I hate TicketMaster with an unbridled passion that sometimes scares my friends. I’ve contemplated all kinds of ways to dethrone the tyrants. But the only way that really makes sense is to just stop going to shows where tickets are only sold via TicketMaster, and to go to the actual box office for venues that still have one.
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of live Rock and Roll. It is our Right, it is our Duty, to throw off TicketMaster, and to provide a new System of purchasing tickets.
I’m not sure how the new system should work, but Sunday morning, sitting on the cement outside the Chicago Theater waiting for the box office to open so I could go see Beck and the Flaming Lips, I started to question the value of my principles.
It wasn’t the waiting; I had my trusty copy of the Chicago Reader, a couple of donuts, and Jolie’s company to help pass the time. It wasn’t even the students from the Art Institute with their 19-year-old, know-it-all conversations and their Kafka. “I can’t imagine Beck playing in an opera house.” (I can remember being annoying like that, and I hereby apologize to anyone who might have overheard me talking out loud when I was in college.) Besides, they cut in line behind me; had they cut in line in front of me, I wouldn’t have been as friendly as the dreadlocked hippie a few people back who gave them a little shit but didn’t actually get anywhere. “I’m sure they have more than twenty tickets,” condescended the frog-voiced student, revealing how little he knew about the mechanics of popular ticket sales in the internet age.
As it turned out, the show had sold out before the first person in line made it from the doors to the ticket booth. Fortunately for us, the guy at the box office pulled enough tickets for those of us waiting in line. At least enough for me and my posse. Like I could give a fuck about all the suckers behind me, ha ha. That’s the nature of this game, tough guy. If I’m going to drag my ass out of bed after drinking all night in the newly opened Blue Line Club Car, and make it in line ahead of the crackheaded pawns of the ticket brokers (legal scalpers in Illinois, ticket brokers hire homeless people to wait in line for big shows), then I sure as hell deserve these god damned tickets.
But waiting in line, with my ass getting sorer and sorer from sitting on the piss-stained cement, I started feeling like a stooge for not just ordering my tickets during the internet-only pre-sale on Friday. That’s what grown-ups do, I thought to myself, looking around at all the dopey kids around me. That’s even what real fans do, right?
I asked the girl in the checkered Vans sitting next to me why she didn’t just order the tickets by phone or on the internet. “I just live right there,” she said. When she asked me the same question, I mumbled something about my intense aversion to TicketMaster. “So it’s kind of political?” Yeah, I guess it is, but is this a worthy political stance? Especially now when there are very real political issues that are worth taking a stand on, like John Ashcroft’s “War on Freedom” and George W’s “War to Redeem My Father’s Soiled Name and Re-Election for Me If My Timing’s Right.”
I don’t know. But here’s the math: I paid $148 for four tickets, out the door. That’s $35 each with a $2 restoration charge for the ornate Chicago Theater, a surcharge I am more than happy to pay. That’s a lot of money, but here’s what I would have paid had I ordered the tickets through TicketSatan’s internet-only pre-sale on Friday:
|Tix Qty.||Type||Face Value||Convenience Charge||Building Facility Charge||Tax||Total|
So I saved $33.18. I spent about an hour waiting in line, and the commute takes me about 40 minutes each way. But I had some other things to do downtown, so we don’t necessarily have to count the commute. Still though. Was it worth it? I’m not so sure. But at least I didn’t give any of my money to the Evildoers.