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When Elton John brought his Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Tour to the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis Oct. 11, 1973, I was there. A few friends and I had floor seats, around 30 or 40 rows from the front. The place was packed as Elton John sang such hits as “Bennie and the Jets,” “Your Song,” “Saturday Night’s Alright” and of course, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”

To be honest, I didn’t remember the date of the concert, but it only took two or three clicks on Google to find out. Google and my MacBook Air are great for finding things out. The whole world – actually the history of the world – are at our fingertips these days.

Elton John has sold over 300 million records. His given name is Reginald Kenneth Dwight, and he was born in Pinner, Middlesex, England. His career has spanned five decades and produced over 50, Top 40 hits. His 1997 tribute to Diana, princess of Wales who was killed in a car accident, “Candle in the Wind,” is still the world’s biggest selling and fastest-selling single of all time.

I learned all that on the internet Sunday evening while researching for this column. The internet can be a wonderful place, with information, history and knowledge on all things at your literal fingertips. But we all know there is a dark, sinister side to the internet, where you can learn to build a pipe bomb, spew hate, bully people and order concert tickets.

Order concert tickets? Yes.

Let me give you a little history of the process of buying concert tickets. Back in the pre-internet era of 1973, my buddies and I called the Mid-South Coliseum box office the day the Elton John tickets went on sale and bought some. First come, first serve. Simple as that. I don’t remember what the price was, but on the internet Sunday I found a used balcony ticket to a 1973 Elton John concert that at face value sold for $5.50.

Fast forward to 10 a.m. Nov. 22, 2019. It was the hour and the day that tickets to Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour in the Enterprise Center in St. Louis went on sale. The concert isn’t until July 7, 2020, but we wanted good tickets.

I haven’t bought rock concert tickets in a few decades, so anyone who buys tickets to concerts these days is likely chuckling about now. It isn’t as simple as picking up a phone and saying “Give me the best two tickets you’ve got to the Elton John concert.” The way they do it now is demoralizing, frustrating, meant only for the rich and famous and should be illegal.

I first read about the Elton John concert in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch a month or so ago and immediately put the date tickets went on sale in my calendar (on my MacBook Air). It was a chance to see history, the farewell tour, and according to the story, tickets are $66.50-$221.50. The wife and I decided $221.50 a ticket was a little steep, especially to see a guy who turned 72 this year. Well, $66.50 or maybe a few dollars more would work for us, and he’d sound just as good and just as loud in the upper deck as the front row.

So, at the stroke of 10 a.m. Felicia was on her MacBook Air, clicking and reading and clicking and reading our way to the Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, 8 p.m. July 7 in the Enterprise Center. Or so we thought. A few frustrated and disappointing hours later I told her I wouldn’t go to the concert if someone gave me the tickets.

She was trying to work her concert-ticket magic while getting her hair done, giving me the ticket play-by-play on the cell phone. How hard could it be to go to ticketmaster.com, the promoter’s recommended source for tickets? Plenty hard.

Felicia got on the site at 10 sharp, and according to the first notice she got, there were 2,000 people in front of her. She punched and punched and punched and punched, with every punch followed by a “nothing available.” Ready to give up, she tried back a couple hours later. Tickets were available, but the starting price per ticket was now over $1,000. I quickly told her my trek down memory lane with Elton John wasn’t worth a couple thousand bucks to me, so let’s forget it, stay home, eat leftover Fourth of July barbecue and listen to “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” on iTunes.

This past Sunday evening I got curious, so Felicia went back to ticketmaster.com to see if the mad rush was over and there were any Elton John bargains out there. Yes, you can still buy tickets. The cheapest we found were seats 5 and 6 in Section 322, row G, for $261 “plus fees.” The best, were in section B, row one, official platinum, for $3,287.26 each “plus fees.”

People use to go to jail for scalping tickets, but since 2007 it has been legal in Missouri to resell tickets for whatever price you want. It’s called free enterprise, the law of supply and demand. It put hundreds of scalpers who hung around outside ballgames and concerts out of business and made some other folks richer.

Anyway, I know I have been out of the concert-going stage of life for a while, but come on! I’ve seen Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, Stevie Wonder, Three Dog Night and a bunch more and doubt I ever paid more than $40 a ticket.

Ticketmaster and dozens of other ticket venues like them have mastered the art of scalping, website style. I am sure the July 7 Elton John concert – one of his over 300 scheduled farewell dates – will be sold out, with lots of people paying lots of money to see it, and Ticketmaster and dozens of resellers making lots of money. I’m sure Elton John will give a good show and make a big haul, too, and it would be interesting to follow the money trail to see who makes how much.

But without a miracle of some sort, I won’t be there. Not for that kind of money. It was worth every bit of the $15 or so I paid in 1973 to see the Rocket Man in his prime, but that’s been quite a few years ago. I am on the cusp of being Medicare eligible, and at 72 is there any way he’s worth $3,287.26 a ticket, even counting inflation?

Maybe I will get lucky. A few famous people have read one of my columns through the years and contacted me. Maybe Elton John will get a link to this column and think back to those simpler, less electronic, Google-less and Ticketmaster-less times when his fans, like me, paid the published price of a ticket or close to it and enjoyed the show. Maybe Elton John will tell one of his handlers, “He’s right! Get him two front-row seats, and throw in a couple of backstage passes to boot.”

Wouldn’t that be nice.