Guest Author - Michelle Anne Cope
There was a time when I didn’t worry about concert tickets. I always had seats to the shows I wanted to see. These days, I become almost nauseous when it comes time to buy tickets for a performance. On my list of concerts this year is Clay Aiken, Genesis and hopefully the Rascal Flatts. The tickets aren’t the greatest for Clay and Genesis; however, I have a plan for the Rascal Flatts. I’m not buying tickets until the day of the show. I learned the hard way that ticket presales and first day general sales do not always offer the best of seats.
What do you do about seats for concerts? How do you buy tickets?
The following is my own personal story and rant of life in “Ticket Land” for Chel. After you read this, please send me a note or leave a post in the Pop Talk Forum about your own concert ticket buying experiences.
When I was younger, my parents would buy the tickets as I did not have a credit card. (Yes, I know that today many teens do have their own card, however, I’m talking the 70s here folks.) After graduating from high school, I landed a great job at a company that was very “civic” minded and both pop and rock concerts were on their corporate client list of free stuff. There were always enough tickets for employees to enjoy musical shows of any kind, along with basketball, football, baseball games and theatre productions. Life was good in “Ticket Land” for Chel.
When my radio career began, I was once again surrounded by tickets for a plethora of sporting, cultural and music events. As a radio personality, I was expected to make appearances at concerts. I had the opportunity to see artists and bands perform that I loved, liked, merely tolerated and painfully paced the venue’s perimeter until the final chord was played. Once again, all was well and thriving in “Ticket Land” for Chel.
Then, I switched from radio to writing. For some reason, the river of tickets ran dry and I found myself having to stand in lines, stay on hold, and later learn the art of buying tickets online. It sucked! Excuse me, it sucks. I don’t have it down. What I mean is that I can get tickets; I just can’t seem to get the good seats when tickets for a show first go on sale.
When I entered life after radio, it was strange to suddenly sit in the lawn section of venues or way in the back or the tip top of an auditorium. Yikes! I couldn’t see the band, I could hear the band, but often they were little dots on the stage.
Now, you have to understand that when I was in radio, I had the chance to meet many artists and band members. My biggest claim to fame when it comes to musical celebrities is the time one made me a ham sandwich. Yes, I had the chance to meet and interview Rod Stewart in a media tent where a humongous spread of food was laid out on two tables. He made me a ham sandwich with Colby cheese. Alas, this was before eBay and I ate the sandwich instead of preserving it to sell.
So, back to tickets in the present, far away seats and little dots. I was okay or at least I told myself I was okay. What did it matter that I couldn’t see the act, I could hear them and that is what really counted.
Then one day, I discovered Clay Aiken. Yes, I became a “Claymate” and suddenly the location of my seat became very important. Honestly, the first concert was fine; the seats were great in fact. Then “Clay Nation” grew and everyone was fighting for the premium seats. They started showing up on eBay, sometimes minutes after a presale, at extremely high prices. I joined the fan club and ticket broker sites and haunted the presale online sites almost two hours before tickets went on sale. I was still getting crummy seats. It was by accident that my friend Kelly and I discovered that you can buy tickets at the venue an hour or so before the show. Often, tickets that are held by the artist or a ticket broker are suddenly available. This is a dangerous and expensive game, I admit. At one concert, Kelly and I had four extra pairs of tickets. We had the original pair we bought months before the actual Clay Aiken concert, and then we had three more pair we had bought trying to get the “good” seats. I think for that particular show, we sat in the fourth row. Those were good seats.
Ack! Why are presales so frustrating? Why doesn’t my fan club membership of almost forty dollars guarantee me the “great seats”, and why does my husband insist that a thousand dollars on eBay for front row tickets to see Clay is extravagant? Ack!
As a music and concert community, we have seen ticket prices go up drastically in the last ten years, and we have even heard artists and bands complain about the way tickets are sold to their shows. I don’t have a magical answer. I wish that fan club sales guaranteed the best seats because when you sign up, most of the time you pay a membership fee. I wish that scalpers and expensive tickets on eBay didn’t exist, but they do and more than likely they will for a long time. I want fans to get the tickets, the good tickets, not the brokers.
I guess for now, until things get better, I will play the ticket game later this year for the Rascal Flatts and maybe try to get better seats to see Clay Aiken. Because the Genesis tour is a big deal, I’ll hold onto my current seats and take binoculars.
Does it matter that I will only see little dots? I can hear them and that is what really counts.
Have a great week. I’ll be back in a few days and together we will get Sun Drenched.