DC: Concert at the Anthem vs. Cap One Nosebleeds
September 14, 2022 8:24 AM   Subscribe

This is a more a question on how to spend and value splurge purchases. I would like to see The Killers in DC in mid October. Randomly, they have two shows- one at the huge Cap One Arena, where get in price is around $75 (For nosebleeds), and one at the Anthem- a much more intimate venue that I haven't yet been-where it is $175 (these are all secondary market prices). I'm not going to both --how would you make a decision on something like this?

The difference in cost ($200 for two tickets) is what is hanging me up, of course. If they were the same there would be no question.
This is not that much in big scheme of things personally (about 8% of our family monthly discretionary spending budget, so maybe 3 less meals out), but I have trouble spending extra (closest example would be going first class vs economy)
posted by sandmanwv to Society & Culture (20 answers total)
Assuming this is a once-every-few-years event for you, that's what would influence my decision to spend the extra $200. Plus, I'd much rather pay for experiences than things. If it helps making the cost difference easier to swallow, maybe skip going for dinner before the show, or just run thru a drive through or something instead!
posted by cgg at 8:36 AM on September 14, 2022

I would much rather see a show at the Anthem, a terrific music-specific venue, than at Cap One Arena, which is a hockey stadium. That would be worth the extra cash for me for sure.
posted by fancypants at 8:41 AM on September 14, 2022 [12 favorites]

This would represent way more than 8% of my discretionary spending, and I'd still say the more expensive tickets are worth it, but I personally have no desire to ever sit in nosebleeds in a big stadium for shows - to me those tickets would be close to worthless. (When I did go to a show at Cap One, I was in General Admission and I got there early so I was up close - that was fine)
posted by coffeecat at 8:43 AM on September 14, 2022

The smaller venue seems like it would be a better experience in pretty much every way.

Your family discretionary spending budget is $2,500 a month. You can afford the occasional $200 concert ticket.
posted by box at 8:43 AM on September 14, 2022 [4 favorites]

In 24 years in the DC area I've seen two shows at Cap One, and the later of the two was so long ago it was still called the MCI Center, IIRC. The arena concert experience just isn't fun for me. If a band I liked only came to the arena, I think I'd probably skip the tour. If they also came to the Anthem, I'd pay more for the Anthem in a heartbeat.
posted by fedward at 8:46 AM on September 14, 2022

Personally, I am done with nosebleeds and arenas, I don’t care who the artist is; the difference in experience is so vast. if you can afford what you already know is the better choice, go for it!
posted by sageleaf at 8:46 AM on September 14, 2022

To answer "how would I make a decision" - I try my best to blindly assign a $ amount to the utility I would receive from each experience (it's hard to do it truly blind if you already know the cost, but I do my best by comparing it to the utility I would receive from a different experience at that price point). Growing up, when shopping, my dad would sometimes cover the price tag of something and ask me to name how much I would value it/how much I'd be willing to pay for it before he would uncover the price for comparison with my number. I found that a really useful exercise because it challenged me to define the utility without being influenced by knowledge of the price.

To answer "what should I do for this decision" - having been to both, The Anthem is such a better venue omg. If The Killers are a special-to-you band and you expect this to be a memorable experience, I'd definitely go that route. But that's based on the value it would have to me, not to you. Sometimes I feel like big arena things can be fun in their own way, but of course that's a personal preference.
posted by mosst at 8:47 AM on September 14, 2022

Besides the fact that the Anthem is a better and more intimate venue, it's also much nicer to "make a night of it" with a nice scenic dinner or drink or walk on the wharf than it is downtown.
posted by mosst at 8:51 AM on September 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

In a few years, you won't regret the better venue or miss the few restaurant meals, but you may regret the hockey rink. I say go for the better venue! The band will likely be a little happier there too.
posted by SaltySalticid at 8:53 AM on September 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Two possible approaches, neither of which will tell you the right decision, but which might help you think about it:

1) It's near pointless to spend $150 for a far away stadium show. Just dismiss the Cap One Arena and think about the Anthem as a yes/no option. (And I agree that it's a great space.)

2) Try to imagine that it's a few months after the concert and you didn't go, and you have $350 extra in savings, or you used that $350 to go out to dinner three more times. Would you regret having missed it? Now imagine that you went, and have $350 less or had to eat in three more times. How do you think you'd feel about the decision?
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:54 AM on September 14, 2022 [5 favorites]

Best answer: In your shoes, I would buy the better tickets and then purposely plan to eat three of my planned meals out at home to cancel out the expense of the extra tickets.
posted by jabes at 9:05 AM on September 14, 2022

Mr.Know-it-some's possible approaches are pretty much the tools I use for making similar decisions. "What would I rather have in six months' time, $100 or the memory of a really enjoyable experience?"

What does the other intended ticket-holder prefer?
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 9:07 AM on September 14, 2022

A few years ago I randomly saw a band I love, that isn't so popular nowadays, at a small venue. It was literally a life-changing experience, because it was so profoundly different from the enormous concerts I'd always been to that I vowed never to go back to an arena show. Buy the ticket at the smaller venue and figure out how to save that money in some other area of your life. For sure.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:14 AM on September 14, 2022

Best answer: Here's a way to frame the decision: Do you like the opening band(s) at all? If you do, or if you just want to hear a good show, consider the extra money a separate ticket to see the opener. At a large arena, the sound quality is pretty lousy even for the headliner. For openers, it's brutal. You might as well skip it and hang out in the concourse until the headliner comes on. Your experience won't be all that much different. Is that worth $100/ticket to you? I don't know, but for this show, the opener is Johnny Marr, and if you like the Smiths, that seems worth seeing.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:20 AM on September 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

oh 100% I would go with the smaller venue and pay the premium. It will be an infinitely better experience, well worth it.

Source: someone who just spent an absurd amount of money to get prime seats at an event and a hotel next to the venue for after. It was the freakin' time of my life. Two weeks later I have yet to miss the money but I am still talking about the show.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:46 AM on September 14, 2022 [2 favorites]

Go to the Anthem. It is a gorgeous venue and I have enjoyed every concert I have seen there.
posted by jessica fletcher did it at 5:41 PM on September 14, 2022

The Killers tickets at the Anthem go on sale in about 3 hours. Try to get non-resale tickets then. They might be A LOT cheaper than the prices you're seeing from scalpers.
posted by decathecting at 4:04 AM on September 16, 2022

Never mind, I misread the website. Still, go for the better tickets.
posted by decathecting at 4:06 AM on September 16, 2022

If you can afford it, go to the smaller venue. Years from now, you're only going to remember the concert, not how much you paid for it.
posted by Furnace of Doubt at 11:44 AM on September 16, 2022

Response by poster: Went to the anthem. $150 well spent (h/t go to Reddit fan subpage for face value no fee tix)
posted by sandmanwv at 8:47 PM on October 12, 2022

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