Billy Joel treated New Year’s Eve TV viewers to a special performance of his 1980 hit single “You May Be Right,” and that was free. Most of us were up past midnight anyway, so it didn’t even cost any sleep to watch the “Piano Man” singer-songwriter ring in 2014 with an energetic stroll down memory boulevard.
But for those 19,000 or so partiers who actually got inside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center arena to see Billy Joel perform live, the event set them back an average of $477.22 each, according to Forbes Magazine.
And that doesn’t include parking and popcorn. Or champagne.
Actually, parking was only a problem for those crazy enough to attempt to reach downtown Brooklyn by car on New Year’s Eve. The Billy Joel show was expected to draw such a crowd, despite the hefty ticket price, that New York’s Long Island Railroad added extra trains just to take revelers to hear the formerly chart-topping pop star, who has now returned to a regular live performance schedule at age 64.
The two-hour concert kicked off his national tour which now moves to Florida. But Billy Joel has also announced that he will play monthly shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden for as long as he can continue to sell tickets.
According to a Forbes analysis, that could be a long time.
By looking at the prices of tickets on the “secondary” market, where resellers buy up tickets and sell them for more than face value on web sites such as StubHub and others, Forbes writer Jesse Lawrence projects that Billy Joel will be able to play at least 36 monthly shows before his ticket prices drop to levels where further performances would no longer work financially.
Right now, the Madison Square Garden tickets make the price of Billy Joel’s New Year’s Eve show in Brooklyn look downright cheap. As of now, Billy Joel has nine scheduled shows at MSG with an average price of $579 per ticket.
On New Year’s Eve, Billy Joel far outpaced even his closest competitor in the high-price wars. Coming in second was Britney Spears, who charged an average of $270.57 for her New Year’s Eve show at Planet Hollywood Theatre in Las Vegas.
Jill Scott at Radio City Music Hall in New York ($246.05) and Phish at Madison Square Garden ($233.12) rounded out the Top 5.
Also making appearances on the New Year’s Eve Top 25 Priciest List were The Goo Goo Dolls (No. 7 for $210 at Los Angeles’s House Of Blues), Widespread Panic (No. 14 for $138.91 at Atlanta’s Philips Arena) and 66-year-old Southern Rock legend Gregg Allman (No. 21 for $110 at Jacksonville’s Florida Theater).
None of them, however, could compare to the gold standard of sky-high ticket prices set by Billy Joel.