunch of other comedians over the years, etc. This year we are going to see Alton Brown’s Food Science show. I love those kind of shows and go when we can get tickets.

  37. I saw Buffet about 2 years ago. The tailgate was better than the concert. Jimmy was ok, but he seemed to just be going through the motions.

    Favorite show ever: Manilow in a very small theater (100 people). WONDERFUL.

  38. The tailgate was better than the concert.

    That’s the real show. The actual concert is almost an afterthought.

  39. “Jimmy was ok, but he seemed to just be going through the motions.”

    Like on this past NYE TV concert.

  40. I used to go see a lot of live bands when I was younger, but I always despised arena concerts. I mostly did those in high school when there wasn’t much in the way of options. I was always a rock club goer. Even those, looking back, were largely horrible places. I remember one place in NYC that I went to a lot where I was always convinced, crammed into a wooden balcony, that if the place caught fire no one would get out. I went to the legendary CBGBs a number of times, but usually tried to avoid it if I could. The sightlines were horrifyingly bad and to get to the bathroom, you had to shove to the very front of the stage.

    I love going to see ethnic folk musicians play, especially if out of doors. We always go to a festival in June that has a lot of world music. I love opera, to the point where we used to have season tickets. Ballet can be OK. But I detest Broadway musicals – though I would love to see Hamilton (but there are no tickets) and might try to get tickets to Fiddler on the Roof.

    And that leads to a question – how does one get tickets for shows like Fiddler on the Roof?

  41. The only concerts we’ve gone to over the last few years were for work events for DH (so free). We did see Buffett (it rained so not that fun) and Diana Krall/Elvis Costello. These were all outdoor concerts which I like better.

    We went to see Ben Harper and Jack Johnson a bunch of times before kids and Pearl Jam once (DH is the fan). But I find the parking and the logistics of concert going to be an ordeal.

    DH used to work with a woman whose husband had 2nd row seats behind home plate at Turner Field so we would buy them when the Red Sox were in town. Those games were fun but it makes it hard to go on your own now and sit far away. We went to a NHL game once when Atlanta had a team and that was actually pretty fun. DH is a Penguins fan and they were playing. I went to an NBA game once in Charlotte with DH’s law school roommate who had his firm’s box that night and didn’t mind that (but again, free).

  42. @Rhett – do they still have the Comedy Club at Fanueil Hall ? We used to love going to those shows.

    My kids have liked going to the performances I have taken them to. Now, that older kid is playing in band, he has more of an appreciation for the music, which I don’t have.

  43. We were supposed to take the kids to see La Boheme a couple of weeks ago but it got snowed out :-(

    We also go to hockey games about twice a year, and baseball maybe once. I am always shocked by the cost though. How do people afford to go more often?

    We saw several Wiggles shows back in the day, and ENJOYED them. Seriously. We also met the Wiggles at the hospital once. DS was too out of it on pain meds to know what was going on, but DH enjoyed chatting with Greg.

  44. I LOVE almost all live events. A good portion of my budget goes to college football and basketball season tickets, plus the annual donation required for the privilege to get priority seating. Before DD came along, we also spent a lot on travel and tickets for away games & bowl games. Still hope to get to the ACC & NCAA basketball tournaments someday.

    Live music depends on the artist, and I have been lucky to see some great concerts. Jimmy Buffet is pretty much dialing it in these days, but the music and audience are fun so it’s worth it. I’m planning to see Dave Matthews Band this summer – started seeing them in small venues back in the early 90’s when they were local and they always put on an awesome show. One of my favorite shows ever was Billy Joel & Elton John, because I love piano, but the most amazing concert experience was probably U2’s ZooTV tour in 1992. My least favorite was probably Maroon 5 – I love the band but the live performance was boring. At least that was a free ticket when I worked a golf tournament. I was also disappointed with Bon Jovi and suprised at how much fun Rod Stewart was at another year’s golf tournament concert series.

    I also enjoy most musical theatre, classical music (orchestras or small groups), opera, ballet, Cirque du Soleil, etc. I’m willing to pay big bucks for special performances, but I also enjoy cheap & free student productions and community theatre.

    My parents’ new hobby in retirement is volunteering as ushers in their city’s theater system. They have been able to see for free countless shows they never would have bought tickets for – comedians, celebrity chefs, ballet, symphony, children’s theatre, etc.

  45. A few years ago, I accompanied my DS’s class trip to see Wicked. I really did not like it. The singers were miked, which I don’t care for. The music was loud and unvarying. The tempo never changed, there were no dynamics, and the whole thing was just kind of unrelenting. I ended up with a headache, and then had to endure 2 hours (traffic) of sitting on a bus home with screaming 6th graders

  46. There are some clubs that were just great, though. The Paradise in Boston, the Cat Club in NYC, the old, small Knitting Factory. I saw the Ramones play in lots of venues, but the best was at MIT, though we couldn’t bring alcohol in so we hid it under a bench outside

  47. Ha! I see a couple others commented about Jimmy Buffet while I was typing. I have seen him twice, 20 years apart. Could have been the same show. Both times I was with a friend who has seen him about 30 times in those 20 years. He could predict the set list.

  48. I have season tickets to the Pantages (which is the local theater in town) so I spend a decent amount on tickets.

    Sporting events-I just spend $250 each for Cowboys tickets and i’ve spent $300 for Home Run Derby tickets. I did put in a request for super bowl tickets and I was willing to spend $1000 a ticket.

    Concerts-I used to go to a lot more. Now i’m old and I fall asleep by the time they come on stage. I’ve done the big country festivales (Route 91 and STagecoach) and i’m officially done. I’d rather stay home and be warm.

  49. I’ve never regretted the money spent on the shows I’ve seen, but I do regret missing some concerts when I wanted to save the money.

    This.

  50. SWVA – I saw Billy Joel/Elton John too with my mom and sisters and did love that concert. It was a long time ago though, probably in my early 20s, when I had a much higher tolerance for concerts.:)

  51. I would love to see Elton & Joel – they came here together around 2000, my brother got to go, but I had something else going on that night

  52. Pardon the shake but this pretty much sums up my thoughts on concerts in particular and live music in general:

    You know what is even worse than live music? Live music and food. I do not want my meal interrupted by any of the following: a folk singer, a jazz quartet, a mariachi band, a cabaret singer… the list goes on.

  53. Rhett said “You know what is even worse than live music? Live music and food. ”

    I agree! I don’t want my music interrupted by the sounds of clinking plates and chewing.

  54. I wish I had seen Gogol Bordello when they played locally about 2 years ago. My father was very sick, though, and I didn’t feel like I could commit to buying tickets.

  55. I’ve been tempted recently to attend outdoor music festivals, but I’m afraid it will rain or otherwise be unpleasant. Usually the value per artist is high, but maybe not if I’m standing way back in the audience during a rainstorm.

    There are certain types of shows I’ve attended just to experience it once, but have not been keen on spending the money to go again. This includes most sporting events and the opera. However, free tickets make it worthwhile to go.

    I keep saying I’m going to bite the bullet and get family tickets for the Billy Joel MSG because we would all enjoy that show. He often has surprise guests perform with him. It’s just hard to buy tickets for something that’s almost a year in the future.

  56. We also do Gilbert & Sullivan. I went to a number of those shows when I was a kid, and now my kids love them too.

  57. I have been to a Billy Joel concert. He did a good job. However, I felt I was more entertained and got my money’s worth when I attended a Cher concert.

  58. It seems to me that most of the events I would like to go to — football games, concerts, etc. — have priced themselves well beyond what I’m willing to pay. So there are very few things I have gone to lately that seem worth the splurge. U2 was the last big concert I went to, and the last one that seemed worth it — that was a huge splurge, largely because they are my favorite band and I had never managed to go. Ravens season tickets are on my powerball list — thousands of dollars for a PSL just to have the right to pay thousands more for the tix pushes it past the “fun” mark, especially when I can see the game for free at home.

    Also agree that the major venue consolidation factors in — many artists I’d like to see now go to places like Nissan Pavilion, which requires @3+ hours each way given traffic and location, and again, there’s very little I am willing to give up that time for. And you add on top that DH doesn’t have the same patience for anything involving “art” (or the same musical tastes), and most stuff just seems more $$ and hassle than it’s worth.

    The things we have enjoyed: lower-key, small venue stuff, like Robert Cray at Ram’s Head in Annapolis. Loved Jimmy Buffett and Zac Brown band at Jazzfest, but that wasn’t exactly a splurge, as I got free tickets and cashed in FF miles. :-) I have also enjoyed going to various local plays with my mom and DD — DD *loves* theater, so to watch her get such a kick out of it has been awesome. Some of that is a splurge, too — i.e., I sprang for awesome tix at the Hippodrome for “Dirty Dancing” for my mom (and DD) as a Christmas present. And my mom took us to “Wicked” on Broadway for DD’s Christmas present (awesome, as it was her favorite play ever, so she was on cloud 9 that whole weekend). We also sometimes take DS to the local college BBall games, which is his favorite sport. Before kids, we loved watching CC hockey in Co Springs.

    Best concert ever was Peter Gabriel in @ 1987 in a theater on the top of a mountain in Athens — I didn’t really know his music that well, but the venue and the music together were awesome. Also many fantastic memories of concerts with friends on the lawn at Meriweather Post. None of which were at all expensive.

  59. I can’t imagine going to a Springsteen concert – concert! He is such a poor singer, I don’t care how great the songs are. (You can all crucify me now) Goes double for Dylan.

    Mooshi – my DH saw Gogol Bordello last year! It was not exactly his cup of tea, but he enjoyed it.

    ATM – I am planning on having DH’s friend (who is expert in getting tickets) procure tix for me. :) Probably for October or November or December.

  60. I would add live comedy. I used to go to Austin to see an annual improv festival, and that was really fun.

  61. Concerts- only one or two bands I like enough to want to see a whole show, especially given ticket prices. Classical I enjoy, but I can’t tell much difference between $5 tickets to a university student orchestra concert and a top orchestra.

    Opera- DH is dying to go but I don’t get the appeal. I’m a bad Totebagger.

    Ballet- other than taking the kids to see the Nutcracker at some point, not interested. Dragged along to too many of sister’s ballet performances as a kid. Plus I think the dance world is toxic (eating disorders, drugs, emotional abuse, etc.) and don’t really want to support it.

    Live Sports- now that I enjoy! Especially college football, MLB, and NHL games. I have almost no interest in hockey but love going with friends to see games- such a fun atmosphere. But I don’t like to pay more than $20 or so for tickets. So usually get bleacher seats in baseball or get discount corporate tickets.

    Plays and Musicals- Again, I think the ones by talented high school and college kids are just about as good. And one per year or so is enough for me.

    Kids shows- too soon to say. I did love the front row seats to the circus my grandma got us every year, might do something similar for mine when the time comes.

  62. You know, as I think about it, DH + theater = big disappointment. I missed Spamalot with Tim Curry in it (favorite movie + favorite actor), because I told DH that’s what I wanted for my BDay, and he never got around to it until they were sold out until the end of Tim Curry’s run. And then my dad got us Book of Mormon tix (for a couple hundred bucks — not cheap) for my birthday, and DH sulked through the whole thing — even though he *adores* South Park and loves basically everything else those guys have ever done.

    No wonder life is more fun now that I just go do what I want with my mom and DD.

  63. DH and I married later in life in NY’s Hudson Valley, and after a few exploratory concerts and a Broadway show or two, decided our standards were not that high. We were perfectly happy with local theater productions, for which we became season ticket holders, and minor league baseball at the stadium 10 miles from home, which was enjoyed by all the family and friends, even teens. DH was invited to Yankee games by a friend with season tickets. We just preferred the more relaxing events, with no parking/commuting hassles, etc.

    I have had a few friends who were season ticket holders at the Met, and was once given tickets for Tosca. It was a wonderful experience but not one I would pay for – I just don’t have the knowledge or perhaps musical ability to appreciate it sufficiently.

    My 7 year old grandson here in the Washington DC area has enjoyed local theater for kids at Imagination Stage and Adventure Theater at Glen Echo, The Lion King at the Kennedy Center, and major league baseball, basketball and football games for the past few years. His parents pay for the pricey events; DH and I remain satisfied with the lower key, less expensive fun, which is just as available here as in upstate NY.

  64. I’m pretty sure we’re going to pay a decent amount to see Springsteen in Brooklyn since we couldn’t go to shows at MSG. I posted about how much DH loves him, and I’ve grown to love his live shows. I don’t like to see him in open air venues because I think some of the energy is missing.

    We paid face price to buy tix to take DD to her first big concert in May. It is Bieber and we were able to buy tickets because of priority for Amex cardholders.

    I had a great time at the final Billy Joel concert in Nassau Coliseum. One of the rare times that DH was able to get through on Ticketmaster.
    I thought about going again this year at the Garden. He’s playing on my bday and DH bday. We just couldn’t decide if that’s how we wanted to spend a bday.

    The most we paid for tickets in recent memory is for the Rangers. DH really wanted to take DD to a game. A colleague offered her tickets to a Sat day game. Too easy to pass up, but great seats so it was expensive. Turned out that her season tickets are in the same box as the players families. DD was so excited to sit next to the wives. DH said that the kids all wear their dad’s jerseys so easy to identify. Also, many families since it was a weekend day game.

    I was happy because we saved$50 on parking because I drove in with them and found a free spot on the street. All of our usual garages/parking lots are half that price when we go to the Garden for college basketball, but this event price parking for an outdoor lot was nuts.

  65. One main reason I don’t like the theater, sporting events, etc. is the compete lack of legroom. I looked it up and according to the NYTimes many theaters have “less than 28 inches” of seat pitch. Coach on an American Airlines A320 is 31″. My knees can’t hack 2 hours crammed in so tight.

  66. I liked Spamalot but when we saw it, the Lady of the Lake who was in it (I think it was a touring production here) was not great and took me out of it a lot. As you can probably tell, I get easily annoyed if the performers are not 100% on point. ;)

    NoB, would love to go see ballet with you. :) I am also taking my DD to see Swan Lake.

  67. Rhett — agree about tight spaces in theaters. I’m prone to claustrophobia. During one of the last shows I saw on Broadway I had to breathe deeply and try to calm myself because I felt so boxed in. It was as bad as a coach window seat.

  68. When DD is older, she will be good company to take to shows like some of you are doing with older kids. DS can be flaky. Sometimes he has said that he doesn’t want to go but ends up coming along and has enjoyed the shows.

  69. Springsteen – I’ve grown to like him. DW is a Jersey girl, so it’s in her blood, just like for one of our regulars.

  70. Several of our favorite live performances were at Disneyland/CA Adventure. In particular, the Aladdin show at CA Adventure was really great. That show just ended and will be replaced by a new musical inspired by Frozen, which I will make sure to see the next time I am in SC.

    Besides Aladdin, which was a Broadway-scale production, there were some small theater productions in DL that were also really good, and one that was intermediate in scale that was also very good.

    We were disappointed that there was nothing comparable to these at WDW.

  71. We love watching shows in theaters! I typically don’t like opera, so we don’t go. I never used to go to musicals until I watched Jersey boys which We loved. However, those were DINK days and we lived close to the theaters. Now we live out in the boonies and have a kid, so the best we manage as a couple is movies in the theater! Our town has wonderful free or near free performances in parks in summer and we love to take a little picnic with us while enjoying world class classical music.

    I have never been to pop concert but would totally drop cash for a maroon 5 concert.

    P.S: Thank you HM and HFN for insight into growing chives/ spring onions on the other thread.

  72. Anyone been to a top-level sports event? E.g., DD mentioned an AFC Championship game.

    I’ve been to a few (NLCS, World Series, NCAA Final Four), and those are pretty special, even if you don’t have a favorite among the competitors (we got tix for the Final Four about a year in advance). There is a palpable level of excitement, with every play being potentially pivotal, that isn’t there in a typical regular season game, although September and October MLB games involving a team (or teams) still in contention has some of that.

  73. This thread reminds me that I need to remind a friend to cash a check we wrote to her for around $800. She bought tickets for DW, DS, and me for Book of Mormon (DD is too young for that), and for all of us to see Midori with the Symphony, both this spring.

  74. I can’t imagine going to a Springsteen concert – concert! He is such a poor singer, I don’t care how great the songs are. (You can all crucify me now) Goes double for Dylan.

    L, I know singing is your thing, but that’s not what these shows are about. With all rock concerts, you’re not going for the vocal performance.

  75. Rhett – I went to a Carnegie Hall classical piano concert when I was about 6 mos pregnant with twins. DH had mercy on me and got orchestra level seats and not the usual nosebleeds. (I wouldn’t have made it up the stairs.) Even in orchestra level seats, I was so unbelievably cramped. I felt sorry for DH and the person on the other side of me. Are we just bigger than folks were in the 1890s?

  76. Finn –
    I have been to every level of playoffs/championships, incl college football bowl games pre-BCS when they were for the national championship, except for Super Bowl and Stanley Cup Finals. And you’re right, most especially when your team is involved. The Penn State – Miami Fiesta Bowl I went to, I didn’t really care, so it was more of just a game to me.

  77. Anyone been to a top-level sports event? E.g., DD mentioned an AFC Championship game.

    I went to an NLCS game and World Series game in 1986. Of course the Mets lost both of them. I went to an ALCS game in 1993 when the White Sox were in it. I’ve been to the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament. I agree it’s a different experience.

    And going to a football game at one of the true big football schools is a totally amazing experience. I mentioned DS and I went to a Nebraska game last season. I went to college at a Big Ten school (Illinois) and I went to games at Michigan and other schools, and there is no comparison. A Nebraska game is about three levels higher, and this was in a year when they weren’t very good. I can only imagine what it’s like when they have a good team. I’m sure it’s like this at places like Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, etc.

  78. Are we just bigger than folks were in the 1890s?

    Nope, they’ve added seats:

    Likewise, Max Bialystock, the craven moneyman at the heart of ”The Producers,” would admire the chutzpah of the owners of the St. James, the natty Jujamcyn flagship where the show currently resides. When ”Oklahoma!” played there in the fall of 1945, the theater sat 1,522. A decade and a half later, nearly 100 additional seats brought the number to 1,615, where it hovered until it topped 1,700 in the late 1990’s. The count is now at 1,706.

  79. Rock concerts — don’t go to the rare big name ones that come through, rarely go to something more local as they’re always somewhere 21+ and way past my bedtime
    Folk, jazz, world, etc — we go sometimes. Prices for those are never too bad and it’s not arena type venues. I’m pondering whether to go to the Lunasa and Tim O’Brian one next month. On the one hand, I like them both; on the other hand, it’s a weeknight. But it’s a Thursday night so not as bad. We would do more of this if we weren’t so fully occupied with kid stuff.
    Classical concerts — sometimes, more often chamber than symphony. Oh, and of course with the kids doing chorus stuff now we end up at a lot of events where they’re singing with one of the local amateur orchestras or some such.
    Opera — yes, season tix.
    Ballet — we went more often when the kids were still involved, and obviously we went to Nutcracker every year when they were in it, but now we only go occasionally. I would have gone to Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo when they came through recently, but it was at a bad time.
    Musicals — we’re going to the touring production of Book of Mormon this spring. Mostly we go to local productions, like Spamalot last spring (our Lady of the Lake was good).
    Plays — oh yes, we go to plays. Sky, you must have more politically oriented theater in your area. When you mentioned plays having a leftist slant I blinked, blinked, and blinked again. I think the last newly written play we saw was the comedy about the 1930s private eye solving a mystery involving pizza shops in Chinatown. It wasn’t really political.
    Live sports — this one we don’t see much of. No local pro teams, no local alma mater, high school age son has no interest. Last such event was the night rodeo on our trip last summer.
    Kid shows — we used to go to the local youth theater but the kids have aged out of that by now other than occasionally getting pulled in as a participant.
    Other — we used to always go to the annual storytelling festival but it didn’t happen this last year.

  80. Finn — The highest level sports performance I have been to was in 2014 when the National Championships in figure skating were in Boston. It was an Olympic year, so the nationals were also essentially the Olympic trials. DD and I saw the finals of the pairs competition, and it really was pretty special to see, live and in real time, the reactions of the young pairs at the moment they realized that their dream of making an Olympic team had come true.

    My brother, who was 11 at the time, went with my mom to a World Series game that is legendary in Boston sports history. It was Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, at Fenway Park, and Carlton Fisk hit an iconic home run to win the game in the 12th inning for the Red Sox. My mother, who was a typical education-obsessed, totebag-wannabe immigrant, wanted to leave the game after the 9th inning, because it was a school night, and it was getting late. Somehow, though, my brother was able to persuade her to stay. 40 years later, my brother still remembers that night so vividly — it is one of his best memories from his childhood.

    Mom and my brother entered a lottery to get World Series tickets — back then, peons like us could get World Series tickets if we just got lucky in the lottery. Not sure whether the Sox (or any other team) do that any more.

  81. Some of those theatres are designed for the 1890s! I love Broadway shows, but I am generally nervous about whether a tall person, or person with a lot of perfume will be a problem. I went to see The Curious Incident of the Dog with my mother last year, and someone wore an enormous hat, and the usher wouldn’t say anything. I finally asked them to remove it because it couldn’t see at all. I saw the Carole King musical with DH, and that was in a new theatre. It makes a big difference for bathrooms, sight lines and handicapped access.

  82. Finn-all of the shows at Disneyland/DCA are really good. I’ve seen Aladdin a couple dozen times.

    I will be going to the Olympics this year….definitely the most expensive ticket.

  83. “For me, classical piano concerts must be seen in person, otherwise I fall asleep. ;)”

    I fall asleep at live classical piano concerts, as well. : )

  84. My oldest fell asleep at the Ringling Bro. circus in MSG, at the Christmas Rockettes show, and at Beauty and the Beast Broadway show. We’re apparently slow learners, but we finally realized it wasn’t worth it to take a pre-schooler to expensive shows. (In our defense, one of these shows was a gift.)

    I’ve sat through about 12 years of kid shows, ranging from elementary school band concerts to my D’s days as an aspiring actress to my teen son’s ska band playing in a NYC venue. Some of there were actually enjoyable, and I would not have missed them for the world.

  85. “I will say, I do love live comedy shows.”

    A buddy of mine loves live comedy, and I used to go with him and some other friends to comedy clubs a lot, before kids.

    HM– some friends and I saw Andy Bumatai in his initial run opening for Booga Booga at the Territorial Tavern. I’m not sure, but I think it was his debut night. He was really funny, but also really nervous.

    HM posted a link to one of his recent videos in a recent string (https://thetotebag.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/when-speech-signifies-class/), and here’s that link again: http://www.hawaiimagazine.com/content/watch-comedian-andy-bumatai-give-one-update-hawaiian-pidgin-english-pidgin-english

  86. L – Seriously, if you ever want to do a ballet, let me know. You can send a message to nob[dot]totebagger[at]gmail, and I can give you my real contact info from there. I give DH a lot of time to pursue his hobbies, so he owes me! :)

  87. There is going to be a lot of live music going tonight in Chinatown as it’s Mardi Gras. Also scantily clad dancers and some lingering lion dancers not quite done with Chinese New Year. We went to the celebration a few times in past years, but more recently their schedules have been such that we just can’t manage a Tuesday night festival.

  88. Before kids, DH and I went to a lot of concerts. I remember going into the office on a Saturday when tickets went on sale, and using the secretary’s phone (and she was called the secretary back then) so that I could call in on 10 lines at once. When we were younger, we had friends that were roadies for the Stones, U2, Paul McCartney and Dire Straits and they were usually able to get us complimentary tickets, usually in good seats. We saw The Who this past summer – they were great. I can never get enough of Roger Daltrey. I think the tickets were around $100 each. I like Bruce but I haven’t seem him in a while. I have never been to an opera or a ballet.
    We see the Christmas Show at Radio City every other year.
    I like plays and musicals. Before kids, my friends and I would buy an annual subscription to one of the more established off-Broadway theaters. We’d go to at least 4-5 shows, plus whatever Broadway shows I saw that year.
    I’m not wild about attending sporting events but we catch a Yankee game and Met game at least once a year. The Yankee games are crazy expensive. Mets tickets are much more reasonably priced – at least up until last year.

  89. I attended the BCS National Championship game at the 2000 Sugar Bowl. My team had the lead at the end of the 3rd quarter but blew it. Still one of the best times I’ve ever had.

    But I love the excitement of a smaller basketball venue. I have been in attendance twice when my not-very-respected college team beat a No. 1-ranked opponent, and the energy, camaraderie, etc. is just incredible.

  90. Houston – DH loves classical piano concerts (runs in his family) and watches them like most fans watch sports (but quietly). He’s completely engrossed. I, in the meantime, am fighting to stay awake by reading the program cover to cover. I don’t know what it is but that music puts me to sleep. We haven’t gone to many post-kids, but used to see 4-6 shows in a Carnegie series.

  91. Playoffs – I’ve been to 2 playoff games within the Stanley Cup Series… I think one was the Eastern Conference Finals, and one Semi-Finals. Both NJ Devils. And both tickets purchased by my dad. He refuses to spend a lot of money, so I think these were instances where someone gave up their tix at the last minute. I’ve also been to a jersey retirement game/ceremony (Ken Daneyko).

    In college, I worked for a major sports venue in Tampa, FL. I got paid to go to a slew of concerts (Elton John/Billy Joel, Cher, and Rush stick out), and a ton of hockey games. I think 1-2 may have been early playoff games too. Best way to get in a lot of experiences, if you ask me.

  92. watches them like most fans watch sports (but quietly)

    He screams at the TV when they miss a note?

  93. “that was in a new theatre. It makes a big difference for bathrooms, sight lines and handicapped access.”

    All of those are pretty good at the theatre in CA Adventure where they performed Aladdin. Even little kids had pretty good sight lines.

    The length of the show (about 40 minutes?) also meant bathrooms weren’t much of an issue.

  94. “I still expect them to be on key”

    Wine – I don’t think you can expect this from any “newcomer” if they sing live. Half of the acts out there can’t carry a tune without autotune. Or they are bouncing around too much. Even Chris Martin couldn’t handle it at the Super Bowl.

  95. Mooshi,
    You can get Fiddler tickets at a discount.
    http://www.broadwaybox.com/shows/fiddler-on-the-roof/

    Broadway box is legit, but you still have to go through tele charge so you have to pay all of the tele charge fees. I know it might be a big hassle for you to get into the city, but it can be worth it to go to the box office when you’re buying several tickets because of the service charges. You can use Broadway box online or in person at the box office. I am really spoiled because one of us is always in midtown for work. I try to never pay the fees if I can go to the box office.

  96. In college I went to the NCAA hockey championships on two occasions (as a bandie) and the second time my school WOOON! It was in sudden death OT and the team we were playing was a Big 10 school and also was hosting the championships that year, and their conference didn’t have a lot of respect for the Ivy schools’ hockey prowess so they assumed the final game would be more of a coronation. It was a huge rink filled with their fans except for the one little section with the band and our fans, and everyone in the place was yelling and cheering, but when that winning shot went in the whole rink fell silent except for our one little section going nuts.

  97. “Wine – I don’t think you can expect this from any “newcomer” if they sing live. Half of the acts out there can’t carry a tune without autotune.”

    It’s not easy to be in tune when you can’t hear yourself, which can be a challenge onstage, especially at rock concerts when the volume is so high.

    I’m pretty sure that’s why Robin Gibb always sang with his finger in his ear.

  98. Actually, you know what was worth it? The Ediburgh Tattoo. We sprang for upgraded seats and a whiskey tasting dinner beforehand, and as cheesy as it sounded (I was totally humoring DH), I learned a surprising amount, and the food was much better than you’d get at a US rubber chicken dinner. And the seats were right below the royal box area, so all the performances were done facing us, with the castle in the background. It was absolutely the highlight of our trip for all four of us.

  99. “It’s not easy to be in tune when you can’t hear yourself, which can be a challenge onstage, especially at rock concerts when the volume is so high.”

    Some singers wear earpieces so they can hear themselves to correct this, right?

    Another question. It seems that middle seats farther back sell out sooner than closer seats to the side. Is this because the sound is better the closer you are to the middle? My closer seat might allow me to see the performers better, but I guess my sound is distorted?

  100. “that was in a new theatre. It makes a big difference for bathrooms, sight lines and handicapped access.”

    I don’t know why it still amazes me, but I am always amazed at the new venues that they still don’t put in nearly enough bathrooms (for men and women). It seems that it doesn’t occur to anyone in the planning process that everybody goes at the same time.

  101. Some singers wear earpieces so they can hear themselves to correct this, right?

    I thought it was so they can hear the band. But I could be totally wrong.

    Another question. It seems that middle seats farther back sell out sooner than closer seats to the side. Is this because the sound is better the closer you are to the middle? My closer seat might allow me to see the performers better, but I guess my sound is distorted?

    Depending on the venue, you often have a much better view from the center farther back than up close on the sides. For example, we figured out at the Pepsi center that the best place to sit in the cheap seats for concerts is the sections directly opposite the stage at the far end. You have a perfect view of the stage, albeit from a bit farther away. When you get closer on the sides, the sightlines get obscured.

    Even in smaller places like the performing arts center, you don’t have as good a view closer on the sides than you do from the middle.

  102. They don’t care about whether you spend time in a line because they know you will be back, or in the case of NYC Broadway theatres – you are a tourist and you’re not coming back!

    I think that some of the new stadiums around here did make an effort (citi field), but it is not enough. When we went to that final show at Nassau Coliseum, they put hand written signs over some of the mens rooms to create more bathrooms for women. I guess they assumed that a lot of women go to see Billy Joel. I am curious to see a show at Barclays because they crammed so many seats in the venue. I heard the seats are very cramped.

  103. “It seems that middle seats farther back sell out sooner than closer seats to the side. Is this because the sound is better the closer you are to the middle? My closer seat might allow me to see the performers better, but I guess my sound is distorted?”

    Price of tickets also comes into play. In general, people buy based on their perception of best value. Sometimes the tix further back in the center are less expensive than those further forward, but on the sides.

    I used to go to rock concerts a lot in college when bands would play at the local arena. I found what I thought was the best value by going early on the day tix went on sale (back then, usually on week days, and I didn’t have to deal with lines) and getting seats in the front row of the upper part of the arena. If I wanted to see the performers up close, I’d take binoculars (I do have a pair of opera glasses, but the binoculars got me much closer).

    BTW, this was my best ploy for getting dates back then. I’d get two tix, then ask someone, and I never had to scramble to find someone to go with.

    I’ve also found the sound balancing better at a distance. Even at symphony concerts, where we often get seats in the front rows (cheaper, and we can really see the performers), the sound balance isn’t as good there as it is further back in the concert hall.

  104. “I should say, gesticulates wildly (but quietly) at the TV when they miss a note.”

    He’s leaning forward, elbows on knees, gazing intently, sometimes closing his eyes, his head swaying. Just completely engrossed in the performance. Days later he’s still humming the melodies. I think the closest sports analogy would be to a fan watching a tightly pitched inning during the action. No wild gesticulations or cheers, but a standing ovation and a few yelled out bravos after the performance instead. I’m telling ya, he loves it.

  105. “What is the most you have ever spent on a live event ticket?”

    Often the ticket itself is just a small part of the cost of attending an event. E.g., when I went to the NCAA Final Four, I had to buy plane tix (we lucked out in that my buddy’s sister lived at that city and was traveling, so we house sat for her). When we saw some Broadway shows, we also had to travel to NY, get a hotel room, eat out, etc. (DS wanted to eat at Shake Shack, but the line was so long we would’ve been late for the show).

    On our trip east, DS and I saw two shows; DW and DD skipped one to go shopping. One of DS’ friends, who is really into MT, saw four shows with her parents.

    At one show, one of the performers was an alum of the kids’ school, and the MT friend had met him before, when he came home and did some workshops, so he stopped by outside the performers’ entrance and chatted. That was pretty cool.

  106. “What is the most you have ever spent on a live event ticket?”

    Prob the ~$165 (all in) each I recently spent on Springsteen Tix for the show here in a couple of weeks.

    But I bought 4 tix and sold 2 of them on Stubhub for $500 net to me, so really I’m paying “only” $80 apiece.

  107. Winemama – YES!

    I don’t know of any other reason to go to a concert other than the music. If the music isn’t good, why else would I want to go? Spectacle is not enough, and if they’re not on pitch it is actively detrimental to my enjoyment. :)

  108. I haven’t been to many large events and don’t wish to. I recently attended the Luther College Choir West Coast Tour concert. (I miss a capella music in the Upper Midwest Lutheran tradition) I take the kids to musicals by the local high school or community theater when feasible. No ballet or opera. We went to a Trailblazers game thanks to a promotion with the summer reading program but I wouldn’t pay regular price. I can see us attending occasional college basketball games if the boys are interested.

    I tried Ringling Bros circus with DS1 when he was in preschool and the sound was too loud for both of us. We left at intermission.

  109. I don’t know of any other reason to go to a concert other than the music. If the music isn’t good, why else would I want to go? Spectacle is not enough, and if they’re not on pitch it is actively detrimental to my enjoyment. :)

    This is a benefit of not having that great of an ear. Unless a singer is truly awful, I couldn’t tell you whether they are on pitch or not.

  110. I’m going to kill my youngest. He reset the password on his iPad and didn’t write down the new password, which of course he has now forgotten. There’s no way to retrieve it, is there? I’m all for natural consequences but we have some travel coming up next month and it would surely make my life easier if right before our trip I’m able to unlock it.

  111. Lark,

    We now have a family moratorium on changing any passwords because we have used every source of passwords for the family protocol.

  112. Yes, our rule is that no children are allowed to change the password on their devices without FIRST coming and telling me. Obviously, he didn’t follow the rule, so I’m all for allowing him to not be able to get into it. Right up until I have to get on an airplane with him. :0

    Rhett, I swear I could kiss you. I’ll let him suffer for a few weeks (unless he magically remembers it) and then we’ll reset everything.

  113. “I don’t know of any other reason to go to a concert other than the music.”

    There are live events other than concerts. E.g., at the ballet and MT, some might also be interested in dance.

  114. Is it late enough to hijack? Can I brag? My oldest just got an offer from one of her preferred colleges. They offered her a large enough scholarship that even with travel costs, it is cheaper than our state flagship. So proud of her, even though she has reset the passwords on many devices over the years.

  115. Congrats to murphy and her kid!!!!

    Did she apply at the regular time (i.e., not early action or any other early application) at this school? If so, then this would seem to be a pretty early response, which I’m guessing means that they really want her (the large scholarship is also a clue).

  116. That’s awesome murphy. We tend to go to the high school for live performance. I will listen to anyone at a small live venue instead of someone famous at a big venue.

  117. She applied regular decision everywhere. She was in a state level contest after the early decision deadline, so it seemed prudent to wait and see if she could put state champion on her resume.

  118. “I agree! I don’t want my music interrupted by the sounds of clinking plates and chewing.”

    Last year we went to see Cirque de la Symphonie, which was a bunch of Cirque du Soleil performers performing to music provided by the Symphony. The music was great, but it was so annoying when people would drown it out by clapping while they were playing.

  119. I don’t know of any other reason to go to a concert other than the music.

    The show. To use Taylor Swift as an example, I doubt anyone there cared if her singing was a little off-key (I couldn’t tell you if it was or not), they just wanted to see her do her thing. Big production numbers with 20 dancers, 10 costume changes, her between song speeches, the flying stage, etc.

  120. So is she going to wait and see if any of her other preferred colleges makes a better offer?

    BTW, I suggest you check whether that scholarship is renewable, and if so, the criteria for renewal. I’ve heard that some schools front-load their merit aid to make it look more attractive than it really is.

  121. I have a grandmothered weekend season ticket package to the Red Sox. I have had it for more than 25 years – good grandstand seats. We are both short, so no knee to hip issues, and after losing weight the seats side to side also fit okay. Numerous playoff and World Series games. I have been to many games for the other major sports in my business days, but wouldn’t spend my own dime on them. The Met Opera tickets are the most expensive, routinely, but the tickets on a Manhattan trip are not necessarily the major expense, rather it is the hotel and dining. DH loves opera, and he got me into it, but after a few local operas I said, it is the Met or nothing. We go to the BSO three times a year, and once at Tanglewood. We like legitimate theater, but with his hearing issues we will have to try out those assistive devices when we feel like going again. As for popular concerts, the last one I paid for (top dollar, took a kid) was the Rolling Stones at Fenway and the roll out small ensemble stage was ten feet from my face. Like Peyton Manning, I think I’ll go out on a high note.

  122. “BSO”

    We looked at their schedule for when we were there, but there was just a pops concert with a country singer, so we passed.

    I usually look at local venue schedules when we’re going to travel. When we did our east coast trip, we were able to work in a National Symphony concert at Kennedy Center, which we really enjoyed.

    Many years ago, before kids, DW and I traveled to DC and got to see the National Symphony outdoors on the lawn by the reflecting pool.

  123. “back then, peons like us could get World Series tickets if we just got lucky in the lottery. Not sure whether the Sox (or any other team) do that any more.”

    When I went, back in ’89, that was still possible. First choice went to season ticket holders (we had a 20 game plan with seats behind home plate, but for the WS we got tix in the nosebleed seats above right field). There were a few tix left, so one of us entered and got extra tickets for his parents.

  124. Lauren, I don;t think I understand that Broadway Box site. No matter what date I select, it shows the same seats, in the same row, as being the only ones available. And at $260 each. I don’t think so. Am I using it wrong?

  125. Yay murphy! And it’s despite the horrifying school system you’ve had to fight for years!

  126. I had a bizarre concert experience last summer – DH got free tickets through his company for a One Direction arena show. We got to sit in the company suite and eat free appetizers and drink beer. Much better than being crammed into the tiny seats! And of course DD was in heaven.

  127. OK, do Broadway tickets really cost this much? On that Broadway Box site, the cheapest tickets for Fiddler are $150 each and they go up to $275. For Hamilton, they have tickets between $450 and $650. Say what???

  128. Rhett, it was free and involved a skybox, free food, and free beer. And it made my 9 year old very happy.

  129. “And it’s despite the horrifying school system you’ve had to fight for years!”
    I’m betting the horrifying school system is already planning the press release where they take credit for Murphy Jr’s success. I see that happen a lot.

  130. Mooshi: Yes, tickets really do cost that much. When we visited NY, DS wanted to see Lion King. I figured it would cost $1K+ for 4 tickets and gently suggested another activity.

  131. The Book of Mormon is coming to town, if those in the Southeast are interested. We saw The Lion King and ABBA here in town. The prices were reasonable. There is plenty of parking and decent places to eat – so it tends to be a fun, relaxing experience. Usually the popular shows are heavily advertised but there are lots of other performances (Diana Ross is performing) that I am sure are quite entertaining.

  132. Murphy, great news. congrats!!!!

    Mooshi – I also tried the official Fiddler site and that takes you straight to tele charge. I tied to buy tickets for a Sunday matinee in march. Also, a Saturday night in March or April. no discounts seem to be available, so the tickets are full price. I got the same prices through Broadway Box.

    The Broadway box discounts are just for very specific dates or seats. The ticket prices have gone up since the show has received some good buzz, so it looks like you will have to pay full price if you want to go on the more desirable dates. If you’re not in a rush, you can wait until the tickets are cheaper when the show is less popular.

    I know it isn’t easy to go on a weeknight, but tonight is actually the annual Kids Night on Broadway. Kids go for free because the theatres are trying to introduce Broadway to the next generation. The program is geared to kids in tri state region since it is a school night, but shows start earlier on Tuesday nights. Also, weeknights in Jan and Feb are usually very slow for the theatres compared to the holidays and the Spring.

  133. Trump and Sanders win their primaries in New Hampshire. Kasich in GOP second place.

    Supreme Court blocks Obama’s Clean Power regulatory actions.

  134. Houston, about 8 years ago we watched Lion King on broadway and remember tickets being reasonable (for the area). But maybe things have changed in intervening years! But the show is awesome

  135. Finn. What month were you in boston. The BSO is not in season in the summer or over Xmas holidays. They are in tanglewood June thru aug. The Pops, although affiliated, is not the same orchestra.

    Milo. I love Patsy Cline, and agree about her vocal control. Her material was great, don’t get me wrong, but the conventions of female country songs of that era did not give the same opportunities as jazz or even r & b for her to show everything her voice could do.

  136. Well we have season tickets to two professional sports teams – the hockey team and the baseball team referenced by my handle. But they are fairly cheap seats for both & although we’ve seen playoff games, we’ve paid face value (less than $200 or even less than $100 for early rounds). We’ve turned down the opportunity to make much more $$ though, which is a different equation.

    I think the most $$ event I’ve ever gone to was a U2 concert back in the early 00’s where my friend and I splurged on good seats as that is all that was left when I got to the front of the line. I think they were $250 each. That was pre internet sales – we stood in line at the ticket window.

  137. I will do all of the things listed from time to time except except the Opera. Never been. I should really go – they really do some cool stuff to make it more accessible these days too, so it could really be fun to see one of the hybrid shows or special engagements as a start.

    I’ve only been to the ballet a couple times. It was okay. Im not a huge fan of dance as awntertainment I guess.

    We did a few kids shows, but they were never a big hit with DS. He LOVES going to baseball games with me though. He’s been going since he was in the womb. We do the scorecard & chat with our section mates. It’s a mom/son thing. (DH is a fan of that other team in town)

  138. Houston – I agree with DD. Good for all but the youngest kids. Fun, family friendly.

    Congrats Murphy!

    Finn – As you said, playoff sporting events have been very memorable – good and bad. Also – the Winter Classic is a very cool experience to have at least once.

    Also – some concerts although it probably had more to do with the venue and my age. I’ll never forget Lollapalooza ’94, but that is a story for another day. Also a few other outdoor concerts that were a particularly beautiful mix of music, scenery and food. I love outdoor summer concerts even if the sound quality isn’t the best. FWIW, Millennium Park in Chicago has surprisingly good sound quality for an outdoor venue and also you can watch the sun set over the skyline from the lawn.

  139. I really don’t enjoy live music, especially in an arena. I saw Beyonce last year and thought it was money wasted – I would have been happier with a set of CDs. I grew up in a music-free home (except for the dreaded piano lessons) and maybe never gained a real appreciation. The Zoo has concerts here which are cheap and pleasant (Carolina Chocolate Drops, etc.), so maybe I can instill a bit of that culture in the kidlets.

    We’re not live sports watchers either – DH went to a very important pro football game a few years ago – the game still talked about a few years later. He had to give a 5-min sales presentation in the company’s suite. He felt very lucky he could sneak out at half time and didn’t have to sit through the entire thing. My mother, on the other hand, would have chewed off her arm for a chance to go to that game.

    We do like theater (musical and otherwise), and go when we can. With little kids up at the crack of 5-something, it is hard to stay out late enough to see a show, but I expect that will change in the next few years. I would take my kids to more, but our Children’s theater runs $40+ per seat (and sells out) – I’ll stick to the high school productions that are kid appropriate.

    I often buy theater-ish tickets for Au Pairs (traveling Cirque, etc) – I think it is a great experience for them and something they would never spend money on themselves.

  140. The Capitol Steps put on a great live show in DC every weekend.
    We enjoy low end live sports – soccer and baseball at our local small college, minor league baseball. Just a fun way to spend family time. And I love community theater!

  141. Well, given the ticket prices for Broadway, I think I will stick to opera and G&S. Much cheaper and more pleasant…

  142. Congrats Murphy!

    Ivy – I did not know you liked hockey. I should have bugged you when we were in town! Ha! We plan on coming back out that way, so maybe we’ll have to plan an outing…

  143. Houston – saw the Blue Man Group in Boston. The kids will like it. DH loves shows like that so we have been to Cirque de Soleil, Ringling Bros etc. DH will not go to the Opera. He doesn’t mind the symphony or the Pops.

  144. DS will be excited because the band teacher took my suggestion of including Star Wars songs in the spring band concert. Let’s see how they sound.

  145. Murphy — I’m so happy to hear your good news!

    Regarding Fiddler and other Broadway tickets: There are ways to get deals on some plays, but timing is important. Playbill was offering discounted Fiddler tickets late last year, and IIRC Fiddler participated in Broadway Week last month with 2 for 1 deals. I guess it’s become popular enough so that now they don’t need to promote that way.

    Last time I checked, opera ticket prices were comparable to Broadway prices. They have a few cheaper seats, but those are probably not of interest to me. Since I rarely go to these types of productions, I usually like to get good seats. So yeah, a family outing with dinner included can easily hit $1000+.

    I splurged on meet and greet VIP tickets as a Christmas present for my D because that’s the only thing she wanted. Those run $200-400 a pop, but hey, you also get a souvenir mug and a . . . TOTEBAG!

  146. Coc – to be fair that is not an ordinary Totebag – it is a golden Totebag considering how much was paid to get it :-).

  147. Coc, we always do the cheap seats at the Met, except for the period when we had seasons tickets, and could get a good price on somewhat better seats. The accoustics are so good, and I like the vibe up in the cheap seats – that is where the families, and the music students, all sit.

  148. Just checked tix at the Met – for a Friday evening performance of Manon Lescaut, the cheap seats are $37 to $45, most of the other seats are in the $100-$200 range, and it tops out with the luxury boxes (parterre) which are priced from $192-$495.

  149. “I like the vibe up in the cheap seats – that is where the families, and the music students, all sit.”

    Same with watching the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The cheap seats are the best.

  150. “Same with watching the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The cheap seats are the best.”

    And MSG… I bought DH tix to a Rangers game in the blue seats (I think the bridge and 300 level). I still think it was his favorite experience, despite the 100-level tix we got through a friend. He was with his people up in the blue seats. My memory is realizing that we were sitting ABOVE the jumbotron. And in true rivalry fashion, I wore a NJ Devils shirt under my UMaine sweatshirt (I figured if the backup Ranger goalie at the time was a UMaine grad, I’d be safe).

    Wine – I would have loved to see Phish. I’d probably still be high…

  151. Rhode- I’ve seen Phish in IN, OH, IL and TN

    DH is the big fan, but I love going , their shows are such fun

    we even took DS last time (he was 3)

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