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Rolling Stones offer bargains 

It probably seems crazy to suggest that a concert with a top ticket price of $301.75 has some bargain tickets, but it’s true: There are some deals to be found in the Rolling Stones show coming to Alltel Arena on March 9, 2006. Just the mention of “2006” sort of sobers the immediate enthusiasm we felt when word starting trickling out that the Stones were coming back to the Little Rock area, for the first time since that huge stadium gig on Nov. 11, 1994. And, apparently so as not to scare off would be concert-goers, Alltel Arena has been marketing this as a show priced at $151.75, $91.75 and $60.75 with a “limited” number of gold level, $301.75 tickets (don’t forget, if you buy through Ticketmaster you’re going to get an additional $6 stuck on the ticket, plus an arena fee of $1.50). “Limited” is a relative term, just as there are a “limited” number of tickets total in the arena — about 14,000 available for this show. A look at a pre-sale seating chart reveals more than a handful of $300 tickets: A good portion of the floor is priced at that level, and the three middle sections of both sides (think of the setup facing a basketball court in the middle) are also colored in high-dollar gold. That’s a good number of seats, at least 2,000. So you big spenders, don’t think you’ll get left out of the grab for gold seats. Now, here’s where it gets fun, and though I’d like to keep it a secret for myself and get my order in at 10 a.m. Saturday, I feel I must share this information with the 12 readers who’ve gone this far into the column. We did a double take on the pre-sale layout (which is subject to change, depending on pre-sale totals) and noticed that the 10 rows in front of the stage are priced at $90.75 apiece. That’s right, what many would consider the best seats for the show are at the third level of pricing. These seats did not go on sale earlier this week in the Ticketmaster/Ameriquest presale. They go on sale with all seats at 10 a.m. Saturday. There are a few of these, also, in the stands just to the right and left of the stage. Then there are $90 tickets in the upper deck, where you would expect. I’m told the Rolling Stones do this “for their fans.” They’re not out to gouge everybody for $300 a pop. For the folks willing to spend a little more, here’s another interesting deal. Several seats at $151 are situated by the Stones’ “second stage.” The typical Stones show features a ramp from the main stage through the crowd on the floor to a smaller stage near their sound board. You’ll be able to see Mick, Keith and the boys almost face-to-face there for $151 a ticket. Make no mistake, Alltel Arena general manager Michael Marion has gone to every extreme to work his ticket price where it’s the cheapest on the Stones’ BiggerBang Tour. Along the East Coast, where a person’s average salary is significantly more than ours in little ol’ Arkansas, the price of tickets reflect that. You can survey Ticketmaster and deduce that through the South, the price drops. Marion was hoping to have the only show in the Mid-South and at one point it appeared Memphis would be left out of the Stones. But Memphis and its FedEx Forum is back on, which seems only fitting, since a mere 29 years ago, Memphis was about the only place in the South you could see the Stones (at Liberty Bowl Stadium). We thought in 1994 that the Stones would more likely be passing on than passing through here again. We’d have to bet the farm that 2006 will be the time that the chorus “this will be the last time” will be true. Then, outside of U2 or Paul McCartney or the Who, you’d have to wonder what act would ever command this type of ticket price again.
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