Roots Report: The Andy Rooney of Music

Okee dokee folks… Eagles concert tickets went on sale and folks were complaining about the ticket prices that ranged from $125 – $800. The corporate rock scene is out of control. Doesn’t Don Henley have enough money by now? I saw the Eagles in concert on their 1980 “Long Run Tour.” I paid about $10 for the tickets and I thought that was pricey. I remember the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac AND Boz Scaggs played a show TOGETHER at Foxboro (Schaefer) Stadium in 1976 and the tickets were probably around $20, tops. Taylor Swift will be performing two nights at Foxboro’s Gillette Stadium next July, and tix are insanely priced. Does Taylor need another mansion? Ed Sheeran is also playing Gillette, next September. Do his tix need to be so pricey? He is a solo performer who loops. Have his looping pedals become members of the musician’s union? Nowadays, there are very few, if any acts (actually none) that I would pay that much to see. About 35 years ago, I did pay $90 to a scalper for Who tickets on what was supposed to be their last tour. I thought that amount was outrageous, but I also thought it was my last chance to see them. Won’t get fooled again!

If a parent wanted to take two kids to see Taylor Swift at Gillette it would cost in the ballpark of $500. Add in parking, beverages, snacks, concert merch and whatever other crap you are obliged (or nagged) to obtain, and you could have taken a little getaway instead of attending a 90-minute show that you could barely see from your cheap stadium seats. I used to go to one, sometimes two concerts a week back in my teens. Tix usually were about $6. I had a minimum wage job that paid about $2.30 an hour so I could, sort of, afford it. Minimum wage workers today have to work about 10 times harder (at the very least) to get their tix, if they could even spare the money to buy them.

Music is my life. I play it, write about it and make it happen, and I do it because it is who I am. I am not a very good audience member, though, and now I usually only attend concerts where I have some sort of involvement or if my girlfriend REALLY, REALLY wants to go. If I were just a fan, I honestly could not see paying hundreds dollars for the “privilege” of being part of a human sea. The best places are the smaller venues where you still feel like it matters to be there. I know, I know, you want the chance to see your favorite performer live, in concert. I understand, but you have to pick and choose who you want to sell a kidney to see. It is sad that this limits who fans can experience.

A few weeks ago my girlfriend and I THOUGHT about going to see Steely Dan in NY. Tix were about $150 each and we would have needed to get a hotel room as well. We estimated that this venture would cost around $500, so we went to see the Steely Dan tribute, Hey Nineteen, at The Met instead. Sometimes the tribute bands are just as good as the original and sometimes better. You get to hear the songs that you really want to hear and they try to sound as close to the original as possible. Anyway, I really don’t know what point I am trying to make here this week. I think I may be turning into the Andy Rooney of music. Or maybe I am just trying to avoid giving you my annual ANTI-HOLIDAY rant. HUMBUG!!! Read on…

You will get more bang for your buck at The Courthouse Center for the Arts on Fri, Dec 15, when they present a double-header of Terry Sylvester (The Escorts, The Hollies) and John Ford Coley (England Dan and John Ford Coley). Hear the hits “Long Cool Woman In a Black Dress,” “The Air that I Breathe,” “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight” and more. Livingston Taylor is also performing at Courthouse Center for The Arts on Dec 9 to celebrate his 50th year making music and to support his new release, Safe Home. In addition to being a professor at Berklee College of Music, Liv maintains a performance schedule of more than 100 shows a year. For more, “Hush A Bye” to

The Fifth Annual Rock & Roll Christmas Show to benefit Stand Up For Animals, Westerly’s animal shelter, will take place at The Knickerbocker Music Center on Sun, Dec 10 at 6pm. Slated to perform are John Speziale and The Choos (Phil Adams and Brett Boardman) as well as members of other area bands including The Hoolios, Sweet Mercy and Sunday Gravy. Enjoy dancing, a strolling fiddler, a photo booth, raffles, a silent auction, dancing Santa and a hula dancing contest! All proceeds go to provide homes for troubled animals. For more, rollover to

At The Find On 6 antique store in Johnston (near the Situate line) on Sat, Dec 9 at 7:30pm a relatively new music series will present another installation with The Billy Harpin Band and Victor Main. This is a free (pass the hat for performers) and bring your own drink and food event. Attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items such as canned vegetables, fish and chicken, as well as peanut butter, whole wheat pasta, brown rice and beans for a food drive donation. Music Series organizer Bill McGrath states, “We have been bringing talented musicians to unique venues for years now, and are excited to incorporate foods drives to benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank to help be part of the solution.” For more, find or Bill McGrath’s Music Series on Facebook.

The Newport Playhouse is proud to present Newport to Nashville — an evening of songwriters performing original songs. This month features Rick Cretarola, Mary Day and Putnam Murdock. They perform in the round and each artist takes a turn playing their original work during the 90-minute or so show. The stage attempts create a Grand Ole’ Opry feel with a signpost style mic stand at the center spot. There is not a cover charge, but there is a food & beverage minimum per person. A cowboy hat is passed to collect donations for the performers. They have pretty cool “N2N” shirts for sale, you should buy one! The Newport Playhouse is located at 102 Connell Highway. For more, “shub up” to

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading.

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