What Katy Did - for Madonna

Until a couple of years ago I'd never been much of a concert-goer. My only concert experiences were Boyzone at the Regent back in the 90s - the group that launched the lovable Irish chappy Ronan Keeting to solo stardom, in case you didn't know - and before that, Take That...

Until a couple of years ago I'd never been much of a concert-goer. My only concert experiences were Boyzone at the Regent back in the 90s - the group that launched the lovable Irish chappy Ronan Keeting to solo stardom, in case you didn't know - and before that, Take That at what was then Hollywood's, now Zest, when I was 13 (yes,, it was an under 18s night - we didn't manage to convince the bouncers we were 18 until we were at least 15).

Also, the only music festival I've been to is V and that was for work purposes so I didn't actually buy the tickets anyway.

So, having 'saved' so much money through years of not attending concerts, I decided two years ago to go for broke (quite literally) and get tickets for Madonna.

Those uncomfortable with spending large sums of money on 'frivolous' things avert your eyes now. The tickets cost ….can I say it? … ok I will ….one hundred and sixty whole English pounds. Each. But before you gasp in horror I must tell you this was a good deal, considering I was not buying them from the venue itself but from a private seller in London who could no longer attend the concert.


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Having not managed to get tickets over the phone on the day they were announced, I joined the thousands of buyers on the internet, scouring sites such as ebay. Most of them were marked up to at least £250-£300 each, which I hate to admit I would probably have paid, but after three days of hunting, a miracle occurred: two top price tickets, right at the front to the left of the stage, for the original price of £160 each. Before I knew it I was at Warren Street station, swapping £320 in cash for two golden tickets to see my personal pop idol.

Descending the escalator back down to the tube I felt like Charlie who'd just found a golden ticket in his bar of chocolate. It was by far the most exciting moment of 2004 except, of course, for actually being at the concert itself, which was worth e very penny.

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But guess what? This August Mrs Ritchie will yet again be performing live in London and so, excited at the prospect of another 'once in a lifetime experience' I was determined to go once more.

On the day the tickets went on sale I spent all morning on the phone while ordering my boyfriend to stay glued to his computer trying to get through on the Internet, which eventually, praise the lord, he did.

I know I am meant to be saving money what with all this house-buying malarkey (yes, it's still on-going), but I will make exceptions for Madonna. I have all her albums, plus other tours on video, which have been watched until the tape has almost snapped, so I don't care - she is worth it.

But yes, I do accept it is an astronomical amount to pay, considering the likes of Kylie - only slightly lower down the pop pecking order - charged just £40 last year for an equally impressive gig. But what can you do?

The way I look at it is that everything in life is balanced out and that the number of free gigs I've had the good fortune to attend as a perk of my job, such as the fabulous Craig David show at the Regent last week for review purposes, probably equals the price of a top seat at Madonna. And as I said, not being much of a concert goer in the past justifies, I think, a huge payout every once in a while, especially for the woman I have sung and danced along to since the tender age of eight.

And if my father is reading this and wanting to call me to tell me to be more careful with my money, I have only this to say - papa don't preach! (sorry, had to be done).

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