Category Archives: presales

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

Duran Duran Ticket Presale Frenzy!

Got Duran Duran tickets?  Happy Presale Monday?!?

As the title suggests, it was a frenzy of activity this morning as a multitude of messages were exchanged between friends prior to the presale.

Duran Duran Ticket Presale – words that create both joy and panic (alternately) in the hearts and minds of every Duranie who has been around for a while.  Fans are overjoyed to finally have tour dates, and downright panicky when it comes to buying them.  Things go wrong, systems crash, and Duranies are not very forgiving as a rule, so ticket systems MUST work properly.

This time, Crowdsurge handled presales and VIP packages for DDM members, and aside from a brief moment which I will describe later in more amusing detail, all went well. Checking around the Duran community, it would appear that most were pleased with the experience, particularly in the ability to actually know what seats they were buying (although the same can be said for past experiences with Artist Arena).  I will say that later on, I went into DDM to see what I might find available for tickets, and the system seemed very smooth.  The only constructive criticism I might give would be that it would help so much more to have maps available for ALL shows (the Cal Coast Credit Union venue at SDSU comes to mind), and that Artist Arena had a great interactive map system that I think would be the perfect end cap to presale experiences with Crowdsurge.

The comments I’ve seen about the VIP presales thus far have been that the platinum packages run out VERY quickly.  I can’t say I’m entirely surprised – it isn’t as though there are thousands available, and there really are not many Duranies out there that can turn down a guaranteed front row seat. I know that as late as an hour into presales for shows that had presales today I was able to pull up at least single VIP tickets (mostly Bronze)…so my advice is simple: act fast if you want the most expensive VIP packages.  The other comment I’ve seen is that once the tickets are in your cart, people aren’t seeing that at the bottom of the screen there is a “radio” button for “remove and search again”.  Remain calm, take a deep breath and look carefully. Another interesting point is that once you have tickets in your cart, you have up to ten minutes to finish your transaction or else the tickets are released back into the pool.  This is key. Read on:

In my experience, Duran Duran ticket presales work kind of like this: everyone hits refresh until finally, blessedly – the tickets go live. Then you rush to get tickets into your cart. You search for the show, click “buy VIP”, then you see what’s available. What?!? No Platinum?! There’s cursing, grumbling, hitting “refresh”… and the next thing I know I’m reading how there are no tickets available at all and it’s only been two minutes into the presale. It’s hideous when it happens to you. Best thing you can do is slow down, take a deep cleansing breath, and wait. In eight minutes, (10 minutes after presales start for that particular show) tickets will be released from carts, and then you can try again.  Keep trying. You never know. Don’t give up.

So, wanna read something amusing? Let me go ahead and replay the scenario from this morning’s presale activities.  I had just gotten home from a quick run to Target and Amanda tweets that she’s trying to call me to clarify a couple of things before presale panic sets in. We quickly discuss things and I decide I’m gonna stay on the phone with her during the process…because you know…we’re a team:

Amanda: We’re two minutes out from start time and I’m hitting refresh now.

Rhonda: (hears Amanda saying ‘refresh, refresh, refresh’) I’m feeling nauseous now.

Amanda: (I know she says something here about how she’s nauseated too, but I can’t remember the exact words) Oh God, I’m in.

(complete silence)

Amanda: OH MY GOD. FRONT ROW, SEATS 7 & 8!!!!!

Rhonda: SCREAMS (clicks to twitter and begins typing) “FRONT ROW BABY”….

Amanda: Oh no. No!!!

Rhonda: (silently hits “delete tweet” and says nothing about it at all to Amanda) What?

Amanda: I can’t get the drop down to work. It only shows expiration dates up to _____ and I need it to get to October!!!

Rhonda: (silent…because well, I was thinking!! At the time I had gone through each of the credit cards I have, noting that all of the expiration dates were in the Fall months which apparently wouldn’t work.

Amanda: Walk me through this, Rhonda. What do I do?

Rhonda: (in my head at the time I was thinking that we’d lost our chance at front row, that she’d have to throw them back and start over. That’s what I probably would have done most of the time, except that this was FRONT EFFING ROW… which is why Amanda handles presales and I book hotels.)  I asked her about using other cards, but that idea was nixed. I commented that I didn’t know the system at Crowdsurge so I felt like my hands were tied.

Amanda: Wait. I can use paypal. It’s not ideal but….(I hear furious clicking on her end and I start to breathe again) DAMN IT…my Paypal password isn’t working!!!

Rhonda: (at this point, I’m starting to believe that this is our worst presale nightmare coming home to roost.) What? Your password doesn’t work? (I begin to start considering what small child I can sacrifice in order to please the ticket Gods…)

Amanda: Oh wait. It worked!  I’m in and we are confirmed for Agua Caliente.

Rhonda: (I don’t immediately answer because my brain is trying to process what she just said).  Ok. You mean that I can go ahead and tweet that we’re in front row?!? (begins typing) “FRONT ROW BABY!!!”

It was only later that I realized that this will be my very first seated front row show…and that I can’t get kicked out this time because the seat is actually mine!  🙂

Interestingly enough, I don’t know how many fans caught it because we missed it the first time, but when you put tickets into your cart for purchase, there is an offer to preorder a “Deluxe Fan edition” of Paper Gods, which will be delivered on or before September 18, 2015 for those of us here in the US. I actually went back to Crowdsurge and went through the ticket buying process so that I could buy myself a copy. (I discarded the tickets; however, because I’d actually like to stay married for a while longer.) It is on sale for $18.99 and then they tack on a couple bucks extra for shipping. Not sure what it includes, but….what the hell.  I’m already pretty sure I’ll end up with three or four copies of this album by the time it’s all said and done, which is exactly why no one has to worry about doing promo directed at fans, am I right?? Double-edged sword, really.

So, I’m going to go and attempt to recover from Duran Duran Ticket presales today…and also try to absorb all of the information that has come out today about the band, the album, etc.  In a single week we went from a small trickle in the DD info stream to a bloody flood.  This, I can work with, folks!  Expect to see blogs each day covering some aspect of the band’s upcoming album, Paper Gods!

-R

 

The Party Was (IS!) about to begin

How many of you out there have been waiting for a SHOW?!?

You are in luck – because today my friends, our chanting, begging, pleading and overall insanity has been answered.  Duran Duran has announced their first public, US show since the end of the All You is Now tour in 2012.

They are playing at the Formula One Gran Prix Fan Fest in Austin Texas on November 1, 2014. Tickets for this event go on sale on Tuesday, September 2nd.  (I truly think this might be one of the longest advance notices for pre sales that we’ve ever gotten!)

This is being billed as a very special “VIP” event (according to the band’s own song, All You Need is Now…this information alone should send us running in another direction. Just saying.).  Here are ticket prices and some information direct from the band’s VIP community (paid fan community):

1) Ultimate Floor Experience Ticket – $575 each

Treat yourself to a one-of-a-kind VIP experience! An Ultimate Floor Experience Ticket provides you with premium open bars, passed hors d’oeuvres, and a spectacular stylized space as only ACL (Austin City Limits) Live can deliver. This level is “dancing room only” and also gives you access to the exclusive after-party on the Music Porch after the concert.

2) Balcony Ticket – $325 each

A Balcony Ticket provides you with legendary views of the stage in theater-style seating, access to the Jack & Jim gallery featuring the iconic photography of Jim Marshall, and access to the exclusive after-party on the Music Porch.

**There are no meet and greets associated with these packages and there is no guarantee a particular driver or artist will attend the after-party.

Tickets go on sale for Duran Duran VIP fan community members at 10am CST on Tuesday, September 2nd.  So, you must be a VIP fan community member for this pre-sale, and apparently they are not working with Artist Arena for ticketing here – not sure if this is a permanent thing or for just this show, but they are working with Crowdsurge now, and if you do not currently have an account there, you should probably head over there and set yourself up with one in advance of the sale to save yourself time and headaches.

It has been quite some time since the band last played here, and I know just from Twitter and Facebook that a lot of people are extremely excited, or at least they were until they saw the pricing. I can’t blame them – $575 for a floor ticket is a lot to chew. It does sound like a really fun weekend, and a great venue.  I have no doubt that many will fork over the cash without blinking and have a great time. I look forward to seeing the photos and hearing the stories of a fabulous weekend.  I won’t be participating in the pre-sale this time around, so I’m curious to hear how it will go with Crowdsurge – drop Daily Duranie a line and let us know what you thought of the pre-sale if you participate!!  Also, if you’re planning to attend the show, let us know – we’re looking for some Special Correspondents!

-R

I Won’t Turn You Out if You’ve Got Someone Else

I have a notebook of blog topics that I keep handy as I never know when an idea, a topic might hit me.  Of course, I don’t necessarily know when I might write about these topics as I will gladly move the more general, can talk about anytime topics out of the way for news or, at least, something new.  This weekend, I had hoped to talk about the packaging in the TV Mania vinyl that US fans who ordered it are now starting to receive.  Unfortunately, I can’t do that.  Why?  My vinyl arrived.  Unfortunately, big time, I am missing the booklet that is supposed to be included.  To say that I’m disappointed is an understatement.  Rhonda tells me that this booklet is a must have.  I’m sure.  I emailed Vinyl Factory and hope that they can just send me a booklet.  If they can, it will still take awhile to get to me.  🙁 

As I thought about this last night, it dawned on me why this happened.  It is karma.  It is psychic ability.  It is some supernatural power that Vinyl Factory or Nick or someone has.  What sin have I committed?  What crime have I done to warrant such a thing?  What stupid loser move did I make?  It is simple.  I cheated.  I have cheated on Duran.  How did I do this?  It is simple.  I bought concert tickets to see some other band!  Oh my gosh!  The horror!!!  It’s true.  I did.  I’m confessing.  I bought tickets this week to see Depeche Mode in August in Chicago.  Now, I’m sure it wouldn’t be that big of a deal but…Depeche hasn’t just been any old band for me.  They have a special place in my heart.  You see they were the first band that I saw in concert.  There, of course, is a reason for that.  As soon as I became a Duranie and saw Sing Blue Silver, I wanted to go to a concert.  Yet, I didn’t know about Duran’s 1984 tour as that it is just when I was becoming a fan.  By 1987, for the next Duran tour, I had moved further away from Chicago and knew that there was no way that my parents would drive me hours to go to a concert.  Plus, there was no way that they were going to let their 12 year old go to a concert by herself and they didn’t want to go with.  Nope.  I had to wait until I was old enough to go to a show by myself.  I was declared old enough by 1990 when I had turned 15.  Duran definitely wasn’t touring then but Depeche was.  I did what any inexperienced concert goer did in 1990 to secure tickets.  I called Ticketmaster when the tickets went on sale.  After calling for hours and getting nothing but busy signals, I got lawn seats for myself and two of my friends as every other ticket was sold.  The plan had been made.  My mother would drive us and drop us off.  Then, we would meet up with my mom’s friend’s son who was also at the show.  He would drive us back.  The venue for this first concert ever was also the first venue I saw Duran play in 1993.  Anyway, when I saw the Depeche dates for this summer/fall, I knew that I wanted to go, especially since they were returning that ever-important venue for me on a Saturday night.  Perfect.

Now, of course, I’m a much more experienced concert ticket buyer and goer.  Heck, sometimes, I think Rhonda and I should write a book about what we learned from being Duran fans.  One whole chapter would be devoted to presales, concert tickets, concert venues, etc.  When I was younger and inexperienced, I would just figure out the time the tickets would go sale then go online and let ticketmaster give me the “best available” and move on.  I know better now.  Research pays off.  I truly do believe that.  First thing I checked out was what were the presales and what did they offer.  I discovered that Depeche was doing VIP packages.  Hmm…how much were they and what did they offer?  Now, as much as I like Depeche and I do, I knew that I wouldn’t be going for a VIP package unless it was truly reasonable and it offered just the right stuff.  I wouldn’t want to break the Duran savings account too much for this.  Here are their VIP packages: 

VIP package: Around $350

  • One reserved ticket in the first 10 rows
  • Exclusive pre-show reception, including appetizers, beer & wine
  • One parking spot per order (where available)
  • Specially designed concert shirt
  • Limited edition tour lithograph
  • Official tour program
  • Depeche Mode VIP commemorative laminate
  • VIP commemorative ticket
  • Exclusive tour gift item
  • Early entrance into the venue
  • Crowd-free merchandise shopping
  • On-site VIP host

Tour package: Around $250
  • One reserved ticket in the first 20 rows
  • Specially designed concert shirt
  • Limited edition tour lithograph
  • Official tour program
  • VIP commemorative ticket
  • Exclusive tour gift item
  • On-site VIP host
Now, for me, the most important thing for any VIP package is the seats.  So the VIP package gives a seat in the first 10 rows and the Tour package gives a seat in the first 20 rows.  I noticed that it didn’t say that the Tour package seats would be between rows 11-20.  Thus, it seemed possible to get a seat higher than row 11 by not buying the VIP package.  I also noticed that you wouldn’t know your exact seat until later.  This is how it worked with DuranDuranMusic back in the day.  Now, of course, with Artist Arena, you know your seats when you buy, which I really like.  A lot of the rest of the packages seemed to be about merchandise, which is fine for those big Depeche fans.  In general, though, their packages seem a lot like the old DDM packages with the VIP parties.  The cost were similar as well.  I am surprised that they didn’t offer better seats, though.  With DDM, VIP got you rows 1-5.  Even now, with Artist Arena, you generally get rows 1-6.  In this case, it doesn’t seem like their packages are that much better than Duran’s, in my opinion.  I did think one thing was weird.  You didn’t have to be a member of a fan club or anything to have access to these packages.  This makes me wonder if Depeche’s biggest fans will buy them or will scalpers buy them and sell for more money.  No matter for me as I opted to just get regular seats. 
My research was not complete.  I looked to see what presales were available.  For Depeche, there were three presales:  Citi Card Members, Amazon purchasers and Facebook followers before the general sale.  Interesting.  I didn’t and wouldn’t know if there were some seats in each section that would be saved for each presale or would the Citi Card Members get the best seats, no matter what.  I had to hope that they did save some as I could only try for the Amazon one.  Before the day of the presale, I had printed out a venue map, which was a good one with rows clearly marked as well as seats so I knew exactly where the seats were when they came up on the screen.  I also checked into various ticket brokers to see if there were tickets available from that Citi presale and there were.  Thus, I knew what I could get that way and what the tickets would cost.  I knew that I had options that way and that I didn’t have to just take whatever came up.  
During the actual presale, the first tickets that came up were in the very back section, row XX or something like that.  Horrible.  Yes, they were cheaper but still.  Horrible.  I tried again.  This time, I got tickets in the front section but all the way to the left side, row Z.  Not horrible but not great.  I debated for the 1:30 minutes they allow you to “complete the page”.  I figured I would try again.  This time, I got the center/left section, row 13 with the first two seats on the center section aisle!  I couldn’t believe it!  Obviously, I grabbed them!  This will be the sixth Depeche show for me and definitely the best seats I have had for them.  The best part I think is that I didn’t need to pay for the Tour package to get them!  I also truly felt my research had paid off.  I knew the venue well enough from the map to know what were good seats and what weren’t.  I knew what might be available and what might not due to those VIP packages and the other presale.   Clearly, I have come a long way when it comes to buying tickets from that 15 year old buying tickets through Ticketmaster’s phone system.  All of my Duran ticket buying experiences taught me well!  I am looking forward to the show because I think Depeche gives a good show and I have these great seats, but I’m also looking forward to walking in that venue that started my concert going.  It will feel like returning home.  Now, all of that said, I’m still blogging about Duran.  I’m editing the last research chapter for the book that uses Duran fandom as the case study.  I’m still planning a DURAN fan convention.  I promise that my Duranieness is still solid and isn’t going anywhere.  Can I please get my booklet for TV Mania now?!  Please?! -A

Under Pressure (Yeah, I know it’s not a Duran song…so sue me!)

I think I’m getting too old for this.

By “this”, I mean the jittery nerves, the white knuckle grip on the dining room table, the constant clicking on “refresh”, and if that weren’t enough….the hyperventilating that happens when sixth row seats land in the cart, all the while thinking that second or first would be better…and that’s just when Amanda does the presales and I’m merely observing the Twitter feed!

This morning I really think I had a near-death experience. There was one point as I was sitting vigil, hitting “refresh” every couple of seconds in the moments before Artist Arena began the presales for both Atlanta and Portsmouth this morning, that I truly felt faint. I could feel the cold, numbness start to seep down over my head and face, and that’s when I realized I had completely. lost. my. mind.

It’s a band. A silly POP band, no less. (Apologies to the band.) This is not brain surgery. I am not going to die if I don’t get good seats to the show. I will still live a very full and productive life if I don’t clap with John, see Simon’s fantastic dance moves or watch Nick take pictures while playing the keyboard at the same time. Somehow in the heat of the moment though, all sanity gets lost in the shuffle.

By 8:58am my time, I was convinced I was going to need an “air sick” bag next to my dining room chair. The pangs of hunger I’d had previously were all but gone, and I could feel the cold sweat begin to break out on my forehead. My stomach was continuing to do cartwheels, and as I continued to hit “refresh”, almost convinced that my connection was down, broken or  being blocked by the Gods of Presale…suddenly tickets went live, and it was then that I thought I should have my cell phone (my mobile phone for those of you in the rest of world) next to me in case my blood pressure finally spiked enough to cause a heart attack, and I truly mean that.

Thankfully (For me. Perhaps not so much for the rest of you out there….), I have lived to see yet another presale should the band be so kind as to continue with another album and tour.  At the very least, Amanda and I have tickets to our own final two shows on this tour. In Atlanta, our reign of terror on poor Dom will undoubtedly continue, as our seats are in the 6th row on his side of the pit. Once again, I apologize. In Portsmouth, Amanda and I were lucky enough to grab third row orchestra center. No, they’re not front row, but I’m counting my blessings that I’m alive to tell about them all the same.  *Whew*

I still say I’m getting too old for this.

-R

Blame the Machines

Remember the good ole days when DDM would have presales and tickets for one city would go on sale at like 10am and another city would go on sale at like noon?? You’d stress to the point of nausea for one show, secure the tickets, breathe a huge sigh of relief, want to start drinking but realize it’s not even noon where you are yet, then post your excitement to the message boards and realize you’ve got another show to do.  Then the nausea would kick in again, you’d make the sale and this time, you’d definitely start drinking?! Yeah, me too and yet typically I wasn’t even the one buying the tickets!!

Apparently though, there aren’t a lot of people who buy more tickets to more than one show, or at least one city, that have presales on the same day, because if there are – I certainly am not hearing the outcries of injustice.  For what I think is either the second or third time now, Amanda and I are facing this issue next week.  Presales for both the Atlanta and Portsmouth shows begin next Wednesday at 9am *my* time.  (That would be noon for you east coasters out there)  Sure, one of us could buy tickets to one show and one could do the other.  Definitely and if we were both members, that would be fine.  So, that’s one reason to stay a DDM member, and I accept that responsibility. I’m not really complaining about that because it was my choice to end my membership and I accept those consequences.

I do still have a point coming here though, so read on. What about the folks who are DDM members and want tickets to more than one show that have presales happening at the same time?  For example, let’s pretend that Amanda is going to these shows alone. She wants to buy a ticket to both Atlanta and Portsmouth.  She wants good seats, and to her, good seats mean near the front.  I recognize “good” means different things to different people and that there are some amongst you that want the best sound possible.  It’s not necessary for you to see up Simon LeBon’s nose in order to have a great show experience, and hey – that’s cool by me.  In this case though, Amanda wants near or at the front – although I’m pretty sure it’s not up Simon’s nose she wants to see. (No offense to Simon of course)  Due to the fact both shows go on sale at the same time, and to the best of our knowledge at this moment there is no way to put a seat in her shopping basket for one show, then go and get another seat for a different show and add that to her basket and then checkout – she’s got to do two separate transactions.  That takes valuable time.  This happened to us last year in fact and it made a ginormous difference in where our seats were located.  The first show had great seats, the second show we ended up with seats about 30 rows back and I ended up selling them.  That’s right, I sold them.  The fact is, the system is stupid.  Artist Arena isn’t a tiny business ran by yet another hamster in a dark basement in the worst part of Gotham. It’s a company that does ticketing for more than one band out there, yet the antiquated ticketing engine is enough to make me slam my head into the wall repeatedly, hoping for a good blackout as a source of relief from the madness.

To put it simply: if one is going to create a ticketing agency so that bands can offer tickets “directly” to their fans…one should probably invest in a proper shopping cart engine so that multiple shows can be purchased in one transaction.  Furthermore, if such an engine is already truly in place, one should make certain that the fans they are taking money from are well-aware of how to properly utilize said shopping cart…or else space each and every presale apart so that this problem simply cannot happen.  I daresay that Artist Arena is not only “open for business” during the hours of noon to 3pm EDT, so it is reasonable to assume that presales could be spaced out appropriately.  Again, this comes down to simple, proper customer service.  You’ve got several thousand fans willing and ready to plop down decent sums of money to see more than one show.  Why not make sure those fans are properly taken care of?  Service=Loyalty=Sales.

-R

In fairness, since writing this blog I’ve learned that there is now an option in the Artist Arena shopping cart to “add more”.  I don’t know if this option has always been there (I know that we never saw it when we were getting tickets, but that doesn’t we couldn’t have missed it while in our seconds of “presale anxiety”.), but that doesn’t stop us from wanting to set the record straight.  Our blog isn’t about having an ax to grind, and the last thing I want to do is create more trouble in the world with my words. While I still feel that it would far easier for presales to be spaced out, having the ability to buy tickets for more than one show at a time is a step in the right direction.


 I myself haven’t yet tried the “add more” function – but I’ve been told that it sometimes does not work correctly.  I suppose that I’ll find out for myself next week!  I hope this helps other gluttonous fans out there like myself that need tickets for more than one show at a time!  

Presales, Birthdays, Showcases and Homeschooling oh my!

Sorry that today’s blog is a bit late – as I’ve mentioned, we’re dealing with some kid issues at home.  Today I spent part of the morning getting my son transferred from his current school over to homeschooling for the next school year, beginning in late August.  This is a huge change for all of us, and after much nail biting, worrying and even a few tears, I think this is the best answer for right now.  Wish us luck, send me wine, and words of wisdom from time to time might help.  Right now my son is cautiously optimistic (which tells me he’s really thinking about what it all might be like), and my husband is supportive.  It’s all I can really ask for.  I just hope I’m doing the right thing.  I have no idea what my schedule will be like, but I would imagine that it will most definitely need to change with regards to the blog – I’m still committed to writing each day, it’s just a matter of figuring out when to write.  I promise to keep you updated!  As for the book, I’ve given myself a firm deadline, and that’s that my portion(s) must be completed by late July.  That’s going to be a stretch, but it is what must be done.

Have you sent your birthday greeting yet??  Duran Duran put out a request for short birthday wishes to be sent to duranduran@magusentertainment.com in honor of Nick’s BIG birthday….I sent mine in, and you should get yours in as well.  Deadline is this Saturday, June 2nd. It happens to the best of us, Nick.  Well, not me (yet), but you know…I think you had a bit of a head start!

So that Atlanta date….  I was really starting to wonder if this show was going to happen, mainly because it had been so long since I’d heard anything. Secretly I thought maybe I’d missed the news somewhere, and as I mentioned to Amanda yesterday, I figured that if I’d missed it, I was just going to figure it out later because I was busy having a life outside of my extracurricular activities!  It happens, right?  So the word is that the venue is beginning their “Series” on-sale as of Sunday, June 3rd.  That means that this show is being sold to their subscribers in a sort of package along with several other shows, kind of like season tickets.  Then after that, the DDM presale will begin on June 13th.  While once again I have serious scheduling issues with the presale date – it’s my youngest’s last day of school and that means I am at her school that day (not something I can or even want to get out of), I have no doubt that Amanda and I will figure this out.  Of course, she’s going to be on her way to a little vacation with her parents – but you know, it’s not really a fun or a tour unless we’ve got some crazy drama going on, right?  It’s the challenge that makes it worth our time!  If you are not a DDM member, then the public on-sale date (non-series, single show tickets) is on Saturday, June 16th.  Let us know if you’re going to the show because we’d like to do a get-together and possibly look into group rates at a hotel if there’s enough interest!  Assuming Atlanta works out, that means Amanda and I will be touring the cities and highways beginning in Biloxi, onward to Atlanta, and then ending up in North Carolina.  Have you sent your birthday greeting yet??  Duran Duran put out a request for short birthday wishes to be sent to duranduran@magusentertainment.com in honor of Nick’s BIG birthday….I sent mine in, and you should get yours in as well.  Deadline is this Saturday, June 2nd. It happens to the best of us, Nick.  Well, not me (yet), but you know…I think you had a bit of a head start!

Last but not least, today is Blue to Brown’s big day with their release party at the Cookoo Club in London.  It’s fairly obvious that Amanda and I could not be there, but we send our very best wishes to Dom and his dad for a great showcase.  Have you bought your copy of Blue to Brown yet??  Get out there and get one, then buy one for a friend!  Also, if you want to keep up with the latest Blue to Brown news, “like” their new facebook page!

-R

What’s New in Duranland

I figured it is time to summarize and comment on the latest news in the world of Duran Duran.  Their official website has been a pretty busy place lately with information regarding the upcoming DVD release, information about projects from Simon and John and tour information. 

First, more information was released regarding the upcoming DVD, A Diamond in the Mind.  This information included tracklisting, format information, list of extras, a synopsis and a tentative release date.  You can find the news release here.  Of course, I wouldn’t be me, if I didn’t have a couple of thoughts regarding what I read and comments I have seen from other fans.  I noticed that there will be a deluxe edition along with blu-ray and a cd.  What this includes I’m not really sure.  Do you get both the video and cd with the deluxe edition?  I’m sure that I will buy whatever format(s) in order to see and hear everything.  I also noted that the release date was in July.  This would be nice for a variety of reasons.  One, it would give Rhonda and I something new to review then.  Two, it would create excitement both for myself and for other fans with shows coming up.  Lastly, it will take me back to that wonderful UK tour that Rhonda and I had last year.  Now, of course, it wouldn’t be Duranland if I saw or heard no criticism.  It seems that some fans do not plan to buy it due to the setlist.  Honestly, here is where my eyes start to roll.  Why?  That makes no real sense to me.  Why wouldn’t a fan want to see a high quality performance from the band?  Plus, if that is the reason that someone did not go to a show, I would argue that they are judging a book by its cover.  In this case, it is judging a show based on the setlist.  If you didn’t go to a show then and you won’t watch/buy the DVD, you really can’t judge the quality of the performance or setlist.  Beyond all that, I do not understand why a fan wouldn’t want to see those 2011 interviews or behind the scenes footage.  I both look forward to those and dread those.  That time with the canceled shows and Simon’s vocal problems were extremely tough, emotionally, and I suspect that I will be emotional all over again by watching some of this footage.  Nonetheless, it is important to note what that time was like both for historical sake and for a reminder of why we should appreciate what we have now.  It is a lesson that should not be forgotten. 

Second, there were news releases regarding both Simon and John.  In Simon’s case, the news release was about a cause that Simon has decided to support and that is THE AIR AMBULANCE SERVICE (TAAS).  This service provides emergency medical service in England and one that he could back after receiving his own rescue in 1985 with the capsizing of Drum.  I think it is cool when the band decides to champion a cause, especially one that seems close to the band member’s heart.  The news release can be read here.  There are pictures of Simon’s visit on the official website as well.  As for John Taylor, he has been a busy man finishing his autobiography.  This week, he announced the title, “In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death and Duran Duran” and where it is being published in some countries.  According to Amazon.com, it is due to be released October 16, 2012, here in the States.  On the day of the announcement, John spent part of it on twitter sharing the news.  Apparently, there will be an audio edition!  Obviously, this is one that I cannot wait for!  I am already planning my voicemail message, “Please do not disturb unless you have a Duranie alert.  I am reading John Taylor’s book.  I will return to the world of the living when I’m done!”  The Daily Duranie will be reviewing it as well!  Now, I have seen some people questioning the title.  I must give John credit as I know how hard it is to name a book.  Before you ask, yes, we have part of the title of our book ready.  We are still working on it and, no, we won’t share yet!  🙂  As for the quality of the title, I like it.  I feel like it fits John well, which is the key.  What do the rest of you think? DD.com has this news alert as well here and, like Simon’s, has pictures! 

Lastly, Duran Duran Headquarters continues to update tour information.  In the case of South America, they announced that the venues for two shows have been changed.  You can read it about it here.  They do not provide a reason but acknowledge that the dates are the same and that the tickets for the other venues will be valid.  I don’t know how much of a big deal this is.  Are the new venues close to the old ones?  Are the seating charts the same or are all the venues GA?  South American fans, I would love to know the impact of this on you guys!  Of course, the US tour keeps getting updated as well.  Presales have taken place for the following locations:  Saratoga, Tucson, Memphis, Biloxi, Durham, Kettering and Chicago.  In most cases, public sales for those locations have happened as well with the exception of Chicago, which takes place on the 26th.  Future presales with known dates include:  Costa Mesa (4/25) and Oklahoma (6/27).  How have the presales gone for everyone?  In my experience, I have appreciated the notice that has been given for them.  Obviously, I wish that they had better seats for Chicago.  I’ll be curious as to what tickets are offered for the public sale for that one.  It might really have to do with the venue and their donor ticket deal.  Fans are still waiting on venue and presale information for Atlanta, Connecticut and Atlantic City.  Of course, people are still wondering if more dates will be added.  In looking at the tour schedule, I can see some possible dates to add show to:  August 13th or August 14th, August 22nd or August 23rd, or August 26th or August 27th.  Thus, in my calculations, at most, they could add 3 more dates.  I, for one, would love to see a date added on the 22nd in between Durham and Connecticut.  I would say that Virginia or DC or Baltimore or other nearby places would be a lovely spot for another show, especially since Rhonda and I would love to get one more in that area…Ah, we can dream, right? 

All in all, I love that there is so much going on in Duranland.  We have many things to look forward to!!!

-A