I Thought About It

Tickets went on sale today for U2’s Las Vegas residency, with paid members of the fan club having first crack at them. I must admit I was tempted. I’ve never been to Las Vegas. Then I looked at the prices.

I don’t want to go to Las Vegas that much, not even to see one of my favorite bands. I am sure though that there are thousands who will make the trek.

The Las Vegas residency is a musical tradition going back decades. Think the Rat Pack and Elvis. Rock bands used to joke how they would never be caught dead doing that – but not anymore.

You reach the point where  the road has lost its allure, if indeed it even had any. You’ve paid your dues and have nothing to prove. Why not spend some time where the sound is perfect and you can sleep in the same bed every night? Where the weather is usually good. I get the appeal.

Music is an afterthought for Las Vegas; the town is built on gambling. Which is probably why I have never been there. I understand the appeal of gambling. But I also understand that the odds are stacked against the gambler. I can think of more enjoyable ways to lose money than a game of chance that is set up so that the longer I play, the more I am guaranteed to lose.

Still it might be  nice place for a vacation. I don’t have to gamble. Which is why I was tempted. Trying to find out the cost of a ticket was a challenge though. Those don’t ever seem to be published in advance anymore. The only thing i could find was a hotel package – $1,000 per night per person. Airfare not included.

I wasn’t tempted. I’ figured, maybe a ticket on its own, and find a cheaper hotel. Just out of curiosity – I wasn’t seriously thinking of going. In part because of the music.

U2 will be showcasing one of their most popular albums in this Las Vegas residency, Achtung Baby. It might be my least favorite record of their career. I know it is a brilliant record, i can appreciate teh artistry – but it has never resonated with my soul the way some of their other records have.

So I don’t have a real incentive to make the trek. It isn’t as if I haven’t seen U2 in concert before – I think I’ve been to perhaps seven shows since I first saw them in 1981 at a Christian music festival in the UK. They always put on a great show. But having experienced them live before I’m less likely to overspend on a show.

I’m on a waiting list to buy tickets. No guarantee that I will even get the chance, the shows may sell out before I get the opportunity to see what they are charging.

The experience has me thinking though: how far would I travel and how much would I pay to see a favorite musical act? At this point in my life I have seen pretty much every band I would ever want to see.

Are there some I would like to see again? Definitely. Am I willing to travel far and pay an exorbitant sum? Probably not.

What about you? What musical act would you be willing to travel more than 100 miles to see, and pay more than $100 a ticket. Are there any? The comments section is open.



  1. Only Jethro Tull, but I don’t think they play anymore. Happily, I have seen them three times. Ian Anderson and the band were amazing each time, although he struggled to do his “standing on one leg playing the flute” thing. Admittedly hard at his age. I get it.

    Las Vegas is great for a vacation, by the way. Tons of stunning natural beauty in the region. The hotels are worth touring. And the weather is excellent.

    1. Actually they just released a new album and announced a world tour to support it. I’d be tempted, haven’t seen them since teh 1970s, but they aren’t coming to Canada – and I am going to miss the London show by a few hours.

  2. Neil Remington Abramson · · Reply

    Somewhere I read the average non-gambling Joe (or Jolene) makes a little or breaks about even in Vegas. It’s the minority of high rollers or desperate gamblaholics that lose really big. When I was there last, hours of blackjack netted me $20, enough for free breakfast next morning before leaving. I learned an even better time could be had not gambling and paying for breakfast. In Macao, another casino heaven, I applied that lesson and had much more fun. So, you’re probably safe as long as you aren’t suddenly swept away by a midlife crisis.

    My brother on the other hand – he says we have to be willing to lose $1000 for the chance to win big. He was pissed when I then wouldn’t go with him hoping to score big.

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