There has been a resurgence of interest in “the Boss”. First, the career overview show Bruce Springsteen presented on Broadway for two months in 2017, and which appeared as a critically acclaimed Netflix documentary, was revised in 2021. Now the big news is that the Boss is touring the US with the mighty E Street Band.
Despite the expense of entry due to Ticketmaster pricing algorithims, which has become a major issue for popular artists, the tour is getting rave reviews. While fans resent the high ticket prices, there is a lot of love for Springsteen. This video, wherein Springsteen invited a girl up onto the stage to sing in 2012, shows why he is so beloved.
Under the name Mfernkes, the girl’s grandparents observe that Sprinsteen was in the habit of regularly picking a child at random to sing a few verses of Waitin’ on a Sunny Day. Given that the song is about hope in times of adversity, the invitation to kids to sing with him speaks to Springsteen’s faith in the future of humanity. Mfernkes add “We were lucky that he did pick our granddaughter and we were very proud of her performance”. They are damn right about that! What a memory for the girl!
As 42awww puts it, “This must be one of the most precious moments of your life!! When she looks back 20 years from now….and Bruce the epic of class”. Other commentators mention Springsteen’s generosity of spirit. All this makes the Ticketmaster ticket prices harder for fans. After 43 years the fanzine Backstreets is closing due to this issue, though they take pains to point out that the staff don’t blame Springsteen, but the Ticketmaster monopoly. Despite it all, the shows seem fantastic.
The problem with ticket pricing boils down to the fact that Ticketmaster has effectively become a monopoly since it merged with Live Nation, which promotes events and operates venues, in 2010. According to CNBC, the goup has grown to control approximately 70% of the US ticketing and venues market. Moreover, since the group controls most of the large venues, and raises prices in accordance with demand, it is affecting major artists disproportionately. Just ask fans of Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and Bruce Springsteen. Or the artists themselves. To add to the dismal situation, both fans and artists have a strong desire for live concerts after Covid19. And Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band aren’t getting any younger.
Fortunately, the Ticketmaster/Live Nation monopoly is the subject of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. One hopes that sanity will return to the pricing of concert tickets to see popular artists. In the meantime, Backstreets can have the last word: “If any of this is to reflect on Bruce Springsteen here at the end of our run, we’d like it to be that his extraordinary artistry inspired an extraordinary fan response that lasted for 43 years. That’s extraordinary.”