Words & Deeds

How much will you pay for a concert ticket, Boise?

Steve Martin, 71, left, and Martin Short, 66. (Save those jokes about Short using his high school yearbook photo, readers.)
Steve Martin, 71, left, and Martin Short, 66. (Save those jokes about Short using his high school yearbook photo, readers.)

There will be no cheap laughs when comedians Steve Martin and Martin Short visit the Morrison Center on Friday, Oct. 21.

The concert will celebrate two absolute legends, not to mention Martin’s crack bluegrass band, Steep Canyon Rangers.

Prices reflect the royalty of this tag team. Tickets to the general public go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 19, at Ticketmaster for $125, $175, $195 and $350. (Plus fees. That goes without saying nowadays, right?) There’s also a presale happening Thursday, Aug. 18.

$350? That’s actually not the highest ticket price Boise has ever seen. But when I blogged about the show, eyebrows levitated off a few skulls.

Journalist Chris Willman, a former Boisean now based in Los Angeles, tweeted me: “I saw Martin & Short last night in Santa Barbara — rich people HQ — and the top ticket price was $125! Why so much more in Boise?”

Good question. So I asked the promoter why the prices are so high.

“The Morrison Center will most likely be the smallest venue being played on this run of dates,” explained Chris Moore of CMoore Live. “With a first-class production, actors, extravagant props and the Steep Canyon Rangers, this will be a unique show folks won’t want to miss.

“Ticket prices are comparable to other tour stops and are scaled to make the economics work.”

Here’s the breakdown: The orchestra pit (60 tickets) is $350, the floor (1,198) is $195, the lower mezzanine (222 tickets) is $175 and the upper mezzanine (514 tickets) is $125.

The Morrison Center capacity is about 2,000. The capacity of the Santa Barbara Bowl, where Willman reviewed Martin’s and Short’s Aug. 14 show, is about 4,500.

Hence, the price differences to reach the same finish line — a large pile of money.

“The show was great,” Willman tweeted. “I was happy to have paid $300 for a pair of tickets and made a four-hour round trip. But $350 for one ...”

Yep, makes the ol’ wallet flinch. Fortunately, most Boiseans don’t need to worry about it. Only 60 fans get to buy orchestra-row tickets. The majority will pluck seats from that $195 category.

These days, when you have the opportunity to witness royalty — be it comedic or musical — expect to pay. When the Rolling Stones rocked Nampa in 2006, tickets cost $72.25, $112.25, $174 and $367. Taking inflation into account, that $367 ticket would be more like $438 today.

Still, $350 is a record at the Morrison Center. The next two upper-tier ticket marks were “Wicked” ($175) and “The Book of Mormon” ($165).

The sky’s the limit if you choose to pay for special VIP packages. Want to meet Rodney Carrington at his show Friday, Sept. 9? You can cough up $179.75 for a ticket that includes this honor. Heavy metal band Motley Crue offered a $4,500 “Too Fast” Ultimate Meet & Greet VIP Package on its Final Tour, which graced Taco Bell Arena last year. (And drummer Tommy Lee didn’t participate.)

Despite the industry’s rampant sticker shock, treating yourself to live entertainment doesn’t always require a second mortgage. When the Morrison Center hosts The Monkees on Wednesday, Oct. 19, all seats will be $19.50.

“We are sponsoring this great event along with the Morrison Center Endowment Foundation,” Morrison Center Executive Director James Patrick explained. “This is part of the center’s outreach efforts to make sure that the center remains accessible to all patrons and continues to fulfill its mission as the ‘people’s theater.’ ”

The Morrison Center also is sponsoring two free military concerts, the United States Air Force Band of the Gold West on Sunday, Aug. 21, and United States Navy Band on Saturday, Aug. 27. In addition, tickets have been lowered to $10 including most fees to the three-show Velma V. Morrison Family Theatre Series.

“I am also booking some additional shows that will be free or at very low ticket prices,” Patrick said.

But if you’re a fan of Martin Short and Steve Martin? Imagine them together. Should you just chuck your entertainment budget out the window and go for it?

Sometimes it feels good to be a wild and crazy guy.

Treefort on sale Sept. 9

Michael Deeds: 208-377-6407, @michaeldeeds