I recently got an e-mail with a very official-sounding “Schlesinger v. Ticketmaster Class Action Settlement” contained in the subject line. As an occasional concertgoer, I instantly recognized Ticketmaster but had no clue who Schlesinger is. After reading the email, I still have no idea who Schlesinger is. However, I am hoping that Mr/Ms. Schlesinger got a better deal than what I got.
By virtue of my having purchased tickets in the past through Ticketmaster, I am a member of a legal class against them. My reward for being in the right place at the right time is a breathtaking credit of $2.25 off a future online ticket purchase. Check out my good fortune below.
Am I fortunate or what?? Instead of the outrageous $173 per ticket that it would cost for me to see Sting and Peter Gabriel on their upcoming tour, I now only have to pay a bottom feeding $170.75. I rock, so to speak.
Schlesinger, whoever you are, you sure showed Ticketmaster a thing or two. Let’s hope their lesson is duly learned.
So we have… ticket agents, tacked-on fees, online ordering, class action law suits, etc.. I wonder if the obligatory guy puking in the bathroom during the show now has to reserve his stall ahead of time?
It’s all just a really long time since… <Warning… Old dude phrasing about to be used> … I went to concerts back in my day.
Yes, back in my day. Things were so much easier before everything just got so freakin’ expensive and complicated. I really do know because I went to lots of shows, both large and small. And I generally bought my tickets at a box office.
That was the time in my life when I absolutely lived to go to concerts. I would carefully pore over upcoming shows announced in the local street weekly, clip out each advertisement in a very anal way, and place it on a corner of my coffee table. For the next 24-48 hours I would mentally add and subtract what had to be sacrificed from my meager budget in order to see a show. Or two.
Really, how important is electricity when you come right down to it anyway? You can just bring home cheap take-out food and talk to yourself for entertainment, which is exactly what I recall doing for a couple of weeks before the Talking Heads came to Washington, DC on their “Stop Making Sense” tour in 1983. My utility credit rating suffered, but honestly David Byrne was just too cool to miss. Nutrition and reading at night? So overrated.
Byrne on the other hand was simply infectious. Days afterwards I prefaced all sentences with, “You may find yourself…”
Those were days of my having a non-existent love life with lots of free time available because of it. But I was also living out my teenage fantasy of being able to see live music with frequent abandon. Whether it was a small intimate club or an acoustically poor sports arena, I was happiest when I had upcoming concert plans.
Luckily I had no real compunction about going to shows by myself. Although it was sometimes a little awkward an hour or so before the show when couples and groups milled around, I easily amused myself by watching the roadies and instrument technicians setting up the stage. I also got into great conversations with kindred music lovers. There was no smart phone yet invented into which one could focus his eyes and avoid all human contact. Nope, you engaged with others.
Only if a comrade of mine really liked the artist would I bother to go with anyone else. I always found it hellish if someone simply went for a good time or a chance to pick up a girl. Those were the types who ended up talking all through the performances and ruining it. After suffering through that a couple of times, I quickly learned that sometimes it was better to often just go alone.
Those DC venues are now all foggy in my brain, with some still around and others long gone. There was the 9:30 Club, of course, at which one never worried about sitting down because it was so small (and hot!) that nearly everyone stood anyway. There was also Cagney’s, d.c. space, the Bayou, the Birchmere, and Blue’s Alley.
The bands and solo artists I got to see are forever time-stamped in the many YouTube videos preserved from that era: Marshall Crenshaw, Jane’s Addiction, New Order, are three that I vividly remember and yet none have even survived enough for me to have any of their albums in my present CD collection. I have no idea what’s up with that.
I still remember the pain of having plans to see R.E.M at the 9:30 in 1983, but then coming down with the flu two days before and being sick in bed for it. It’s now considered one of their cult performances.
For a time I lived so close to the Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia that I could literally walk there. It’s since moved to a larger, more modern building. But I recall being the guy from my circle of friends who would get there early and sit outside waiting for them to open the doors so that I could snag a table for us close to the stage. I saw Mary Chapin Carpenter there so many times, long before she was really considered a “country” artist and really just more of a folk singer. I remember Shawn Colvin being her opening act, and this was before either of them were well-known nationally.
I can still recall the girl who asked me in the most sincere way:
“Is there a reason I should know why you only take me to the brothers of famous singers?”
This was after I took her on consecutive dates to see Livingston Taylor and Tom Chapin respectively. She had a point, of course. It just seemed gauche to admit that I was seeing Steve Winwood the following week with someone else, which I distinctly recall doing.
By the end of the eighties I was married to my first wife and my priorities had changed. Having a mortgage and paying more attention to my career pushed concerts to the backseat. Although I still saw shows a few times a year, they seemingly required a withdrawal from a mutual fund to pay for them. I started to buy concert videos instead of actually going to see live music.
Still, I was lucky to see Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Peter Gabriel, Indigo Girls, James Taylor and Carole King, CSNY, Phil Collins and others just too many to mention. And, all along I was apparently paying those Ticketmaster fees that now offers me a whopping $2.50 credit.
Someone who never worries about “too many to mention” is a blogger by the name of Douglas Harr. Doug writes about concerts and the histories of bands, and he’s also a lover of progressive rock just as I am. He is currently finishing a book about concerts he’s been lucky to see over the years in the Los Angeles area, and I know I’ll be wanting to get it as soon as it’s ready. If you love live music, check out Doug’s blog.
Until next time…