Is Springsteen Headed for Wiltern or for E Street?

Bruce Springsteen at the Wiltern Theatre?

It sounds like the ultimate high for a Brooooce fan. The tour of intimate facilities that's under consideration, including a possible week's worth of shows at the 2,200-capacity L.A. Art Deco theater, would be Springsteen's first small-venue trek since before "Born to Run" was released 20 years ago.

Indeed, ticket brokers expect to be able to get $600 for prime seats.

"Seeing him in such an intimate venue will draw a lot of the old fans out," says Bill Bowden, manager of Murray's Tickets.

But, Bruce-watchers say, there's something Springsteen fans would cherish even more than seeing their hero up close: seeing him with his old band.

"If it's Bruce in a theater acoustic vs. with the E Street Band in an arena, I think E Street would be a hotter ticket even in a larger facility," says Gary Bongiovanni, editor in chief of the concert trade magazine Pollstar.

Should Springsteen and the old band tour next summer as rumored, the expected broker price for prime tickets would as much as $750--with more seats to sell.

E Streeters or no, Springsteen probably can't top Barbra Streisand, who set all sorts of records with her comeback tour last year. Brokers reported getting as much as $1,000 for tickets--though the record face value of $350 for the best seats helped push the resale price up.

"That was such a unique situation with a performer who hadn't [done concerts] in years," says Bongiovanni. "It's not a fair comparison."

The issue is moot if Springsteen's management and concert promoters employ a system that would keep tickets out of brokers' hands. One possibility: requiring all ticket-holders to show photo ID upon both purchase and entry to the concerts. The system had some success at a Wiltern concert by Phil Collins several years ago.

"There will always be brokers and ways for us to get tickets," scoffs Bowden. "I don't think it will be that hard."

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World