February 20, 2019
Singer-songwriter Billy Joel revealed the reason why nobody is allowed to purchase front row tickets to his concerts, and it's for a good cause.
In a 2014 interview with Billboard, Joel, who has been a mainstay in popular music for more than 40 years, said that they hold the front row tickets due to the scalpers.
For a long time, Joel and his team have tried to figure out how to beat the scalpers.
"We never sell front rows. We hold those tickets at just about every concert," the 69-year-old musician told the news outlet.
He then explained that scalpers would sell the front row tickets for high prices. "Our tickets are cheap, under $100, some in the $80s, the highest is about $150," he added.
Joel, commonly nicknamed the "Piano Man," was quite irritated thinking that his fans couldn't enjoy a front row seat at his shows because of the scalpers. The legendary singer said:
"I'd look down and see rich people sitting there, I call 'em 'gold chainers.' Sitting there puffing on a cigar, 'entertain me, piano man.'"
"They don't stand up, make noise, sit there with their bouffant haired girlfriend lookin' like a big shot. I kinda got sick of that, who the (heck) are these people, where are the real fans?"
HOLDING THE TICKETS
Realizing that his enthusiastic fans were always in the back of the concert venue in the worst seats, Joel did something about it.
"We now hold those tickets, and I send my road crew out to the back of the room when the audience comes in and they get people from the worst seats and bring 'em in to the front rows," he said.
"This way you’ve got people in the front row that are really happy to be there, real fans."
For a long time, Joel and his team have tried to figure out how to beat the scalpers. But according to him, it's extremely hard to battle them.
"You can't fight that secondary market. There used to be anti-scalping laws and they let them lapse from the books," the "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" singer said.
"My theory is there's a lot of tax revenue in those secondary ticket markets, these guys selling tickets for $500 to $1,000 gotta pay tax on it, and a lot more goes to government than there would be based on my ticket prices."
HUGELY SUCCESSFUL CAREER
Since the 1960s, Joel has been making music. He released albums throughout the '70s, '80s, and '90s. Across the two decades of his solo career, he produced 33 Top 40 hits in the US.
In 1992, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Seven years later, he was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.