Not since their early ’80s nascence when they played small venues like the El Mocambo and the Maple Leaf Ballroom could you catch a U2 show for $30 – the bottom price for the band’s upcoming tour.
“I can’t recall when there was a show with an act of that magnitude that had a $30 ticket,” said Toronto promoter Jonathan Ramos. “It would be hard for us to find that price for an artist a tier below.”
Tickets, which range up to $250, go on sale later this month for the Irish rockers’ 360 Degrees road show, which kicks off in Barcelona on June 30 and hits the Rogers Centre on Sept. 16.
“We’ve tried to come up with a pricing structure that recognizes the realities of what’s going on,” said Arthur Fogel, CEO of Live Nation Global Touring, of the introduction of the 10,000 lower-priced tickets.
But don’t consider that another of the socially progressive group’s humanitarian gestures, warned veteran music journalist Larry Leblanc.
“Doesn’t it smack of a PR thing to you?” he wondered. “Let’s not kid ourselves, (big concert promoters) take a huge rap because of ticket prices being as high as they are.
“But the ticket prices are the way they are because the artists are insisting that they be paid that kind of money.
“A lot of the bands will argue records sales have gone down and seeing a band live is the last place that they can get their money’s worth out of the fan.”
Billboard said the U2 tour is expected to be one of the highest-grossing ever. The band’s 2005-2007 Vertigo tour pulled in $389 million, ranking second only to the $558 million haul for the Rolling Stones’ Bigger Bang trek during the same period.
Artists’ fees are always the biggest expense, said Ramos, whose Ramos Entertainment Management Group’s club and theatre shows generally range from $10-$60.