The cheapest tickets for Rihanna's performance on Tuesday night were 369 shekels, and that was for standing room only. Seated tickets cost more than 1,300 shekels, and the ultra-VIP tickets a mind-boggling 1,450 shekels.
Imagine you have two teenage kids, both massive Rihanna fans. They want to go, they need to go, and so you have to go too. So that's an easy one thousand shekels, before you take into account the merchandising, refreshments, transport (and extra money for a babysitter back home when the talent is an hour late to appear on stage).
And it's not just the kids. On the other end of the spectrum, but by no means cheaper, is Sir Cliff Richard. The septuagenarian minstrel rocked into Tel Aviv this summer, and by the time the police union members had had their first pick of seats (true story), the cheapest tickets were more than 400 shekels, and that was for the nosebleed seats. It was inspiring to see the over-70s bopping along to Living Doll, but they had to pay the same amount as two full-time earners, and the monthly old-age pension starts at 1,500 shekels.
Tickets for Rihanna's Texas concert
on November 11 start at $54 dollars. That's 190 shekels, almost half of the price of the cheapest Tel Aviv tickets, which is ironic because according to the OECD, the average Israeli net income
per household is almost half of that of the average American household
I am aware that Israel is far away from the US, and security is always an issue here, but Barbados isn't exactly close to the east coast (3,300 km) and yet the tickets
are actually cheaper for Rihanna's concert there than in the US itself. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe the maths is off (it wouldn't be the first time), but it seems that like a lot of things here in Israel, somewhere down the line someone is making an awful lot of money from people indulging in what should be a normal cultural experience.
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