We're a spoiled bunch. We have more technology than we can understand and require more to keep us busy and entertain us than our parents - or even us when we were young.
We need Kindle readers, Wii game consoles, laptop computers, iPad's, iPhones and other "i" devices that focus the pleasure on the I and not so much the us. It's all about you ... er ... I. Such wasn't the case a generation ago, when magazines, radio and television seemed to keep us entertained. Were we happy with that or were we waiting around for something more stimulating? TV and magazines were gateway drugs to the entertainment industry, and now we need a bigger fix, but at what cost?
It is certainly expensive to keep us entertained, and I suppose part of the expense is the stimulation that we're supposed to get from all those fancy devices. I'm not sure the expense always lives up to the hype. All those fancy apps that we keep hearing about aren't free, you know.
But it isn't just iPhone's and fancy book readers that cost a ton. The summer concert season is in high gear, and the cost of going to a show is about the same as you'd spend on a nice weekend getaway. The east coast swing of the Dave Matthews Band summer tour is coming to a close, and this year I "only" got to see 4 shows - one in Saratoga Springs, NY, two in Camden and one in Hershey, PA. Outside of the trip to New York, the two local shows cost about $200 to attend when you add everything up - which I have.
A ticket is $85, the great city of Camden charges $25 to park the car, food and beverages to cart along to the "tailgate" portion of the evening runs around $30, then there's the requisite gasoline and bridge tolls, which brings the evening's total cost to around $150. When those sorts of financial figures start rolling around, I ask myself if the evening is worth the cost, and I don't always have a good answer.
In the grand scheme (the only one that matters) there is the vague definition of entertainment value, which is a sliding scale. Sometimes I think about the music and sometimes I think about the cost. Meanwhile, I'm not always sure that spending $150 to have music fly around my head is a good bargain. There is a part of it that is a social event, but I can think of a ton of social events that are free, so maybe the social aspect is overrated?
Lots of artists have either cancelled tours or are having trouble selling tickets. Even pop sensations from that American Idol TV show have had trouble, so you know there must be a problem. If brain-dead TV viewers aren't willing to part with 50 bucks to see a flash in the pan performing old songs, what is the state of concerts in America? Are we finally starting to question our extravagances? I am.
Maybe finally, the cost of big-time music is starting to make people ask the same questions I've been asking myself, or maybe the music isn't that good anymore? Either way, something has to give, but it might not be me so much anymore.
I give so much.