A tale of two ticket outlets



News today is that Live Nation and Ticketmaster may merge into a new corporation. Of course, this is conjuring up images of Godzilla in my mind.

Whatever happened to the simpler days of buying tickets? There was no Internet. It was go to a ticketmaster counter or call in on the phone. I remember "camping" outside of the local music store, huddled in my brother's Volvo as a few of us all waited for wristbands so that we could then try and buy Grateful Dead tickets.

You would think things would get easier with the Internet, but recent clusterfucks have caused a number of problems with people trying to buy tickets to Phish, Bruce Springsteen, The Grateful Dead and other shows.

The Grateful Dead recently had problems with ticket orders through a different outlet as they tried to rekindle feelings of nostalgia and offer mail order like the "good old days." That ended with people not getting tickets (more mail orders came in than tickets were held), the floor selling out to mail order and those ordering online stuck in the lower sections without a chance of the floor. Countless fans called in to talk about the situation on the Grateful Dead's satellite radio channel.

Now, Bruce Springsteen has come out

Regardless of how this merger might wind up, here's my biggest complaints —

* Shipping and handling charges. This is the biggest pet peeve in my mind. They charge you about $15 for shipping and handling fees, even if you use will call. That's why I call them "fondling and masturbation charges" — I feel like I'm getting fucked.

* Ticket prices. I remember when shows were $20 and $25 at large venues, but now you're lucky to see anyone for less than about $90.

* Scalpers. They've always been a problem. You can't get good seats to shows anymore. It also cracks me up that the guys on the street hold signs saying "I need tickets" in one hand and a stack of tickets in the other.

* Late releases. A lot of shows often get great seats released closer to the show date. Who does this benefit? The late-decision maker who finally decided to pony up the bucks after true fans are stuck in the cheap seats. It's one thing to hold a row or handful of seats for promoters, reviewers, etc., but it's another when a handful of rows are released at the last minute.

* Drink costs. $8 for a beer? $4 for a water? I guess if concert-goers continue to pay ridiculous prices, those prices will stay in place.

So, what's the solution? I'm not sure. I'd love to see fans gather up in the form of Mothra to take on Godzilla. Refuse to buy expensive drinks and the costs may go down, but refuse to buy tickets and that band may just skip your town next time.

Maybe a new solution will come about, but I have no idea what it is. Until then, I guess I'll just have to sit back and wait to see how this all plays out...

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