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Sinead Ryan: How many times am I going to have to shell out to see my music heroes on their 'last ever tour'?

ARE you off to Paul McCartney this weekend?

You'd better hurry if you haven't got your ticket yet ... after all, the Beatle legend is hitting 68 and it's his last ever world tour. Or maybe not. In fact, wasn't the last one the, er, last one?

Dublin is to blame of course. Here's the thing with ageing rockers: they announce to the world that they're retiring and head off on a global swansong, only to hit our capital city and decide it was such a good gig, they're coming back.

Only problem is, that "final ever" show has cost you, the punter, an absolute fortune for your coveted souvenir ticket which you planned to frame and pass on to your grandchildren, and now everyone else who wasn't lucky enough to get one will see them again next year anyway ... and the one after that.

There was a time when we were gratefully in awe of any famous rocker to deigned to visit our shores.


Who else remembers Queen at Slane and thought we'd never be lucky enough to see the likes of a mega global rock band again? We happily forked out our hard earned dosh knowing it was a once off. These days, if it's Tuesday it must be Bob Dylan, or Leonard Cohen, who's surely had more comebacks than an episode of Friends.

Both, by the way, are playing (again) this summer along with repeat offenders Rod Stewart, Bruce Spring-steen and Simply Red who say it is absolutely, positively, finally their last tour. Although you know, to be on the safe side, perhaps we should hold Mick Hucknall et al to that and refuse to ever buy another ticket if he comes again. That'll show him. And of course, it all has the effect of diluting the impact. On McCartney's first final ever tour, he sold out in minutes. This time, Kathryn Thomas is giving away freebie tickets all week on the Tubridy show to anyone who can name a Beatle. And they're the runner-up prize to a week in Kerry. At €156.25 a pop for the best seats, without all the service charges, agent fees and whatever-you're-having-yourself extras, that's no mean feat in a recession, especially when you're forking it out to a man who's richer than Croesus.

Other victims of concert saturation also to be found on Irish shores this month alone include the Beach Boys and Stevie Wonder -- who have a combined age bigger than the NAMA bailout. And where's Tom Jones, pray? Surely it's been nearly a few weeks since he was last here.

Even our own Horslips unashamedly jumped on the passing bandwagon and staged a return after several decades of thinking it was all over for them.

The ironic thing is that most of these bands already have fans paying to see their tribute counterparts, at far less cost, albeit in less salubrious surroundings. Garth Brooks, Elton John anyone? You can see the fake versions this summer.

Still you can't blame them for carrying on as long as fans are scooping up tickets. The only question is: when will they ever realise it's over and do the decent thing and retire gracefully?