I still go to a fair amount of music concerts, though not nearly as many as when I worked at a radio station and could get free tickets… and not nearly as many as before kids came along (their “school night” is my “school night” too… 5:45 a.m. alarms don’t mesh well with a rock and roll lifestyle).

My wife and I both like Lyle Lovett and Shawn Colvin. When I saw they were playing an acoustic concert together at the Taft Theater, a downtown Cincinnati venue, getting tickets was a no-brainer.

Except for the Ticketmaster fees. Oh, the horrible, hideous, insidious fees! Tickets in the “cheap” seats were $32. But ordering just two tickets online would cost me another $32 in fees – basically you get two tickets for the price of three… what a bargain!

There’s the service fee – per ticket, mind you – then an order processing fee tacked on for your payment pleasure.

I love how those Ticketbastards put an exclamation point behind the “Free” in the Delivery method. I’m surprised they haven’t figured out a way to charge folks for using their own printer and ink to print tickets, or their own mobile phone for e-Tickets. If I’d chosen the snail mail option, I’m sure they would’ve charged me $4.90 for a 49-cent postage stamp.

It’s ridiculous. It’s outrageous. It’s usurious. And there’s not a darn thing I can do about it. Especially since Ticketmaster merged with LiveNation, a company that owns and/or operates hundreds of concert venues across the country. They own the theater (or at least have exclusivity rights on performances therein). They own the ticket seller. So they have a monopoly on the music (80%+ market share). Wanna see Lyle and Shawn? It’s gonna cost you. Dearly.

T-shirts: $25 + $10 “sizing fee” and $5 “hangar removal fee”

Thankfully, I was able to walk over to the concert venue’s box office, which is five blocks away from my work. That 10-minute jaunt saved me $27. I should’ve charged Ticketmaster a “pedestrian fee.”