Bruce Gets Paid

Bruce Springsteen is playing a one-man show on Broadway and people are fuming over the price of a ticket. The initial face value was $75-$850. The $75 tickets are two rows in a converted balcony. It used to be where the lighting rigs were mounted. The seats are so high up that there could be an imposter on stage and you’d never know the difference. The entire run, through February, sold out instantaneously. Only secondary market tix are available at inflated prices.

Last week’s Broadway earnings report contained a wild aberration. Bruce earned $2.3 million for FIVE SHOWS. Hamilton earned $2.9 million for the week, but that was for EIGHT performances and that show has a huge cast and an orchestra. Bruce’s overhead is nonexistent. It’s him, a microphone, a guitar and a piano. He doesn’t have to share his lucre with anyone.

His base isn’t happy. Fans are incredulous. “Man of the people, my ass!,” they wail. Each night, the theater, an elegant, intimate, 900-seat Broadway house built in 1921, is stuffed to the rafters with wealthy, Caucasian, geezers.

As far as I’m concerned, Bruce gets a pass. That man spent his entire career in the service of his fans. You get your money’s worth and then some when you see him perform. He gives back. Many of his charitable deeds go unreported. He’s in the sunset of his career. If he wants to take a victory lap on Broadway and charge a lot of money, that’s his due.

My wife and I saw the show last Friday. I can’t afford a ticket and wouldn’t pay $850 even if could. I got tickets via the only option available to the hoi polloi; I won the daily ticket lottery. And when I say ‘won,’ I don’t me we got free tickets. Winning the daily lottery entitles you to buy a pair of tickets for $75 each. They were nice seats! Mezzanine! The gentleman sitting next to us paid $400 for his tickets from StubHub, so $75 is a bargain.

It’s billed as ‘written and directed’ by Bruce, but I’m pretty sure he had help from someone who knows a thing or two about theater. The pacing was good, the blocking was smart and the transitions were well-placed. He’d move from guitar to piano when he needed to change a scene or move the story forward. There were equal parts story-telling and singing. The songs were stripped bare. If Born in the U.S.A. had been originally sung the way it is in this show–mournful and slow with a slide and a 12-string guitar–it never would’ve been mistaken for a jingoistic anthem.

End up like a dog that’s been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up

The crowd initially mistook it for a concert. They were whooping and making a ruckus. It’s not that kind of show. It’s a quiet show. There’s a lot of dialogue. Bruce can deliver a line and has surprisingly adroit comedic timing. As soon as the show settled into a groove, people quieted down.

His wife came out and sang two songs with him. That section felt superfluous and wedged-in. It interrupted the flow. He could easily cut her out, streamline the show and keep more of the till for himself. But then, he couldn’t go home at night.


I took my daughters to the local botanical garden. These were taken with my iPhone. It has a duel lens that allows for close-ups. I took about 80 shots to get these eight that I like. You couldn’t do that before the digital age. Remember when you had 16 shots and you had to make each one count?

Does anyone know what kind of beetle this is?

Deep Cut Gardens was once the home of New York mob boss Vito Genovese. He bought the house and surrounding property as a quiet respite from his busy business affairs in the city. He ran afoul of the law and the property was taken by the government. The house is now a welcoming center and the grounds are meticulously maintained. One wonders how they arrived at the name ‘deep cut.’ Vito’s favorite negotiating tool?

73 thoughts on “Bruce Gets Paid

  1. You really did luck out with the lottery — I bow my best Wayne’s World “We’re not Worthy” your way. I read the previews for the show and knew immediately that in my tiny hamlet of St. Augustine, I wouldn’t stand a snowballs chance of ever seeing that show. And I agree with you that Bruce deserves this. He’s punched the holes in all the correct public service requirements over the years. So good for him.

    I have a sister with whom I’m not especially close. But last year we spent two full hours in an Arizona botanical garden. For those two hours, plus two more afterwards when we had dinner and cocktails, all of our differences evaporated. Botanical gardens will do that to you. – Marty

    • That lottery was the only way I was going. I *might’ve* paid $75 to sit in the rafters but it wasn’t a choice I had to make. It never came up. It was quite good. Not my typical Friday night. But worth all that money? I don’t think so.

      He’s charging an astronomical amount. It’s the highest average-seat ticket in town.The previous record was Hamilton where the average ticket was $310. For these five shows, the ticket price averaged was $496.72. That’s mind-blowing. I should’ve included that in the post.

      I wish you could see this spread in Deep Cut Gardens. It’s magnificent. Vito Genovese may have been a murdering bastard (he had the husband of a woman he wanted to marry strangled on a rooftop) but he DID have nice taste in landscape and horticulture.

  2. I’m with you. Bruce earned the right to charge for those tickets. The performances sold out. Go Bruce. I’m also in love with the camera on my new iPhone. Sweet algorithms at work.

    • You’d think folks would cut Springsteen some slack but you should hear the wailing and cursing and gnashing of teeth going on out here. I don’t know. Maybe I don’t fully appreciate it because I’m just a casual fan. Maybe if I was one of his obsessed millions I’d be more rattled.

      I buy a phone primarily for the camera. The other functionalities are most definitely B-list. They’re so fun!

    • They’re just getting started with milking that show. There’s no doubt in my mind it’ll be taped for HBO ($$) and then sold on DVD ($$$$). I think he’s set for life.

      The bugs didn’t weren’t very flattering toward you, either.

  3. I like Springsteen very much. But I’m not a fan of any artist to pay that kind of money. Perhaps if I were wealthy that would make a difference. Anyhow, I’m glad that you lucked out and got a good seat at a decent price.

    Those iPhones are probably going to cause the regular cameras to fall by the wayside one day. I kind of don’t like that because I just love cameras. But they are heavy and expensive for a good one and I need to upgrade my cannon. But, I’ll need to do some serious thinking first.

    • Even if I were wealthy I couldn’t do it. I’m trying to think of someone I’d spend that much money on but it’s very early in the morning here and nobody comes to mind. Seems a terrible waste to me. But $150 for the pair seems okay. Don’t get me wrong–that’s a lot of money. But not obscenely so.

      Despite my fawning, there’s no substitution for a proper camera. Phone cameras have a long way to go before they can churn out a photo with the quality of a nice SLR.

      • I paid $30 CAD (x2) to see The New Pornographers Friday, and I was thinking, “Gee, 30 bucks…” Granted, no Neko Case. I’d pay 30 just to stare at her awhile.

      • She’s got her own thing, and has never toured with them much in recent years. They have two competent singers in her place, but still. Dan Bejar of Destroyer doesn’t always tour with them either and doesn’t appear at all on their last album at all. Maybe that’s why the venue was only half full. I saw Neko Case in concert in Vermont a few years back. She’s a force.

  4. Pingback: Bruce Gets Paid | Moreidlethoughts Weblog

  5. I was so tempted to get his autobiography, cheaper than the show. I should get a greatest hits album too.

    A show compared a compact to an i-phone camera. Overall the i-phone won. I want a good mid-size, retrostyle camera though. It’s easy to get camera envy when you see tourists about with them round their necks. Your pics are excellent.
    I also find it amazing how easy it is to take photos these days. Snap, check, delete, rather than snap, wait a couple of days then pick up from the shop. Be grateful to the nerds and geeks who invent these things.

    • I just started the autobio. I had to wait until it came out in paperback. I can’t lug a hardcover on my commute. Especially one that size. I’d pull a muscle. It’s entertaining but he definitely could’ve used an editor. I understand it received high praise but some sections are wildly over-written. He never uses one word when he can use 10. And he has a fondness for ALL CAPS.

      Thanks for your kind words about my pics. Still, it’s no substitution for a proper camera if you take photography seriously. Mobile phone photo sensors just aren’t there yet. Someday. But not for now. Not today.

      I used to love Silicon Valley and all the nerds but the New York Times just ran a great expose about how Silicon Valley isn’t your friend. It wants all your personal information to sell. And it knows how to get it.

  6. I recently thought about seeing Pink. Her shows look fantastic, and I think it would be a sight to see, plus I do enjoy a lot of her music and the messages in it. When I saw the regular ticket prices, I almost had a coronary. The range was from a little over a hundred dollars to over $2,000. She did offer a coupon code if you signed up before a certain date, and allowed you pre-sale tickets too. It was the first time I would have been able to actually purchase more than one ticket at a time, due to the fact the ticket agencies can’t get it on it. Even with the code, the only seats available were up so high the air would have been thin, and still around $75-80. I passed. The last time I went to a concert where the performers appeared about as big as ants, it was the Eagles Reunion Tour, and only cost me $35 a ticket.

    • We wanted to take our daughters to Pink but they don’t love her music enough to justify the cost. It’s nuts. Rich people have ruined so many things. Concerts is the tip of the iceberg but that’s the one that I’m most affected by. Can there be that much money out there?!?! I really missed out. I am too old to sit in the rafters. I saw the Police on their last tour at Giants Stadium. It was awful. I ended up watching the screens all night. I swore that was the last time and it was.

      • Agreed. I’d rather sit and watch something in the comfort of my own home if I have to stare at a screen all night. I much prefer smaller venues, with older acts, and the acoustics are much better.

  7. (Back again to post) It was way to early this morning when I looked at my email and found that dinahmow had a link in her post and then I found it was YOU! I hadn’t looked at my own blog roll/feed so, you get my point. Anyway, like you I am a casual Boss fan, so unless it’s a free concert or CD, I pass. Good for you and the Missus that your tickets were only $75 each, you enjoyed the show, and as was mentioned, why shouldn’t he make some dough?

    Your photos are fantastic! Did you upgrade your iPhone? I’m still using a 5s and my pics are ok, but I’ve never tried taking anything serious! I’m still using my old cannon for “real” photos, but even then, it’s been a L O N G since I’ve done that! xoxo

    • So you looked early this morning, headed over to dina’s house and got looped back here? That’s crazy. Isn’t she nice for reblogging this post?! What a nice lady. I met her a couple of times when she came to New York, We went to the museum. Fun.

      You can watch this Broadway show when it’s out on DVD. I haven’t heard anything but I can’t imagine they not releasing it next year after the show closes. There’s a mint to be made. Honestly, taking the venue and the atmosphere into account, I thought it was worth $75/ea.

      I use an iPhone 7+. I think I’ve had it for over a year or so. My phone is my irrational indulgence. It helps me on my murderous commute.

  8. Did you say a duel lens? I can’t quite imagine what that means. I’m stuck for now with my old iPhone 4s, which came out just before they got the cameras right, so I’ve never used a good phone camera. Judging by these photos yours is light years ahead, they’re great!

    I’m in two minds about the huge ticket price thing: no doubt he has earned the moral right to big money, but to exclude one’s fans and ordinary people in favour of the very people who exploit those fans…

    • Yes, there are two lenses side-by-side. One kicks into action when you’re taking a close-up. I don’t really understand the technology behind it, but I like the results. Thanks for your flattering words about the pics.

      They’re finding that ordinary fans are able to make so much money on resales that they’re giving up their tickets for the payoff! Everyone has their price. It’s sure to be released sooner or later so everyone can enjoy it eventually.

      • My iPhone 5SE won’t do this, will it??? I’m a bit miffed… your photos are fabulous. And I have a Canon like Savvy.
        Meanwhile, I shall gloss over Bruce.

      • I don’t think the SE can get this tight with a shot but it’s not a bad camera at all. Overall, you really are much better off with a proper camera. I’m too lazy. Don’t want to carry two devices.

      • I hope one or two die hard fans made a killing!
        We went to see Richard Thompson on Tuesday in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, the tickets were £38 each, and we were right in front of him about five rows back. It was perfect and he was brilliant; I’m not the best at sitting still for long and by the end of most concerts I’m so desperate to get up and out that it could be anyone up there, but even I was delighted when he came on for a third encore.

  9. Almost a month since your last blog. I was having scribe withdrawal!
    Regarding the BOSS, I thought a few years ago people were making fun of him because of old age irrelevancy. Good for him to bring the $. Broadway ain’t cheap! Winning a Lottery is fun. Did you see your Gov. Christie? I also learned a new word, jingoistic. The pics are PBS Nature Document quality. I like going to Botanical Gardens, so much to enjoy over the grit and reality of the City.

    • I think he’s 68 and you should see him carry this show. He commands the stage and he’s the only one out there. (Well…his wife it out there briefly but it hardly counts. He eats right, exercises and wakes up late. That’ll make you FIT when you’re pushing 70. I didn’t see ANY celebs when we were there. And, believe me, I was looking.

  10. Brilliant photos! I saw you chatting with someone about phone camera lenses above. I got one for my iPhone 5c — a telephoto lens and a zoom. They came with a case for my phone and easily screwed on. But I didn’t get great pictures from them. Partly because I am a crappy photographer, and partly because I got it just before I wanted to take great pictures at my son’s college graduation. Good thing I could buy some good ones!

    I give Springsteen a pass too. He’s a good man. I don’t really think he needs the money though. I would feel better if he was raising it for charity at those prices. Then again, he gives a lot. And I didn’t pay it. So why am I bitchin’?

    • I think those detachable phone lenses run about $150 or so. I can’t decide if they’re worth the hassle. I’m not that coordinated and I’m likely to strip the threads if they’re hard to screw in and out.

      What do you mean why are you bitching?! I don’t call this corner of my blog Vent Central for nothing.

  11. The photos are stunning. I assume Springsteen was a concert until you elaborated. Sounds interesting. I’m with you it sounds – if people don’t want to spend $800 to see him, they don’t have to. Is (insert name of favorite star or athlete here) gouging the public because they get paid beau-coup bucks for every performance? Free market, baby.

  12. I think $850 to see a concert by a legend is still overly steep. Sometimes, you have to give back to those that put you there. One night at $75 all round would have been a nice gesture.

    I’m amazed at those iPhone shots. Incredible detail.

    • Apparently, a lot of people got $75 tickets are flipping them on the market. It’s just too tempting. Everyone has their price.

      You can’t take a bad shot with equipment like this. The phone does all the work. All I do is point and shoot.

  13. I came over from Dinahmow…as usual, her taste is impeccable and I enjoyed the experience.

    The last time I paid to hear a band was when the Rolling Stones played the Epsom Baths Hall in the 60s…and the prices you quoted had the Scot in me retiring to its purse to count its bawbees.
    I think I would like the atmosphere…but not at that price.

    The photographs were superb…I have lingered over and returned to them.

    • Welcome. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Much appreciated. Dinah is my pal. We met here in New York a couple times. She’s not boring.

      The show was well worth the $75 I paid. I’ve paid more for Broadway shows and have gotten less in return. Thanks for your kind words about the photos. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m off to Google bawbees.

  14. These ticket prices make me glad I’m not a Springsteen fan. That way, I don’t have to gnash my teeth at how unaffordable the tickets are.
    On the other hand, if he can sell out his shows for months at an average price of $500, it probably means that the tickets aren’t so much overpriced as exclusive – he could charge $20-$40 for the tickets, but then these ticket would just disappear from the box office, only to reappear on secondary market for the same $500. So I’d rather prefer Springsteen to get the extra cash than some unscrupulous scalpers.

    • Here’s a funny thing…they just announced today that the show will be extended. Possibly through June. Hilarious. The price of the tickets were just diluted.

      It’s called dynamic pricing. It’s a fancy name that means exactly what you describe here. The producers were seeing money being made that, by all rights, belonged to them and the artists. If some dopes are willing to pay that much for a ticket, scalpers should be the LAST people to reap the proceeds.

  15. Over here some organisations are trying to stop reselling by making you take your passport or some government ID with you to the concert.

    I’m going to see Alexander O’Neal next month who is playing my home town of Lancaster, a small city of about 45,000 people. It’s almost unheard of for us to get big names like that here and while Alexander O’Neal’s heyday is over, he can still fill the big arenas. Anyway, the tickets are one flat rate of £33 (about 44 dollars). Bargain!

    I’ve just tried to find how much ticket prices are for a big gig over here. The biggest one I can find is Queen who are playing London soon, and even the top price tickets there are only £90. Those prices for BS look really steep in comparison.

    • Every time they invent something to thwart scalpers, the scalpers invent a new way to circumnavigate the rules. Isn’t that the oldest story in the books? The wealthy will always spoil it for everyone. Neighborhoods. Concerts. Theater. As soon as the wealthy step in, it’s all gone.

      The problem with Springsteen tix is that there’s an intense concentration of rich people willing to pay those prices. $400 is nothing to them! It’s a rounding error in their checkbook.

  16. Happy to hear you were able to see it, and got good tickets. I like your POV, too. Sounds like a really cool set, intimate. And the shots you took are marvelous of course. I can imagine the bee’s eyes in the second photo, almost comic book character, like.

    • That’s the ONLY way we were going to see it. It seems like a great evening of theater…it’s the talk of the town…but I’m unwilling and unable (mostly unable) to pony up for a ticket.

      Those pictures took themselves. When you have great equipment like this iPhone, all you have to do is point and press. It’s fool-proof.

  17. Is that last picture a spider or an insect caught in a spider webb? Caught in a webb and now it is raining on me. I wonder if it was like that during the French Revolution. Waiting and walking to the guillotine in a pouring rain!

  18. I was directed here by Lady Dinah of Mow (I must thank her). Gorgeous bee, moth and spider photos. I’m glad I’m not the only one who takes a million photos then spends an age whittling them down to a select few.

    • Dinah and I are old pals. She’s good people. Welcome aboard. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Much appreciated. Remember…there’s never a fee her.

      I had no idea that was a moth. I thought it was a beetle. Took Dinah to straighten my ass out.

      Isn’t that the beauty of digital photos? But it DOES take some time to weed through them all. I’m getting better at it but I can’t start unless I have a good :20-:30 minutes to spare.

  19. i was going to ask if you could hook a sister up for tickets, but apparently not! he’s earned it, and you’ve reminded me that i at least owe him the honor of buying his autobiography. after all he’s done for me through the years, it would be the least i could do…certainly on my newly fixed income.

    • An edict was issued from the compound in Colt’s Neck: no comps. The only reason I saw it was because I won the ticket lottery. But we got to chat with him for a minute after the show. That was a thrill.

      Actually, I just started the book. Very entertaining but, oh, holy jesus, this book needs an editor. Why describe something in two words when you can use twenty?

  20. Came over from the Banished One (aka Dinahmow). Have seen you at Scarlet’s a few times. Thank you for sharing these gorgeous, colorful garden fotos! What stunning, vibrant flowers and such spectacular, exciting creatures! Nature is beautiful and awesome.

    Congrats on winning the lotto for the $75 tickets! As long as y’all enjoyed the show, then that’s all that matters. But I gotta confess. For $75, I expect Bruce to serenade me or at least give me a lap dance!

  21. Another visitor from dear Dinahmow here. Am rendered speechless by the ticket prices! Stopped going to concerts years ago when it seemed likely that the band/artist might not appear for a couple of hours because he (always a he) was too drunk/too cool to bother obliging a paying audience. Thank goodness for YouTube! (Is that a really Philistine-ish thing to say?)

    • Welcome aboard! Dinah is becoming the conduit through which I am acquiring a lot of attention. She’s the best. Very generous with her space.

      Concert and theater ticket prices make me feel broke. Like I’m not working hard enough or I should’ve embraced something like high finance or the law or medicine to make more money. But those things didn’t interest me. Outside looking in.

Vent Central:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s