Concert tickets: how much is too much?

I've been to quite a few concerts and gigs since moving to New Zealand and the price of tickets often varies alarmingly depending on the act. This means that whenever an announcement is made about a gig and when tickets are going on sale, I never know if I'm going to be able to afford to go until the day.

When tickets for AC/DC went on sale last year, I felt it could be my first and last chance to see them in concert. I decided I could live with the investment of $160, though I was annoyed that ticket prices were later lowered to $100 when some fans like me had paid the full amount! However, I consider $160 to be pretty much my threshold for a concert ticket - and it has to be someone unbelievably epic.

For Lady Gaga's concerts in Auckland this March, I knew I'd have to factor in travel costs. I was worried that the cost of tickets was going to hurt my pocket in a big way. Also, just quietly, I have an issue about having to leave Wellington to see concerts - I don't like doing it, I always believe they should be coming here, but for Gaga I had to make an exception.

I was relieved the tickets were just $80 each for seating or standing and gladly paid that because I knew how awesome it would be - it was worth every cent. Unlike AC/DC or the Bon Jovi concerts, there were no annoying restrictions on cameras or recording devices. For that $80, we got the full "Monster Ball" concert that everywhere else did and not the abridged version most acts bring to NZ, and we could take all the photos we wanted. During the concert, she told the audience that her record company had wanted her to bring an abridged show and when they explained to her "Gaga, it's expensive", her response was, "then it's a good job I don't care about money". Gaga said she paid the difference of bringing the whole show here and whether this is true or a ploy to make her look more awesome, I don't know...and I don't really care. What I do know is, I got an awesome show for that $80. I'd already arranged to go on the second night with another friend and thought nothing of buying two reasonably priced tickets and going to both gigs.

I learned the other week that Opshop were playing a gig at Bar Bodega to promote their new album and was almost speechless when I discovered it was only going to cost me $40! I first saw them at a free last-minute gig at Waitangi Park a few years back when they had about 12 hours' notice to replace a band stranded in Australia. Their awesome stage presence stayed with me and I knew it would be worth going to. As it turned out, I would have happily paid twice that as they're an excellent band to see live and it's nice to see them having a bit of fun with their fans in a more intimate venue.

Also a few years back I heard that KT Tunstall was playing a gig at Bar Bodega. I had bought tickets to see her in London in 2005 but it ended up being the night after my dad's funeral so I missed it. So it was a wrong I always wanted to put right and it only cost me $25 - possibly because the new owner of Bodega used to be KT Tunstall's tour manager. However, I still think it was awesome that she took time out of her honeymoon to perform an impromptu gig with her husband. I always liked her music, but made sure I bought her albums after that.

This brings me to my latest ticket price fiasco, when Bon Jovi announced they would play here on December 4 and 5. I have a wedding to go to on December 4 so I was thinking about breaking my golden gig rule for the second time this year and going to Auckland to see them. That was until I found out the $200 price tag for having decent seats. I would have to pay flights and find somewhere to stay on top of that and I think it's a ridiculous amount of money. Michael Jackson's comeback concert tickets were cheaper than that! Is there anything other than refusing to buy them that can stop this hideous overpricing of concert tickets?

I must confess, I was going back to the UK for the Michael Jackson concerts, which was much more expensive, and I did the same for the Spice Girls reunion concert a few years back. Yes, I know...not cool - but it just had to be done! I never saw the Spice Girls in concert and it had always been one of my unfulfilled teenage dreams. After that, my life felt complete and I feel no shame in saying so.

Personally, I think if Lady Gaga can afford to bring her epic and elaborate stage show for $80 each at Vector arena, then surely Bon Jovi could have hovered around the $120 mark since they're playing in a stadium? I might have bought tickets for that price, but I refuse to be taken for a ride - I'll keep my $200-plus-expenses thanks. Now, what to spend it on...

How much is too much to pay for a concert ticket? Have you travelled to another city to see a concert or would you only go to see them if they came to your area?

Join the outrage on the Over the Rainbow Facebook page.

» If you like this blog, vote for it in the NetGuide People's Choice Web Awards! Go here to cast your vote for it as Best Blog. Voting closes on July 30.