An Open Letter to Paul McCartney Regarding Ticket Prices

I should be able to see you at a reasonable price, especially from a mile away
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Dear Paul,

I had this great idea.

I would surprise my parents with tickets to your Friday show at SoFi Stadium. Naturally, I would also be in attendance.

The tickets would have been ideal because Mother’s Day just happened and my mom’s birthday is May 21. More importantly, these tickets would have been much better than whatever lame gift I usually get for her, which, let’s face it, will be a $20 Amazon gift card so she can buy books on her Kindle.

But forget Mother’s Day and my mom’s birthday. Your show was supposed to be the first time I did something of importance for my parents. I’m a writer, a musician and an adjunct college instructor at three southern California campuses, which means I’ve never had any money, but I have more now than ever and thought Friday’s concert would be a great way for my parents and I to bond over maybe the only thing the three of us have in common — your music.

My parents wanted more for me, which is why I attended Torrance schools although I was supposed to attend Los Angeles Unified School District. My dad would drive out of his way in his blue truck to drop me off at school before he had to be at his job as a telephone repairman. This was 7 a.m., sometimes earlier, and there were many nights when he got home just before my bedtime. His jeans were dirty, boots scuffed, dirt under his nails. He missed my first Little League home run because he was at work. That’s my dad. A provider.

I remember these drives for many reasons, one of them being the brown Beatles Love Songs cassette he had in his truck. That tape was one of my earliest introductions to your music. Leave it to my dad, the guy who doesn’t listen to music like I do, like I’m assuming you do, to have one tape and it’s the Beatles.

I say all of this because I don’t think my parents — individually or as a couple — have been to a concert. Ever. If they have, that’s news to me. And, if they have, it’s probably to something lame like the Eagles.

I wanted to change that by surprising them with tickets to your show. It would have been great: I was going to tell them the day of the concert because — let’s be honest, here, Paul — they don’t have plans on Friday night. Not this Friday night. Not any Friday night.

Sadly, my dream of finally being the good son who spends more than an Andrew Jackson on his parents isn’t happening. And, sadly for us, when you look into that sea of 70,000 people Friday night at SoFi, we won’t be three of them because your prices are too expensive for my surprise gift. According to Ticketmaster.com, tickets for section 526 — which appears to be the absolute worst seats at the venue — are $190 each. Or, if we want to sit in section 539, tickets are a steal at $174.

Let’s, Paul, for the sake of argument, say I want my parents to, you know, actually see you, so I buy three seats in section C129. Those seats are $450. Each. And, as Ticketmaster reminds me, “+ fees.”

I can’t surprise my parents with tickets to see Sir Paul freakin’ McCartney only for them to sit halfway to LAX. That’s like giving a child a toy without batteries. A $600 toy, mind you.

That $600 doesn’t include parking. I’ve yet to visit SoFi Stadium, but let’s pretend parking is $20. We both know it’s not $20, but let’s pretend. That’s $620. My parents don’t drink alcohol, so I’m definitely saving money on beers, but — and I know you don’t live here — have you any idea of current gas prices? You probably don’t because if I wrote “The Long and Winding Road” I wouldn’t know gas prices, either. Paul, gas is expensive. Like, so expensive that I’m writing to you and wasting space by talking about gas.

Conservatively, if I bought the cheapest tickets, I would be looking at $700 to take my parents to your show and sit far enough away that we will not be able to see you. To be frank, Paul, that sucks. I don’t want to spend that kind of money to stare at the big screens that I am sure will be on stage. Certainly, you’ve heard of YouTube. My parents and I can get the same experience tomorrow morning for much less money.

Paul, serious question: What the fuck?

Can I take a guess before you answer? You probably have no idea how much tickets are to your show in Inglewood or any show on your “Got Back” tour. You also probably have no idea how many tickets are being sold by Ticketmaster as “Verified Resale Tickets,” which appears to make the prices increase and fluctuate. But what about the tickets that are not resales? Why are those so expensive? Surely someone in your camp knows how much tickets cost to your shows. And surely they can be cheaper.

The COVID-19 lockdown meant lots of people didn’t make money. I’m assuming your band members fall into this category. If so, I sympathize with them just like I sympathize with everyone whose income suffered due to the pandemic. What about them, Paul, your fans? What about people like me, people who want to see you, to take their parents out for a night to hear the music of their youth, the music of my youth, the music of all our youths?

Should that night cost $700?

Call me naïve, but I don’t think any three people should have to pay $700 to attend any concert that doesn’t include Elvis walking onto the stage and confirming he faked his 1977 death. That is worth $700.

Sure, you are Paul McCartney, but I grew up going to five-dollar punk shows where the musicians were two feet away from me and my friends. Those were the best bands I’ve ever seen and the best times of my life. You wrote the soundtrack to my life, to my parents’ lives, to so many people’s lives, but even you, Paul, can’t convince me that any concert is worth $190 a ticket to sit as far away as physically possible.

I’m a bass player and songwriter and I’ve been vegan for 18 years (vegetarian for seven before that), which means there’s pretty much nothing you could do to get me to stop loving you and your music. If this letter means anything to you, hopefully it’s this: The idea of seeing you in concert is worth every cent in my bank account and for the first time in my life, I can afford $700 and not worry about how I’m going to eat for the next three months. But I shouldn’t have to. I should be able to see you at a reasonable price, especially from a mile away.

Signed,

Ryan Ritchie


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