Recommended: Reggae on the Rocks, Bruce Tickets

Jimmy Cliff headlined first Reggae on the Rocks in 1988 (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

Tim Van Schmidt


Flashback to 1988. I’m in a backstage dressing room at Red Rocks, talking to reggae king Jimmy Cliff just minutes after a rousing full capacity performance.

This was at the first Reggae on the Rocks show — 34 years ago. The lineup that night was pretty diverse, with sets by David Lindley, The Neville Brothers, Burning Spear, and Cliff. Afterwards I found myself sitting knee to knee with a definitive reggae artist who had a lot to say.

Cliff talked about a huge issue at the time — apartheid in South Africa — as well as his take on politics: “‘Poli’ means ‘people’ and ‘tics’ is a parasite, so ‘politics’ is the ‘people’s tics’…”

He also talked about love: “Love is sincerity, humility, generosity, and charity”.

Communism, capitalism, “the source”, which he said is “responsible for all the boundless universes that exist”, and Babylon — Cliff was in a sharing mood that night on a wide range of subjects.

Now, in 2022, Reggae on the Rocks returns with two dates — August 20-21 — and will be featuring Rebelution, Steel Pulse, Third World, The Itals, DENM, Judge Roughneck, DJ Mackle, and The Meditations.

The Meditations play Reggae on the Rocks on August 21 (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

Springsteen: Did anyone else out there try to buy tickets for Bruce Springsteen’s March 2023 date in Denver — and come up empty handed?

Oh, there’re tickets available thanks to the new ticket selling market that allows fans to buy and then resell their tickets. They call those tickets “verified fan resale” but it is really “verified fan scalping”.

iZCALLi will be in Old Town Square on August 18 (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

I’m not sure who was able to buy standard price tickets — even if they were available. On a recent search I found resale tickets that went from a bottom price of $200 high up behind the stage to as much as $8300 for seats in premium locations. I even found one set of tickets priced at $11,500.

That’s a lot of wishful thinking by the sellers.

As I understand it, these prices change according to how many people are searching for tickets and what they’re paying — and there seem to be handy monthly payment plans too.

Melissa Etheridge performs at the Pikes Peak Center in Colorado Springs on August 16 (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

I’ll pay to see good rock and roll, but this system stinks.

It’s no surprise, though. This is how it is going for all major acts — employing algorithms to calculate the demand for tickets on an instant basis, squeezing extra dollars out of ticket buyers by allowing them to drive the market with fan frenzy. And I’ll bet everyone gets a cut of the action.

What’s surprising here is that it is in full swing over Springsteen — a “working class” hero.

What happened to the days when you could pay a set price for tickets and see a big star? Kiss them goodbye for the top tier of artists and big venues. That includes Springsteen — just another profit machine?

Live Music: Collective Soul is at the Mission Ballroom in Denver on August 14 and Melissa Etheridge plays the Pike’s Peak Center in Colorado Springs on August 16. Also on August 16, Amos Lee is at Red Rocks.

Springsteen plays Denver on March 2 – Good luck affording tickets (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

At Fiddler’s Green: A Day To Remember, Jimmy Eat World, Silversun Pickups, and more on August 19 and the “Punk in Drublic” festival featuring NOFX, Pennywise, Circle Jerks, The Suicide Machines, Adolescents, and T.S.O.L. on August 20.

NOCO Shows: Upcoming at Avogadro’s Number: Magnie on August 11, Wrangler Jim and His Personal Demons on August 19, and Weekend Weather on August 20. iZCALLi plays Old Town Square on August 18.

Visit “Time Capsules by Tim Van Schmidt” on YouTube.

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