Live Nation Ticketmaster the death of the arena show (or how I passed on the Jack Johnson show)

live-nation-ticketmaster-thumb-300x147-17129It is no secret that getting the hot ticket for an arena type of band is going to cost you big bucks.  It’s been that way for years.  Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s I remember camping out for tickets to see some of the big bands out I wanted to see.  You brought your chair, some beverages and in Cleveland usually a blanket and got in line with the rest of the fans.  Then they started the wristband lottery method which scored me pit tickets to the first Lollapalooza.  Then came the internet.  While I never thought camping out for tickets was the most enjoyable thing in the world it was kind of cool being in line with fans who shared a common bond.  You had nothing but contempt for the guy or gal in front of you in line but by the end of the 10-12 hour wait you might have made a couple new friends.  Now when you try to score a premium ticket to see your favorite band you are in line with 1,000’s of other folks and corporate sponsors and scalpers get to cut the line in front of you days ahead of the sale date of the show.  By the time you step up to the window you are relegated to the nosebleeds.

Not going to lie on this one because I have been on both sides of the fence here.  I would take advantage of ticket offers from work and score the suite to see a couple bands.  I even could, at times, scam my way into a presale passwords too.  Other times you just have to bite the bullet and go on right at 10am the day tickets go on sale to the common fan without access to these perks.  When you do, have fun in the 200 level or on the lawn because if you are lucky that is all you are going to be able to get if anything at all.  The premium seats are already on Ebay being sold for up to 10 times the face value before your ticket window even opens.  Want front row?  You are going to pay at least 10-20 times the face value.  Want the floor?  Cough up 5-10 times face value.  If the show sells out, you can jack those prices up even more.

ticket-scalper4In the last couple of months I purchased tickets to 2 of 4 “larger venue” shows.  3 of the 4 times I had a presale password.  For Nick Cave in Detroit I have decent seats, not front row, not nosebleeds.  For Rick Springfield (yeah, I know, guilty pleasure), I got in about the 14th row.  For Billy Joel I just said no.  They wanted around $300 a pair for upper level tickets that were at the side of the stage.  For Jack Johnson today it would have been the back of the pavilion for about $150 a pair.  My question today was where in the hell did 1000’s of tickets go in 30 seconds because I logged in exactly at 10am again.  I can see getting maybe 12th row or something.  This was a presale offer.  There is no way I should have been at the back of the pavilion in 1 minutes time.  Then I noticed something.  This wasn’t the only presale rolling.  Then I did some Ebay checking.  I found front row tickets going for about 10 times face value posted 2 days before the presale and a full three days before the sale to the general public.  How is that even possible?

The ticket world has issues, and a lot of them come from scalpers, but it also comes from sponsors taking all the good seats.  High-end credit card holders get dibs a couple days before.  Then the fan club gets a slice too.  Throw in the venue season ticket holders in the mix and you are now probably in the middle of the venue.  Ticketmaster and Live Nation could care less.  They are making money off the price of the tickets sold and the corporate sponsorship.  It doesn’t matter to them what happens to the tickets on the secondary market they already made their dough and will make more on the day of the show.  Live Nation owns multiple venues so they are making money on drinks, food, etc.  So they could care less who is in the seat in front and center.

1601301_10152124640024927_1476466634_nI have a hard time justifying going to a large venue show as is.  It isn’t intimate at all seeing your favorite band a mile back.  Then the girl with big hair and tight jeans needs to stand and grind on her date the whole show so you can’t sit down.  Then there is parking, traffic, and so on.   It takes a hell of a lot for me to even consider going to a large show at an outdoor venue or arena.  However when there is a band I want to see I at the very least would like the opportunity to get a decent ticket to the show.  That opportunity is long gone unless you want to pay a hefty premium.  There is no point to logging on to a presale.  There is no point to getting online at 10am the day tickets go on sale because the good seats are already gone.  If you want to see your favorite band up close and personal you can either buy the live DVD and watch it at home (which usually will sound better anyhow) or look forward to spending a paycheck to get up front.   While I’d love to see Jack Johnson at Blossom in May it just isn’t going to happen from the back of the venue.  I’ll listen to my record instead.

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