Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Budgeting Live Music

Last night I went to BAM to see Mavis Staples sing, and boy oh boy can that woman sing. It was part of BAM's 22nd annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. I went with M and good friend G, and we had great orchestra seats. Not right up front, but in the center of the venue. Ms. Mavis came out and held the mic and sang the truth, and if your soul didn't shake then one would have to wonder if you had one to begin with.

The tickets were about $33, and afterwards we went out to eat at a nearby restaurant at the edge of Fort Greene. That came out to $25 per person for three courses. So while it wasn't the cheapest evening out all told, there are some things I will spend money on without pause. For some people, living in New York tests your temptation to constantly shop and eat out. For me, it tempts my need to clap and cheer and nod to the music.

If there's a really expensive show, like our bank breaking tix to see Etta James in April, then I'll buy them as "presents" because, um, well everybody needs to buy your own self a nice little present, right? And then, of course, there's the summer concerts that you actually have to pay for. Last summer I went to both the Yeah Yeah Yeahs concert and the Beastie Boys concert at McCarren Pool. Then there was the National with Arcade Fire at United Palace waaaaay the heck uptown. Yeah, summer is an expensive season for me...

Because I pay off my credit card in full every month, concert tickets are usually paid up well in advance of the show, so I can split up the cost of the concert and dinner rather than paying for both in one shot. I also really try to soak up the free concerts during the summer in the public parks, and I'll forgo paying to see the same bands indoors. Thankfully, my musical tastes don't include bands that play at Madison Square Garden or the Meadowlands. Now those kinds of tickets would require some serious budgeting skills.

9 comments:

SavingDiva said...

I live in an area that only attracts small groups...since I'm not too up on the music scene, I rarely go to any shows...I will go see friends' bands...

PiggyBankBlues said...

seeing friends' bands is the best! that's a favorite of mine as well- i forgot to put that in my post :)

English Major said...

I spend SO much money on going to see my friends' stuff--plays and music mostly--that I barely ever get to go to "real" concerts. I did catch Feist at McCarren Park Pool last summer, though. (It was a great concert, but I don't know if I can go back there without orthopedic shoes--standing on the uneven concrete for two openers and a long, albeit awesome, main set is brutal on the back.)

PiggyBankBlues said...

lol, well, i guess i didn't notice b/c i basically wear orthopedic shoes! okay, they're new balance sneakers, but they do have orthotic inserts in them. all that waitressing did a number on my feet...

Ms. M&P said...

Can you believe I went to see Super Diamond (a Neil Diamond tribute band) last weekend?? I love music too and gotta get my fix however I can...

PiggyBankBlues said...

m&p- you never cease to surprise me :)

feministfinance said...

Oh man, Mavis Staples! I'm so jealous.

My first big expense with my first paycheck out of school was to drop on tickets for about seven shows at my favorite local club. That was a goooooood music month.

PiggyBankBlues said...

wow, that was a big paycheck!

SF Money Musings said...

My first real rock concert was the Strokes in San Francisco a few years ago. I camped out at 6am in the morning, ditched class and wanted to be first in line for the show. tickets were $25 but sold out by the time i chose to go so I paid $50.

I spent $200 on two tix, two diff days to see Radiohead a year ago. Amazing experience.

I've cut down significantly on live music. Now I only see smaller local acts because they're way cheaper. I used to gladly fork over $50 to see Interpol, The Killers and The strokes but now that i'm budgeting and crunching numbers, I'm even more picky about what i see.