Category Archives: presales

Good seats, white flags and the Daily Duranie Holiday Office Party

Sometimes, I can be so naive it ends up being a little embarrassing.  Yesterday morning, I participated in the pre-sale for The Cosmopolitan in Vegas. I knew going in that the show was probably going in high demand, but I felt that with the DDM VIP membership, I’d have half a chance at good seats.

Let me define “good seats” for you, because I suspect my definition might be different from yours. Basically, I want to be closer to the front, not necessarily front row probably within the first ten rows, and in the middle. I’ve sat on both sides before, and while they’re not terrible, I like the middle best. Chances are, this has something to do with Amanda’s favorite being John and mine being Dom. Middle is what suits us, as the compromise. Before each pre-sale, we call one another and decide on how far over we’re going to be wiling to go, and how far back we’re willing to sit.

This time, since purchasing VIP meant that I’d be giving up food for the next few weeks (joking), we felt that spending $400 a ticket on something like 8th row was too much. That doesn’t mean that one of you should feel terrible for doing so, its just OUR limit. Yours can be different and that’s fine. No judgment.

Our trouble began when we found out the password was “Simon”. I joke, but Amanda and I agreed the pre-sale would either go really well, or be a disaster, and if it was the latter, Simon cursed us.

Dammit!!

From the get-go, neither of us were getting the VIP packages to show up once the sale began. Then once they did show up, we quickly tried clicking on seats. We’d select the tickets only to be told they couldn’t process the transaction. Then we’d get bounced out of the pre-sale and would have to re-enter the password, only to see that the seats we’d just try to buy were still available. We did this for five or ten minutes, panicking the entire time. I decide to tweet Duran Duran and tell them that I think the system is broken.

This is where my naivety came in. First, I was dumb enough to believe that anyone at DDHQ or DDM actually cared. Yeah, I know I wrote all about how they care yesterday. That was before pre-sales and as I said yesterday – this part IS business. The truth of the matter is, it’s not their system. It’s Ticketmaster’s system. DDHQ couldn’t fix it even if they knew what was wrong. I know that.  I just thought they should know that no one seemed to be getting anything. Secondly, never once during all of this did I consider that perhaps it’s just bad luck on my end. I wasn’t meant to get tickets today. Some people get them, others don’t. This happens for every single resale.  I just thought something was really wrong, like a server issue. What was probably really “wrong” was that other people, whether bots, scalpers or real people with quicker computers or phones or whatever, were probably grabbing the tickets from me. I was stupid in thinking that once I selected the tickets, they were in my basket. Nope.

This happened over and over again for over a half-hour. Never mind that it continued to require me to type Simon’s name over and over and over again, which was also really stupid. I suppose those are all measures to stop bots and scalpers, but I doubt it.

Then suddenly, I had third row seats. I was able to get through to the next screen to begin the actual payment process, and then Ticketmaster decided I needed to log in. I was amused at first because I’d already logged in and even in the corner of the screen it said “Hi Rhonda”. Yep, that’s me, I thought. It’s STILL me, motherfucker!! 

(I curse like a sailor during pre-sales and today I was pretty damn tame until that moment. My mother would not be proud.)

So, I typed in my password.

Nope, Ticketmaster didn’t recognize that combination. OK, try it again. Type slower, Rhonda.

Nope, still doesn’t get it. I take a deep, cleansing breath. Ok, asshole hamster working behind the scenes….I am the same freaking person I was an hour ago when you let me log on. GIVE ME MY TICKETS!  Why do I even have to log in? Can’t I just be a guest??!

(Yes, the song “Be Our Guest” came into my head at that moment.  Get your head in the game, Rhonda, I thought firmly, trying to redirect myself from the ear worm. You have no time for Disney movies, you’re buying Duran Duran tickets!!) 

Amanda saves me at this point from throwing my laptop. She suggests I use her password. Surely that will work, I thought.  I type very, very, carefully.

Nope. I try mine again. Denied again. It now says I’m locked out of my account. Bye-bye tickets. My stomach begins to do flip-flops and I can feel myself suddenly get very tired and a cold, clammy feeling washes over me. I am worried that if I keep trying Amanda’s, she’ll be locked out as well, so I stop. I tell her to keep trying, and I set about requesting a new password from Ticketmaster. Oddly, they sent it to me right away, even though I’d been locked out. I reset my password, time ticking right by. I logged back on. Everything seemed normal, except there were no VIP package seats available whatsoever.

From then on, I pulled nothing that was VIP.  Keep in mind, we are now about 40 minutes into the pre-sale. The realization that I’m not going to be getting VIP seats to this gig begins to dawn. I tell Amanda I’m done, that I just won’t go, this is a sign from the universe, and that I’m too tired to go on.

I sometimes have a flair for the dramatic.

While all of this was happening, the other two people in our four person extravaganza struck gold. Literally, because they pulled two good seats in the third-row for themselves. Amanda and I were happy for them, but we were feeling pretty dejected at the same time. I mean, it sucks when things don’t go right. That’s not just me being a poor sport, it’s reality. It’s a bummer when you can’t get what you want. Ticketmaster and I are no longer friends, and I’m really not sure we ever were.

One of our friends sends a text, “Do you want us to keep looking for you?” I’m halfway tempted to say no, that I’m staying the hell home and that I hated Duran Duran, which is untrue on even the worst of days.  I didn’t really hate them. I hate the process. Trust the process,  my ass. (Sorry John.) I’m sick of this pre-sale nonsense. But I said none of that. Instead I said “Sure.” I figured they wouldn’t find anything or they’re just being kind, or that like us – they’d see tickets, select them, and be told they couldn’t complete the transaction at that time.

Meanwhile, Amanda and I continued to go through the motions of selecting, being denied, refreshing the “best available tickets”, entering the magic word (I have never typed Simon’s name so many times in a single day. Ever!), selecting different but still good seats, and being continuously denied. It was awful, and as Amanda cheerfully pointed out, “The very definition of insanity.”

I did not laugh or share her cheer. Instead, I groaned.

Our friends texted back saying they’d found a pair of tickets but they were way off to one side, and then another pair to the other side at the very edge of the stage. Nope. While we wanted to be at the show, neither of us felt comfortable paying $400 for tickets that were going to be staring at speakers or the wings of the stage. Picky? Probably so, but again – they’re our standards, they don’t have to be yours. I was just about to say goodbye to Amanda and head out to a piano lesson when I got another text about good seats in the sixth row, just to the right of middle by a few chairs. They were good, just back a pinch more than we’d agreed initially, but things change over the course of a pre-sale!

“Take them”, Amanda said. I could hear the white flag being raised in her voice. We were both pretty spent.

We’re going. We have good seats. We’re not complaining about our seats at all. The process though, kicked our asses.  While I’d heard about bots and scalpers buying up seats en mass before, I haven’t ever had this much of a problem getting VIP tickets in the past. It was a genuine mess for us this time.

Later on, someone pointed out to me that it was just bad luck, not operational issues.  They felt I shouldn’t have tweeted the band about it because it made me seem whiny. This person continued to say “It was your turn, and about time for you to have bad luck.”  The insinuation was made that Amanda get to do more than anyone else in this fan community and that they’re sick of seeing it. First of all, we don’t go to everything. We do what we can do. You do what you can do. But to go around wishing for one of us or the other to have bad luck is just mean.  I know that life isn’t always easy or peachy keen for either Amanda or me, but perception is everything. Point taken.

Sometimes pre-sales are really hard, and other times Duran Duran and/or the venue doesn’t use Ticketmaster as the agency and it all goes smoothly. We don’t expect to have good seats every single time. Overall though, Amanda and I aren’t going to be salty (my new favorite word, courtesy of my son) about this. We’re going to Vegas. We’re going to hang out over the holidays, exchange our gifts in person and drink at our own freaking Daily Duranie holiday office party, and everyone is going to be invited. What could be better than that?!

-R

 

 

Duran Does It Better!

Over the years, Rhonda and I have written many, many blogs covering Duran Duran presales, concert tickets and VIP packages.  In some (okay..maybe…many cases), these posts have been critical of some aspect of Duran Duran concert buying details.  Likewise, many fans have also expressed frustration over the process during the last ten years or so.  I remember a LOT of complaining (with good reason) about the use of Ticketmaster, for example.  Ticket prices have also been a big discussion over the years as have VIP packages and what they include.  Many Duranies express frustration that meet and greets are no longer a part of any VIP package.  Others wish that they got more for the money, in terms of either merchandise or parties or whatnot.

Usually, when the topic of fan clubs and presales happen in the world of social media, I hear fans discuss how this band or that band does it better because…These fans offer alternative methods to how Duran sells their concert tickets.  As time has gone by and ticket prices continued to increase, I had to wonder if these fans weren’t right.  Maybe Duran Duran needs to learn from other bands?!  Then, this week forced me to rethink this.

Rhonda blogged earlier this week about Depeche Mode’s method of presales where fans chose their city to buy tickets for and move up in line based on how many albums they purchase, how often they post on social media, etc.  She expressed extremely valid concerns about this system.  I agreed with many of her points but still planned on participating in the presale.  Depeche is one of my favorite bands and I always try to see them when I can.  That said, I don’t travel to see them so the idea of picking one city worked for me.  I did not do much else to improve my spot in line.  I purchased one album and that was it.  My schedule did not allow for more, even if I had wanted to do more.

Soon enough, the presale date rolled around and I found out that I was in the second group.  Okay.  I could live with that.  The presale time came around and I was prepared to buy ticket for a few friends and myself.  I asked for the 4 tickets and I got somewhere around the 20th row.  The ticket price?  With fees, they ran about $175.  Uh.  No thanks.  I do not mind spending money for concert tickets (that’s pretty obvious with Duran, right?).  I do have a problem of spending a lot of money for not great seats.  I thought I could do better.  Later in the day, when I had a bit more time, I decided to search on the map to see what was still available for the fan presale and for how much.

I’m posting the map here to explain what I discovered:

First, let me tell that I have seen Depeche Mode here (Chicago) many times.  Most recently, I had row M in section 104 back in 2013.  Those seats cost $119.  This time, I found that row M in section 103 was a VIP seat.  In fact, row MM in section 204 was also considered VIP.  How much are those VIP tickets and what do fans get for them?

***FRONT ROW PACKAGE*** 
– One (1) Front Row reserved ticket 
– Priority check-in and entrance 
– Pre-show hospitality with specially selected hot/cold appetizers, dessert, complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks 
– Hospitality room featuring themed décor, photo backdrop and playing your favorite Depeche Mode music 
– Crowd-free merchandise shopping (where available) 
– Merchandise item designed and created exclusively for package purchasers 
– Collectible laminate to remember your evening 
– Onsite check-in staff 

***HOSPITALITY PACKAGE*** 
– One (1) Premium reserved ticket 
– Priority check-in and entrance 
– Pre-show hospitality with specially selected hot/cold appetizers, dessert, complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks 
– Hospitality room featuring themed décor, photo backdrop and playing your favorite Depeche Mode music 
– Crowd-free merchandise shopping (where available) 
– Merchandise item designed and created exclusively for package purchasers 
– Collectible laminate to remember your evening 
– Onsite check-in staff 

***GOLD HOT SEAT PACKAGE*** 
– One (1) Premium reserved ticket 
– Merchandise item designed and created exclusively for package purchasers 
– Collectible laminate to remember your evening 

***SILVER HOT SEAT PACKAGE*** 
– One (1) premium Price Level 2 reserved ticket 
– Merchandise item designed and created exclusively for package purchasers 
– Collectible laminate to remember your evening

Right away, I noticed that none of these VIP packages include meet and greets.  I also realized that most of them do not describe what a premium seat means.  I think back to Duran’s VIP packages during this Paper Gods tour and I know that Ultimate had front row.  Gold packages included seats in rows 2 through 6.  DDHQ made it clear where the seats could be, at least in terms of rows.  Depeche doesn’t give any information.  Now, how much are these?  Some of the seats I found were:  Section 103 Row M for $585, Section 102 Row A for $950, Section 204 Row MM for $300.  Wow.  Yesterday, I saw prices for the Hollywood Bowl.  Prices for the front sections there ranged from $865 to $1495 through Ticketmaster.  These are not prices through a ticket broker.

Now, I’m sure that some of you are saying that Duran tickets are expensive.  Sure, they are.  The tickets for next weekend, for example, cost about $350 for second row center with some merchandise.  The Hollywood Bowl show cost $445 for us in October of 2015.  This price included second row center seats, merchandise and a party.  Depeche is clearly charging twice that for their packages there.

After seeing all of this, I have to admit that I’m glad that *my* favorite band is not Depeche Mode.  I couldn’t afford to go to many shows, especially VIP, that’s for sure.  The presale process would already limit where to get tickets and the price guarantees that it is just one city.  Perhaps, their team assumes that fans are only going to one show so maybe they will go all out for that one concert, in terms of tickets.  I don’t know.

Later this morning, I will attempt again to get tickets through the public sale.  I will not be buying VIP tickets, but I will try to get the best tickets I can for a price I can feel comfortable with.  Thankfully, I don’t feel the need to see Depeche up close.  This little experience taught me that Duran does the whole concert ticket thing pretty well, in comparison.  Yep, I’ve said it before and I’ll say.  Duran does it better.

-A

Another Way to Presale

Believe it or not, I try to pay attention to a few other bands/artists out there besides Duran Duran.  While nothing compares to my love and dedication to Duran, I am a fan of other bands.  I just don’t spend anywhere near the same amount of time and money on them.  My fan status is much more casual fan as opposed to the intense fandom of Duran.  One of those other bands that I’m a fan of is Depeche Mode.  It has always ranked within my top five bands.  I own every album of theirs and do try to see them live when I can.  Right now, Depeche is preparing for a flurry of activity.

Depeche’s latest album, Spirit, is due out on March 17th but they have already released a single.  “Where’s the Revolution?” came out this winter and is definitely getting fans’ attention.  If that was not enough, the band has a tour planned for this summer in Europe and more dates coming up in the U.S.

Now, we all know how Duran typically does their pre-sales.  A show is announced on the band’s social media and official website.  That announcement includes information about how much the tickets are, what kind of VIP packages are available and a date and time for the upcoming pre-sale.  Usually, that pre-sale takes place within a couple of days.  At the time of the sale, fans usually have a code that they use to buy tickets.  From there, it is a first come, first serve system.  All fans who are part of the fan club have an equal chance of getting whatever tickets the fan club had, theoretically.

Over the history of this blog, the topic of pre-sales has come up often.  Fans, including ourselves, have, at times, complained and within reason.  Some of us didn’t and don’t like the use of Ticketmaster.  What is or is not included in VIP packages has often been discussed along with the value of the concert tickets, in general.  Many have expressed frustration over what tickets are even available to fans through these pre-sales.  I could go on but you get the drift.  To summarize, many Duranies are not certain about how Duran chooses to run their pre-sales.  Thus, I’m always looking for how other bands do it to see if there really is an alternative.

This week, I learned about how Depeche Mode is going to run their pre-sales.  According to the article on diffuser.fm, this is their plan:

In order to head off scalpers at the pass, they’ve opened what they’re referring to as a “digital waiting room” where fans can get first dibs on tickets.

“Depeche Mode are coming back to North America,” the band writes. “And this time, they’re doing something different. Before scalpers and bots, true fans would line up at the box office for days to get tickets. This is the same thing, but online. Claim your spot in line by signing up below, and the higher your spot, the better your access to tickets during the fan pre-sale. End up at the very front of the line for your city and you’ll be invited to meet the band before the show.”

When I learned about this, I followed the directions to sign up.  Interestingly enough, the site asked me to confirm the location of the show I would go to.  Their website goes on to say:  “When we announce the tour dates, we’ll send you your exact spot in line for the city closest to your preferred location. Your spot will determine when you will get access to the fan ticket presale, but it isn’t final until signups end. By purchasing the new album, sharing on social media and generating sign-ups through your link, you can improve your spot.”  Clearly then, you can move up in line based on what you do to help promote the new album and tour.  Fascinating.

Apparently then, I will receive a code, which will give me access to the fan presale but the time that the code will become valid will be decided by my virtual place in line.   From what I read, the line stops changing 48 hours before the pre-sale starts.

I find this system really interesting.  It seems to me that they are hoping that by using this method, they will get more people to buy the new album and promote the album and tour.  As someone who writes a blog each and every day about a band, I love the idea of that work being recognized and rewarded with better concert tickets.  I wonder, though, if this system would even recognize something like a fan blog.  Will the system only acknowledge certain fan actions and behaviors that can be easily “read” and calculated by technology?

Another element of this pre-sale system that I question is the idea of having to give a location.  For me, this works for Depeche Mode.  I won’t travel to see them.  Thus, if I go to a Depeche concert, it is likely to be in Chicago or Minneapolis.  If this was for Duran Duran, though, I would travel, if dates work out better, but the chosen location has to be determined immediately to get in line.  Also, what happens if fans want to go to more than one show? Do they rely on other friends put other locations down?  Does this just end up encouraging going to only one show?

All in all, I find some of this idea fascinating and potentially positive for fans.  On the other hand, it limits fans to one city without knowing any of the dates.  It will be interesting to see how this works in real time.  What do the rest of you think?

-A

To Learn From…

On Wednesday, Rhonda blogged about how we were on the verge of completing another presale.  In this case, the presale was for two shows out in California near Rhonda’s.  After it was over, we sat back and acknowledged that we did well.  At the same time, some of our readers added their thoughts about presales on our Facebook page and how the fan club has not helped them when purchasing good tickets.  The two conversations led me to do some thinking  about what I think we have really learned over the course of this crazy journey through our Duran Duran fandom.  We learned how to do a presale well.

Duran Duran Music Membership:

On Facebook, a few people commented that they have not had good luck attempting to get tickets through the fan club’s presales.  For them, they received better seats through the regular ticket outlet.  I have heard the same from many others over the course of my life buying concert tickets.  In most cases, when I am going to see someone OTHER than Duran, I just buy the tickets when they go on sale through whatever ticketing outlet.  In some cases, those tickets have been what I would call “good”.  At other times, I got sucky tickets.  Yet, out of those times I got “good” tickets, I have rarely gotten seats within the first ten rows of the center section.  I have never been really up close through those purchases.  For every band besides Duran, that works for me.

When I buy Duran Duran tickets, I do like to be as close as possible.  In my experience, the best chance to do that is to get VIP tickets through the fan club’s presales.  I’m not doubting that others have gotten seats within the first five rows through the regular ticket outlet sale.  I just have not.  Instead, when I have wanted those kind of seats and not used the fan club presale, I have had to buy through sites like eBay or StubHub, often paying just as much as the VIP presale would have been.  Thus, for me, being a member of DDM is worth it.  After all, all one needs is the silver membership to buy presale tickets.

Research Matters:

That headline makes me sound like the dorky teacher I am, but I definitely think it is true.  What does research entail?  Typically, when I research, I look for venue maps first and foremost.  I have a printed copy when I do a presale so that I know where the seats are that pop up.  I can recognize if they are good seats or not.  I also like to look at pictures of the  actual venue, if possible to get a good idea of how far sections are, what kind of view is offered on the sides, etc.  At times, I check out other shows at the same venue to see how the ticket purchasing process works so that I’m prepared.  Doing my homework makes me more confident when purchasing.

Have a Plan:

The times that presales have been less than successful are when I am indecisive.  For example, sometimes, I pulled up tickets, couldn’t decide if they were good enough or not and opted to try for better.  Nine times out of ten, the second attempt would be way worse.  Instead, what I should have done is have a cut off.  An example might be how many rows back I am willing to go for the price or how far to the right or the left.  When I stick to the plan, the presale goes quicker and with more successful results.  Rhonda and I had a plan this week and it worked well.  One more word of caution, though, is really think through your plan.  Really make sure that you are comfortable with the cost and seat location.  If not, you might find yourself with buyer’s remorse and that is no fun.  It may result in trying to find better seats later for potentially more money or spending money that doesn’t seem worth it.

Little Things Make a Difference:

Sometimes, what seems like a little thing is really a BIG thing (no pun intended!).  This week, two shows went on sale at the same time.  Because there are two of us, one person could buy for one show while the other could buy for the other.  It helps to be able to split up, if necessary.

Another little thing that makes a difference is being able to buy tickets in the best place possible.  I took my lunch this week at home in order to buy from my house.  I had my personal computer and better wifi.  Whenever I have tried to buy from work, it never goes well.

Read All with a Sense of Humor:

That pretty much includes my entire advice to buying presale tickets.  Some, I hope, actually appreciated these tips.  Heck, if you have another tip or ten, please SHARE with me.  I would love to know everything I could in order to have the best results possible for any future presales.  That said, I’m sure that some of you are irritated  by this entire post.  Maybe you think I’m rubbing my presale “success” in your face.  If that is how it comes across, that isn’t my intention.  AT.  ALL.  Trust me when I say that I just wanted to be silly and act like presale results were so super important that they needed advice and helpful hints.  The reality is that I’m super lucky to be able to do any presale or go to any show.  I’m lucky that I have had the success that I have had.  I’m more than fortunate to have any tickets at all and to have shows to look forward to with my best friend.  At the end of the day, that is what is most important.

-A

Time for Temptation: It is Presale Time!

It is that time again.  Agua Caliente Presales!  While this one may not affect most of you, those who are planning to attend the shows in Palm Springs at Agua Caliente in March are beginning the countdown to clicking “buy tickets” later this morning, myself and Amanda included.

You’d think we’d get used to it. The jittery nerves, the lack of sleep, the feeling of nausea deep in the pits of our stomachs….  you would think that would all be old hat by now. I’m willing myself to shake it off, say it’s no big deal and take whatever tickets I can get…but my inner self-talk is saying “OMG what if you aren’t able to pull up any? What if they use…gasp… TICKETMASTER?!?!  What if the only seats you can get are last row? (hasn’t happened since my very first Duran Duran concert at then-existing Universal Amphitheater)”  The words go on and on…

and my jitters take over.

The fact is, the jitters last for a matter of minutes, and then we’re on to the planning, plotting, and anticipatory stage of the pre-concert process. Next to the few moments where I am buzzing like a bee, trying to remain seated when the lights go down and the entrance music begins just before the band takes the stage, I live for pre-planning.  That moment when they walk out, though? It is triumphant, and the feeling is so addictive that I can’t stop myself from the next presale. Hence, here I am today, counting down the minutes until alarm strikes, ever so patiently.

I’m getting ahead of myself though. First, I must manage the presale and buy the tickets. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve told myself that it doesn’t matter where we sit, as long as we’re in the venue. I will continue to keep up that mantra until the confirmation for the ticket sale arrives in my inbox. I’m just thrilled to have the opportunity to do this again, particularly when I didn’t think I would, quite this soon.

As excited as I am, I know many friends who either cannot buy because the Agua Caliente presales are so close to Christmas, or live in parts of the world that the band rarely visits. It does seem unfair. I have to acknowledge that unfairness, even if I cannot do anything about it on my own. I wish I could offer some sort of explanation—the only thing that comes to mind is that the reasons must be purely financial.

I’ll end here with what I tweeted earlier, “May the presale gods be with us all today.”  Good luck everyone!

-R

Some Days Are Strange to Number

Some days, some things just make me laugh.  Sometimes, the laughter happens right away.  Other times, there needs to be some space between the event and the giggles.  Tuesday morning was one of those days…

I arrived at work/school early on Tuesday.  I had much to do, including copying four handouts to start a brand new unit for my US History kiddos.  As I mindlessly stood by the copier at 7 am, I thought through my game plan.  I had to find a colleague to cover me at 9 am so that I could buy tickets to the National Harbor Duran shows.  Once my class was covered, I could seek a quiet classroom to refresh my DDM and/or Ticketmaster page frequently as I anxiously waited for tickets to go on sale.  Then, I would quickly type in the password and seek the tickets of my choice.  Of course, the perfect tickets would pop up instantly, almost placing themselves into the shopping cart without me even clicking a button.  The process would be nothing but smooth sailing.  I could then return to my classroom, having been gone for less than 10 minutes.  Yeah…those copier fantasies can be intense and terribly inaccurate.

Still, the plan seemed on track when I found my colleague and friend across the hall.  I begged her to cover my first hour class and even told her to give treats to my students if they were good since I had brownies and cupcakes with me.  She readily agreed.  Perfect.  Nothing could go wrong, I figured.  I had coverage.  I had a plan.  I had the seating chart printed.  I logged into my computer and the necessary sites.  I was all set.  

At five to nine, my colleague stepped across the hall to take over as I sought her quiet classroom to begin my incessant refreshing.  As I started to refresh the Ticketmaster page, I noticed that sometimes I would get a countdown clock and other times I did not.  Cue self-talk as I reminded myself that it would be fine and that I had done a million presales before.  There was no need for my heart to be beating that fast.  None, whatsoever.  Finally, the countdown reached zero, the page indicated that it was loading and loading and loading and loading.  What the hell?!  Do I need to refresh the page, I wondered.  Finally, after what felt like hours, I refreshed, revealing the ticket sale page.  I put my request in.  Denied.  Grumble.  Grumble.  Okay, I thought.  No big deal.  Stay calm.  Refresh again.  Up pops crappy seats all the way to the side and far back.  No thank you.  Refresh again.  Same result.  

“Are they kidding me?” I said out loud to an empty classroom.  Could the tickets already be sold out, I asked myself?!  Nooooooo….refresh again for the sixth time.  Then, Ticketmaster asked me to click on pictures with mountains.  I did that and when the page appeared it stated in big, red ugly letters that they could not fulfill my request.  I felt the blood pressure rising.  I didn’t understand.  What was going on?!  Deep breaths began.  More waiting.  Then, the dreaded bell rang indicating that I could pursue this no longer as 2nd hour awaited.  Damnit, I muttered as I crossed back into my classroom and my role as teacher.

As sweat popped up on my forehead, I frantically searched for my team teacher.  Where was she?  Was she coming to class?  Could she start the class so I could keep…attempting to get tickets?!  Finally, she appeared in the door frame.  Relief.  I begged her to start the class while I explained the situation.  She nodded while directing me to her room, to try on her computer.  That might work, I thought as I turned around to leave.  Unfortunately, ten minutes on a different computer  proved to be no more successful.  Swearing under my breath, I marched back into my classroom, knowing that I could not stay on Ticketmaster all dang day.  Teaching demanded my presence.

As I walked in, I noticed that I had another laptop to try Ticketmaster on.  I logged in while my colleague finished going over the political vocabulary.  She wandered over to my desk to ask how my pursuit was going.  I quickly explained the situation to her before jumping up to lead the students through some notes.  As I waited for the kids to jot down ideas about the political parties, I glanced back to see my colleague refreshing the page as I had done.  Involuntarily, I let out both a partial smile and a partial sob at the same time, thinking about how lucky I was for colleagues like that.  Thankfully, my misery ended when I received word that the friend I am going with acquired tickets for us.  I desperately wanted to collapse in my desk chair, exhausted, but I still had a room full of freshmen to teach!  Someday, this band really might kill me, I thought as I resumed the political science lesson I was presenting.

By now, you all have realized that unlike my counterpart, I will be attending the shows outside of DC around New Year’s.  Will I miss Rhonda’s presence?  That is a given.  It feels weird to go to any show or any Duran function without her.  This is even more significantly weird and sad is because it involves traveling and staying in hotels.  Yet, the shows made too much sense for me NOT to go.

As someone who is single, with few single friends near me, holidays like New Year’s Eve create a lot of personal anxiety.  Immediately after Christmas, I begin to wonder, each year, what I should do. Should I make plans, should I try to go somewhere, do I not try to make plans, do I stay at home.  In many cases, I can find a friend or two to hang out with but not always and usually last minute.  The holiday always acts as a unwelcome reminder that I’m single and don’t have a family.  It can be very lonely to be single during the holidays.  Yes, of course, I could always spend time with my parents, who are nearby me, but that usually doesn’t feel great despite how much I love my parents.  Thus, I’m thrilled that I not only will I not have that anxiety but that I have amazing plans.  I never thought I would see Duran on New Year’s.  Talk about a party!

The other reason that I am thrilled about going is that I love DC.  As I’m sure many of you reading this know, I’m a very political person and January marks the end of Obama presidency and the beginning of the next one.  As someone who worked for the Obama campaign and who has met the President and the First Lady, there is something special and affirming about going to DC during this transition.  It is like two really significant aspects of myself are coming together.

Now, some may argue that I am crazy for spending this money to go and maybe I am (although tickets weren’t any more expensive than some of the summer shows I went to).  Yet, this is an extra I can afford.  For me, it is worth it as I can think of nothing else that makes me happier than being at a Duran show.

-A

 

The Ticket Gods Were Kind!

This week the phrase that happens to be the title of this particular blog post was uttered one or two or a hundred times by my partner-in-crime and myself.  We said it over and over again in hopes that the ticket gods, indeed, would be kind to us on Tuesday morning when the tickets for the California Mid-State Fair went on sale.  Were they kind to us?  Well, it was an interesting pre-sale…

That morning, I woke up, posted the question of the day, got ready for work and proceeded to feel really sick.  I sighed heavily and assumed that it was just pre-sale nerves.  After all, the last pre-sale that happened was through Ticketmaster and it was rough, to say the least.  That pre-sale resulted in not getting the tickets we wanted.  Therefore, I assumed that my sick feeling was like bad deja-vu and off to work I want.  By the end of second hour, I desperately wanted to curl up in a fetal position and lay down.  Instead, I do what most teachers do and push through, as I wandered around the room, helping students with their research.  I had planned on leaving school under the guise of getting “supplies” (tickets are supplies, right???) right at 11 when the tickets went on sale at 12.  Unfortunately, my body was definitely NOT cooperating at that moment.  I couldn’t believe it and began to sweat as I worried that I wouldn’t make it home on time on top of being sick.

Somehow, though, I managed to get myself to my car and drove home.  I logged into DuranDuranMusic and anxiously awaited presale time while trying to ignore the very sick feeling at the pit of my stomach.  So, in order to pass the time, I did what I usually do.  I texted Rhonda.  She assured me that I would be fine.  I tried to respond in agreement but…I was worried that I might not make it.  I watched the minutes slowly go by as I started to worry that not only would the ticket gods NOT be on our side but that they were actively working against us.  Finally, the hour struck 12 and ticket options appeared after frantic refreshing.  Yes!  I got tickets in my cart that were pretty damn good!!  I completed the purchase and texted Rhonda.  I try to draw out her anticipation with some cryptic texts but soon enough I came out with it.  We got good seats!!!  Really good seats!  To say that I felt relief was an understatement.  I still felt like crawling into bed and dying but I didn’t have to worry about missing the presale.  Let’s face it.  That was the important thing.  Of course, instead of being able to do that, I forced myself to go back to work with a promise to Rhonda that we would celebrate later!

Now, a few days later, I’m still thrilled with the results of the presale. Do I think we were lucky because the ticket gods were on our side?  I don’t know.  Was it luck?  I’m sure there is a little bit of that.  Was it to make up for my being sick?  I doubt it.  No, I think the results of this presale were for three big reasons that I have outlined below.

No Ticketmaster

For this presale, Ticketmaster was not ticket outlet of choice.  It was Tickets Today.  When I realized that it was not Ticketmaster or some outlet I knew, I worried but I shouldn’t have.  It was SO easy.  I went to DuranDuranMusic.  I logged in which allowed me to click on the link for the presale.  From there, I was able to refresh the Tickets Today site until the VIP packages showed up.  I was confident that the only people with access to this presale were people who were DDM.  People couldn’t get a password to use.  No, they had to go through the fan club.  It was the only way, from what I could see.  On top of that, the Tickets Today website was so clear and easy to see and deal with.  With Ticketmaster, I had too many drop down menus to deal with in the heat of the moment.  I had to decide if I wanted Ticketmaster to find me tickets or to use the map.  Then, each VIP package required a different drop down menu to search for them.  In this case, I could easily see where to buy VIP packages and my request went through without a problem.  Needless to say, I couldn’t be MORE thrilled that they used someone else and I SO hope that they continue with Tickets Today for the Chicago presales coming up in April.

Silver VIP Option

Another aspect of this presale that worked well was the fact that there was a Silver VIP option.  Silver, in case you are unfamiliar, includes the following:

The SILVER VIP Experience $150 + Ticket Price (No Additional Ticket Master Service Charges) 

– 1 Premium Seat in Rows 1-6 
– Custom-designed Canvas Bag 
– A copy of Duran Duran’s “Paper Gods” CD 
– Custom designed Duran Duran beach towel  
– Commemorative VIP Tour Laminate and Lanyard

For many of us, good seats up close is what matters the most.  This package allows that possibility for a reasonable amount of money compared to Gold or Platinum package.  Gold gives the same possibilities for seats in rows 1-6 but costs $260 plus the ticket price.  Yes, I realize that there is a VIP party with food and beverages.  Generally, I don’t need that.  I would prefer to go to meet ups that Rhonda and I organize.  Therefore, Silver offers the best chance for good seats at the best price.  Unfortunately, Silver has rarely been offered during this tour.  I hope that DDHQ considers doing more Silver packages in the future.

Other Factors

Besides the two big factors of Silver VIP and Tickets Today, there were a few other factors that helped the ticket gods help us.  First, I was able to leave work in order to complete the presale.  I didn’t have any interruptions or have poor wifi.  That was huge.  Second, this show was the only show that I or the system had to worry about.  I remember how in 2005, presales for various shows and locations were staggered.  This would work better for people buying for more than one show and I would think it would be easier for the system and DDHQ, too.

On that note, maybe the ticket gods were on our side.  Maybe they helped with having the presale go through Tickets Today.  Maybe they helped with the types of packages.  Next time, though, I would love for them also to help me not be sick at the same time.

-A

The Ticketmaster Debacle

I’ve been trying to sort out yesterday in my head.  Let me just put it out there: I’m still trying to figure out what shows we bought tickets for and where we’re sitting.  This isn’t because we’re doing that many shows, it’s because in hindsight – it all feels like a blur. Or maybe it’s more like it feels as though I was hit by a semi-truck (think “lorry” if you’re in the UK) and I’m laying on the highway in a heap as the traffic continues to buzz by, not even noticing that I’m there.

Yeah, that’s about the size of it.

I want to acknowledge a few things:

  1. There were people who had fantastic buying experiences. These people, by and large, were also folks who bought either “Ultimate” or “Gold” level VIP packages. I didn’t see any complaints from anyone who received a front row seat off the bat, and I didn’t really see many complaints from people who wanted gold unless there just weren’t those tickets left.
  2. Ticket buying has very little to do with the band.  The band plays the shows. They deliver on their end.  There is a business side to all of this though, and we must accept and acknowledge that the band has the right (and responsibility) to be in business and make money.
  3. DDHQ, on the other hand, is in fact that business side. Badmouthing DDHQ does very little to solve problems or to draw attention to issues fans had with pre-sales, so we’re just not. I respect that I cannot do their job(s), and I have no idea what it is like to manage a band. Period.
  4. Ticketmaster, however, IS the problem.

For quite a while yesterday morning, I really considered my issues with the pre-sales to be user-error. Maybe I didn’t click fast enough? Maybe I paused a bit too long before deciding to hit “bronze”? Perhaps I was just ticked-off about the price of tickets being so much more expensive than the last tour? Maybe all of the above?? I was, and am, willing to accept that at least part of it was me. I’ve had good luck with tours recently. I have had great seats. That luck can’t last forever. But then I started reading about the experiences of others and realized that some of the same crazy things that happened to me happened to other people. That’s just weird.

What were some of these crazy things? (and I am only listing things that I’ve seen mentioned in multiple places by multiple people)

  • “CAPTCHA” codes not working:  entering the code only to be told it’s not valid and having to do it again and again, or needing to close the window and start all over again, resulting in losing time.
  • No need to first go into DDM using your own user name and password before getting to the tour page, clicking on the gig of your choice and then being transferred over to Ticketmaster: Ultimately what I’m saying is that there was no firewall, so basically as long as one had the password that was sent in the email to fans announcing the pre-sale, you were able to participate in the pre-sale. Part of the reason (most of the reason?) we all join DDM to begin with is so that we have first access to those pre-sale tickets. I cannot tell you how many people have sent messages and told me on Facebook and Twitter that they won’t rejoin DDM next year because it doesn’t seem to help them.
  • Tickets in the process of being paid for disappearing out of carts: error messages pop-up on the screen saying something like “oops, your tickets are no longer available”.  When this happened to me, I thought it was because I had inadvertently taken too long, but then I glanced at the timer – and I had 7 minutes left to complete the transaction I was making for 2 Gold level VIP tickets. Naturally when I went back to get another pair – there were none available. Can’t cry over spilt milk, unless of course there are 50 other cases of this happening to other people – which there were. That’s just wrong.
  • Having to enter the DDM pre-sale password over and over and over again.  Isn’t once really enough??
  • For more than one venue, gold-level tickets were coming up in odd places, like several rows in back of that 6th row where Gold should end. I have been told that in one of the venues – Mandalay Bay in Vegas – where this happened, it’s because the venue’s row numbering “system” skips rows. In other places though, because it happened to other people in other places as well, as I’ve seen on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Lastly, and perhaps the most importantly: when (if) the MAP system comes up (where you can see for yourself what seats are available and choose them yourself), seats are coming up as “available” that have already been purchased. Unfortunately, when this issue was presented to Ticketmaster – they simply said it was “impossible”.  Except that it’s not because multiple people had it happen this morning before the option to use the map system stopped coming up and all you could do was click on “find my seats.” I guess we’ll all see for certain when we get to the shows and someone else has the same (valid) ticket to sit in the same seat as a Duranie, won’t we?

Those are just a few of the issues I saw repeatedly from fans…and comments continue to be posted to our Facebook page even today.  As I’ve said before, I recognize and respect the right of the band to make business decisions that fans don’t necessarily enjoy or understand. It happens and it continues to be a balancing act. We as consumers also “enjoy” the right to choose how and when to participate in the transactional relationship, which is it’s own balancing act.  While it may not be our choice (as fans) for Ticketmaster to be the ticketing service for pre-sales and fan ticket sales – it IS our choice whether or not we choose to participate. That balance is of course knowing that if we choose not to participate, we likely will not see the band on tour. I don’t know very many people willing to miss out on Duran Duran purely to take a stand, and DDHQ is going to do whatever they need to ensure the best profit for the band. That’s business, like it or not.

As a fan, it IS disheartening when things happen that make fandom feel more like work than fun. Days like yesterday tend to make me forget how I feel when I’m standing up and screaming in front of the band. In my craziest moments I may have even wondered if I should just stay home and not bother. I’ll just say this and leave it for the rest of you to ponder: when the time comes for these gigs to happen and you walk into the venue, handing your ticket to the agent to scan and then excitedly walking with purpose to your seat, sitting down and staring at the darkened stage with growing anticipation as you see that the clock ticks ever closer to the moment Simon walks out and begins singing “Paper Gods”, are you really going to even think twice about the ticket buying process to get there? Are you going to be thinking about how Ticketmaster asked you to re-enter the CAPTCHA code four times before it worked? When the band starts playing Planet Earth, Rio or Pressure Off, are you going to let any of that enter your mind?

That, my friends, is why Ticketmaster stays in business.

-R

Duran Duran Paper God 2016 Presales

There is no way for me to put this lightly: I really hate pre-sale days, particularly when they begin (for me) before it is light outside. I got my coffee, sat down and prepared to do battle.

To be honest, I am still trying to absorb what happened to me this morning…and I’m trying not to be angry with the ticketing system, and be thankful that unlike many I have seen on Twitter and Facebook today, I do have tickets. I am seeing the band come July.

I hope they’ll be ready.  <wink>

I read a lot of comments and responses this morning. As always, the responses run the spectrum from elation, “I got front row to Philly!” all the way to comments from people who seem to have lost not just a battle, but an entire war. “Pre-sales were a DISASTER“.  Or even better, “@DailyDuranie it’s bad business for a band to piss off fan club members. 6 shows, 3 with not a single tix pulling up, other 3 shit seats

My own experiences ran raggedly like a dog, from one end to the other of the entire spectrum. One show we ended up with nothing because the seats we pulled for Bronze seemed more like regular seats from back in the 17th row. Why pay VIP on top of that? It didn’t make sense to me…and definitely not to our head purchaser for that show, Amanda. We’ll try again later for those. We bought the 16th row seats offered for another out of sheer desperation after having a set of third row seats in my cart that I was in the middle of paying for when a window popped up on Ticketmaster informing me that my tickets were now unavailable. WTF?!? Fine. I didn’t need those Gold VIP tickets on my credit card anyway! Bronze it is, even though I am not sure I feel good about spending so much on tickets so far back. After falling to the ground in defeat, tired and breathless….Amanda and I got up, shook the dust off, tended to some gaping wounds, and went back in for another round with a brand new strategy that is going to involve selling kidneys (anyone need a slightly used one?? Let me know).

Our next battle proved every bit as nasty as the first, but I soon realized that I didn’t even need to bother going in and logging into my DDM account to get to the Ticketmaster pre-sales. I just needed to know the pre-sale password. Fabulous, except that meant that everyone else on the planet who knew that password could do the same. That fan letter was shared about a zillion times online, any scalper worth their salt could get in with ease, and Ticketmaster did not hold up their end of the agreement by not bothering to uphold the DDM firewall. Some say it didn’t work, but it did for me each time I bought tickets during this particular pre-sale at 10am my time.  What a mess. Amanda had tickets in her cart only to have them suddenly removed. (and I read this many more times over the course of the morning on Twitter) We bought gold at one show only to end up in 6th row, but we did have success at our final show, where we ended up with 2nd row center. I am not complaining about those results.

I know this shattered feeling…trampled but still breathing….

Thankfully pre-sales were over and I could live to see another day. But then I realized I still had to blog today.  Really?!?  Shattered doesn’t even begin to describe my exhaustion right now, and I still have a college tour to take this afternoon with my son!!  (Going from fan back to mom in less than an hour…)

I’d be very interested to read what types of experiences others had this morning, keeping in mind that this is purely about the process.  I have no doubts that despite the mess with ticket buying, once we are at the show it will be a great time. The band delivers on their end. It’s the rest of the insanity I am interested in reading. Share your tales of the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ll compile them into something readable tomorrow!

-R

Top Ten Duran Duran Presale Anxieties

In honor of today’s Duran Duran presale festivities, Amanda and I decided to put together our own “Top Ten” list of Duran Duran presale anxieties. I mean, who doesn’t have that dream where you wake up at 10:30am on the day that presales begin at 10:00?  Perhaps as you read on, you’ll recognize a few…

TEN!

alarm-clock-
You sleep through the presale!!

It’s the day we’ve all been waiting for since 2012. You’ve made sure to reinstate your membership with DDM…you’ve printed out the appropriate seating charts, and you have a game plan. You go to sleep the night before, with visions of all sorts of worry in your head. The restful sleep you need evades you until finally, at 4:30 am you fall asleep. You wake up suddenly and realize that wow, the sun is streaming through your window oddly and glance at your alarm clock. You squint to focus…it says what? 10:19.  10:19!!!!  Presales begin at 10am!!! $#&!

NINE!

Rejected password
Because you know…when you chose these security questions it all seemed fine…

You’re at work and it’s 9:56. You meant to get to DDM earlier and login, but then five people called, your boss needed a copy of something he/she could have walked and found themselves, and you were called to the front desk to get a package you didn’t care about.  You glance at the clock and see you’ve got four minutes to spare. You begin to walk quickly down the hall, almost breaking out into a run. (but you don’t because well, you’re in heels…and you need to be able to stand up if you’re going to see the band, never mind that the show is six months from today, right?) You fly around the corner, you pull off your heels and dash down through the cubicles, leap into your chair and slide over to the computer. Quickly, you type in duranduranmusic.com, and go to login. Wait, what do you MEAN the password doesn’t work?!?  What third spouse?!? 

EIGHT!

The dreaded white screen of death
No. NO NO NO NOT NOW!!!!

You get to your computer. Logging in goes fine. It’s 9:58 and counting. You hit refresh because, well…it could begin at any time now, right? Refreshing goes fine until suddenly, it doesn’t.  You find yourself staring at….well, nothing. It’s a white damn screen.  It’s now 10:00.  NO!!!!!

SEVEN!

Time zone?
That awkward moment when you aren’t sure whether you’re ahead, behind, or just completely screwed.

You’ve decided you’re going to see Duran Duran, and you don’t really care that you’re having to travel from Canada to do it. You’ve got your DDM membership, you’re going VIP, dammit. Then you realize you have no idea what time it is in LA. For that matter, what time is it where YOU are? What time zone do I live in?!? These are all questions that plague Duranies during presales…heaven forbid you don’t know the right answer, otherwise you could miss out on a presale (and I’ve seen it happen!!!)

SIX!!

Site crash
That horrible moment when you’ve got front row in your cart and then…

So you manage to get up on time, find two spare minutes at work, log in without trouble, figure out what time zone you’re in…and you can even get in to buy tickets. You click “Buy VIP”, you see that gold is available, you select tickets…you’re already rejoicing over those front row spots, and then suddenly the screen goes dark and you smell smoke.  No &%^#$@! WAY!!!!!

FIVE!

The ONE time you need a connection...
The ONE time you need a connection…

You’ve never had trouble with the internet at work, until that ONE day you need to be online at a certain time in order to participate in this godforsaken presale. You sit down, ready to do battle and come out the victor. Everything seems to be fine as you type in duranduranmusic.com…then you realize that gee, it’s taking a long time for the site to load.  You refresh. Same deal.  Then others around the office stand up and peek over the top of their cubicles asking if anyone else is having trouble getting online. “Yeah”, the IT guy says, “we’ve been having trouble…we’re working on it.”  YOU’RE WORKING ON IT…you think to yourself. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY!  I NEED MY DURAN DURAN TICKETS!

FOUR!

credit card declined
Wait, didn’t I just PAY that bill?!?

You can’t even believe how easy the presale went. You’ve never logged in faster or gotten those fantastic seats into your cart so smoothly. All is well until you hit “pay” and almost immediately your card has been rejected. Is it because it’s an overseas sale? Is it because you’re buying tickets with a friend’s login? Is it because the bill was due last week and you actually paid on time for once, so your bank is convinced something is off?? Is it because your bank somehow thinks that spending just over $600 for two tickets at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley CA seems a bit fishy????

THREE!

I can't type!!
I can type with ridiculous accuracy until it comes time to enter my information for a presale. Then NOTHING works!!

I can type extremely fast…until a presale starts, then suddenly my hands shake uncontrollably and I can’t remember how to use my track pad on my Macbook properly. This morning, I was in charge of getting tickets for the Greek Theatre show. I see that yes, VIP is available. I click on Silver. Yes – I can actually have front row (At that point I was convinced I’d been transported to an alternate universe because that NEVER happens). My hands begin to shake. I have to type in Amanda’s address (because she is in charge of handling the tickets – and this is with good reason.) I can’t figure out how to make the drop down menu work, and why is it that every single time I go to change the address the screen jumps to the top of the page again? Why doesn’t my trackpad work??? I only have 4 minutes to complete payment???  HELP!!!  (I did get it all to work just fine, once I calmed down…)

TWO!

I need a barf bag
As the clock ticks ever closer to 10am…you feel as though you’re really and truly going to lose your lunch. Or breakfast as the case may be.

My main comment to friends this morning on Twitter was that I was nauseous. And I was. I think I even woke up feeling anxious and unwell this morning, and as every second inched closer to zero-hour, my stomach became more and more of my enemy.  If that weren’t enough, once I finally DID get through to the presale, I could feel myself start to get dizzy, I had to take several slow, deep breaths and I wondered why I hadn’t drank more water this morning. (I don’t know about the rest of you, but I get dizzy when I’m dehydrated. Note to self: DRINK MORE WATER AT THE SHOWS!)  I made it. Barely.

Without further adieu, the number ONE pre-sale anxiety…

Sold out!
Sold out?!? How can they be sold out – it’s STILL 10am!!!!

Let’s say for instance, you’re trying to get tickets to the Hollywood Bowl. You and your friend decide that yes, it’s worth the price for Platinum. You didn’t need that extra kidney anyway, right? Getting online is easy. You refresh without fail. It’s 9:59 by your clock and sure enough, you refresh just in time to hit “buy VIP”. You want platinum because well, it’s the Bowl, this is Duran Duran and Nile Rodgers will be there! ONCE IN A LIFETIME show, by far. You glance at the clock just as it changes to 10am…lo and behold, no Platinum available. Wait, no platinum? How can that be? It’s STILL 10am!  What, VIP tickets, go to the cocktail party, and screw the dream of a backstage tour.  We’re still going to the Bowl and we’re in second row!!!

But seriously…who actually came away with one of those Platinum tickets?!

Hope this was fun and gave some chuckles. I need to go lie down now.  This day has already been far, far too much for me!

-R