Many of my relatives and friends complain about the fluctuating gas prices in Vincennes and how the old hometown most of the time is on the higher end of the scale.

It’s a conspiracy that must be investigated, they insist.

Our Illinois neighbors to the west often are an exception to having gas prices lower than Vincennes thanks to the Democrat-controlled government in the Land of Lincoln. The fine politicians across the Wabash River doubled the state gas tax from 19 to 38 cents over the summer, yet even with the upsurge some days I didn’t see prices any higher in Illinois than Vincennes.

I don’t claim to comprehend the inner workings of the gasoline industry or how prices are set for convenient marts and stations. All I know is there are those I love who are upset most weeks over the petrol sticker prices around town.

Another thing I do not understand is how these same people are not fired up over something more sinful, more wicked, and more devious than the pricing of gasoline these days.

Have you taken out a loan lately to purchase a concert ticket? Where’s the outrage?

Now there is something to declare war over folks. Somewhere along the line the costs of going to a concert crept up much faster than the ages of silver-haired rock and music stars.

I stumbled across this great injustice last week while cleaning out yet another drawer to satisfy my dear wife’s demand I downsize since retirement. Tucked inside a yellowed, tattered Security Bank & Trust — remember that grand, old friend of the banking industry? — envelope were about two dozen half-torn concert tickets telling the history of my musical tastes in the middle 1970s.

The first ticket stub I studied got me into a show at old Roberts Stadium in Evansville featuring headliner Kiss along with Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band plus Artful Dodger — all for $7. Seven bucks to see two future members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a band I still listen to often.

Do the math, dear readers, and you discover $7 spent on that concert equals $32.67 in today’s coin.

You can’t buy a ticket to a Kiss concert now for less than $55. And that’s in the upper echelons of stadiums where noses bleed and mountain goats frolic.

Bob Seger, just like Kiss, claims to be on his final career concert tour and the cheapest seat to his Oct. 19 performance at the United Center in Chicago is $75. Ditto on the bleeding noses and goat’s frolicking thing about those ticket locations, by the way.

It grows worse, or should I say more curious, as I dig deeper into my stack of ticket ducats.

I paid $12 for some unexplained reason to see Elton John during the “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” tour. According to recorded inflation rates in the good old United States since 1975, that same ticket should cost $56.01 today.

On Oct. 28 you can watch Elton John travel one last time down the Yellow Brick Road at Bankers Life Field house in Indianapolis for a mere $278. This is if you wish to sit in the very last row and look at the back of Reginald Dwight’s noggin.

Let me put this in a reverse light. By today’s concert ticket threshold, I should have paid $1,297.54 back in 1976 to see what glasses Elton would wear on stage.

There’s no way my part-time salary at old Charlie’s Burger Barn or few bucks I made stringing high school basketball games for The Sun-Commercial could have covered such a ticket price.

Add the current Kiss and Bob Seger ticket costs together and I would have needed $606.76 back in high school to pass through the Roberts Stadium gates. Of course, that is if I could convince the concert promoters to throw in the 45-minute music set by Artful Dodger for free.

The closest I could come to any kind of sanity in all this comes from a 1979 concert. I enjoyed the musical stylings of Elvis Costello and the Attractions at the Indiana University Auditorium for six bucks.

Six bucks in 1979 equals $20.75 today.

You can see Elvis Costello on Nov. 27 at the Palace in Louisville, Kentucky, for $27. Quite a bargain, and Elvis Costello is far superior to Kiss, Bob Seger and Elton John all rolled onto one stage, in my humble opinion.

Why are today’s ticket prices so out of whack with the rate of American inflation? I wish Congress would investigate on behalf of concert ticket buyers everywhere, but we all know Congress is wrapped up in another little matter at this time.

If anything, I would think these aging stars could have dropped their fees a bit. I’m sure they have enough money to live comfortably during retirement and rightly so since they earned it.

Besides, how much does a few trips through therapy cost anyway?

Plus, they should be collecting even more money through Social Security.

When I first shelled out my hard-earned money for Kiss, Bob Seger, Artful Dodger, Elton John and Elvis Costello, these guys were in their prime and could actually move all over the stage to add plenty of theatrics to the music.

These days, well, the stars’ stage antics have slowed a bit while the prominent smell wafting from rock concert stages is Ben Gay.

Doug Carroll can be reached at stangle1975@cinergymetro.net.

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