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Takin' Out the Trash 

That giant sucking sound is Bono, siphoning your wallet.

The only thing bigger than Bono's ego is his bank account. And yet his band, U2, still insists on driving up concert-ticket prices. The cost of the average concert ticket jumped another 5 percent in 2005, thanks mainly to acts like U2 (average ticket price: $96.92) and fellow starving artists the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney. Next thing ya know, these bands will be asking for a night with your girlfriend.

The whole industry is suffering from the rampant greed of these acts. For the third straight year, concert attendance dropped. Over a million and a half fewer tickets were sold in 2005 than in 2004.

Granted, concert revenue rose -- because the three aforementioned acts continued to gouge their fans. It's a vicious circle: Fewer people go to shows because it costs too much, so bands demand more money from the diehards who do show up, in order to get their six- and seven-figure guarantees.

The most off-putting aspect of this unhealthy trend is that the bands doing the most money-grubbing are the groups who need it the least. Hell, with all their past and present corporate sponsors (Ameriquest, Budweiser, Sprint) and absurdly overpriced merchandise, the Rolling Stones could play shows free and still make a tidy profit. These dudes are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and yet they still feel the need to wring every last dime out of Joe Sixpack. You'd think these bums were working for the I.R.S. or something.

Enough with the shameless cash grabs! U2, the Rolling Stones, and Paul McCartney, we're throwing you and your overpriced ducats onto the compost heap.

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