With tickets for some concerts priced well over $100 plus additional fees, it’s hardly a surprise that fans often complain about how much they pay to see their favorite acts. In fact, it’s almost like adding insult to injury to note that tickets for some of today’s cornerstones of rock often sold for less than $5 in decades past.

We’re reminded of those prices by an article that appeared in the Athens Messenger over the weekend in which the Ohio newspaper reminisced about the good old days when, on separate occasions, The Who and Led Zeppelin played Ohio University’s Convocation Center in 1969. Ticket price? A mere $2.50.

Of course, $2.50 had a lot more buying power 43 years ago when a gallon of gas would cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 cents and the sticker price on a new car was well below $4,000. Heck, a brand new ’69 Corvette could be had for less than $5,000. On the other hand, while $2.50 for a concert probably seems like a steal when viewed through 2012 eyes, folks earning minimum wage during that year were grossing $1.30 per hour. So $2.50 was a bit more than just pocket change back in the day.

It was also enough to get you into a Who concert. However, the band’s need for distilled spirits resulted in the then-chairman of Ohio University’s Campus Entertainment Committee being arrested.

Steve Bossin, who the Messenger describes as having a career in media promotions, was the committee head tasked with dealing with The Who after a campus ban on alcohol resulted in University police confiscating the band’s booze.

“Backstage, the group’s road manager began threatening to pull The Who off the stage if they didn’t get their alcohol back,” Bossin told the Messenger. “Fortunately, I had a bottle of Jack Daniels in my car which I was happy to offer.”

Bossin evidently went above and beyond the call of a committee chairman’s duty. He told the newspaper that when campus police tried to remove the bottle of Jack from the stage, he grabbed it and took it back to his car, only to be arrested when he re-entered the building. However, the dean of students’ intervention on Bossin’s behalf resulted in the campus cops releasing him.

While The Who headlined the Convocation Center in 1969, Led Zeppelin’s appearance at the venue was as a support act for Jose Feliciano.

Although the Grammy-winning Feliciano had a hit with his acoustic cover of The Doors’ “Light My Fire,” the Puerto Rican-born artist was still feeling blowback from his controversial 1968 performance of The National Anthem at the World Series. While it may seem very innocent today, back during the time of LBJ, hippies and students protesting the Vietnam War, many American TV viewers were outraged to see a young man doing a soulful interpretation of The Star-Spangled Banner. And that outrage was reflected in soft ticket sales for Feliciano’s concerts following his World Series performance.

“As soon as his appearance was confirmed, we began looking for an opening act; a performance that would have strong sales,” Bossin said. “Led Zeppelin was selected.”

Unlike the band’s name, the performance did not go over like a lead balloon.

“People would not stop cheering, jumping and banging chairs when LZ concluded the scheduled set,” Mike Pavlik, who knew little about the band at the time, told the Messenger. “People kept screaming … I remember (Robert) Plant at the end of two encores too choked up to address the crowd, so Jimmy Page stepped forward and announced, ‘That’s all we have.’”

Of course, rock history is filled with support acts that outshined the headliners, such as Jimi Hendrix opening for The Monkees or Bruce Springsteen occupying the middle slot of a three-act bill featuring headliner Anne Murray at New York City’s Central Park in the 1970s (Brewer & Shipley was the opening act). Everybody has to start somewhere, and that sometimes means newbie acts will blow away the seasoned professionals.

What about your own experiences? Have you ever seen a support band outplay, outperform, outrock the headliner? Along the same lines, have you recently seen an opening act that seems bound for greatness?