Despite all that, when I clicked refresh at exactly 11 am, I still expected to score tickets no problem. I breezed through the always challenging “enter the number of tickets” scroll. I successfully read and entered in the gibberish words “chronic upon” to prove I was not a computer program. And at 11:00:04, I expected two tickets to pop up. Not necessarily good tickets, but something. Then, like a slap in the face, there was the “We couldn’t find tickets to match your request” page. WHAT? Tickets had been on sale for four seconds. No matter how popular an act, you can’t tell me it is possible to sell thousands of tickets in four seconds. People wouldn’t even have had time to enter their name, address, etc. Those of us with pre-existing Ticketmaster accounts, another key to past successes, would not be able to enter our usernames and passwords in four seconds. It all seemed very fishy to me and the anger began to rise quickly.
Ironically, four hours after the Plant/Krauss debacle, and after two days of nothing but that “There are no tickets available” screen, I magically, mysteriously and miraculously pulled up a pair in the orchestra. Row H for Van Morrison at the United Palace Theater. Four clicks and they were mine. How does that happen? Why does it happen? Sold out for days and then randomly, four good seats are mine.
I emailed ticketmaster for some answers. I asked what their logic is on the presales. I asked how they could sellout a show in four seconds. I asked how and why tickets are sold out one minute and there the next. I expect Van Morrison and Robert Plant will both be long retired before I hear back from Ticketmaster.
Pearl Jam took on Ticketmaster years ago and failed. Tickets.com and Music Today’s ticketing arm were saviors for about 11 seconds until their “service fees” and other made-up sounding charges just about caught up with those of ticketmaster. It’s all very depressing.
It seems now, between the process and the cost, your best bet to get a good value on a show is to wait till day before or day of and hit up Craigslist for a discounted ticket from a desperate seller. I know a ton of people here in NYC that adopted this strategy. If you don’t mind sweating it out and putting a small bit of trust in a stranger, it’s not a bad way to go. It worked for various friends for The Police, Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, The Beastie Boys and the White Stripes. All premiere concerts.
It used to be, your best shot at tickets was a dedicated effort, a few little hints and a little luck. Now, you need a gold Amex card or a presale password. Of course you could always just buy them through theTicketmaster auction. If you’ve got enough money, you can get good seats to anything. If you’re just an Average Joe, better start filling out that Amex application.
How have your ticketmaster experiences worked out lately? Leave us a note letting us know if you agree…