Fall Tour Presale Review!

I spent yesterday morning dealing with presales.  I had to buy Chicago for myself and L.A. and Valley Center for my partner-in-crime.  Chicago was first as DDM/Artist Arena has the tickets going on sale at 10 am, local time.  Unfortunately, this meant that LA and Valley Center were on sale at the same time.  We ran into the same problem when buying for the UK shows way back in January.  At that time, we split up the duty and each of us bought a show.  This wouldn’t work for me now because Rhonda is out of town.  It was up to me and me alone.  As the morning went past, I couldn’t help but to compare it to previous presales and wonder how other people were doing with it and how the ticket sales were going.

I am not a novice when it comes to buying tickets through Duran’s fan club.  I have done it many, many, many times.  In fact, when Rhonda and I are planning a tour, I’m usually the one to buy tickets and she deals with the hotels.  It works out well.  Going into the Chicago presale I was worried.  I knew that the venue is very small (3600) and definitely one of the smallest on this tour.  I also remembered trying to get tickets there in 2007 when Duran was playing at the Christmas show.  I was not successful that day.  I had to wonder if the venue just simply doesn’t give the fan club that many tickets to sell.  As I got ready, I acknowledged the difference between Artist Arena and DDM of the past.  Now, Artist Arena lists all of the shows in order of which they will be taking place whereas back in the day each show was separated.  They don’t put the ones going on sale at the top so that they are easy to find.  Nope, that would be too helpful or something.  Chicago is towards the end of the tour so not only did I have to keep hitting refresh while waiting for the tickets to go on sale but I had to get to the second page.  An additional step.  Not nice.  Of course, then, you have pick out your show from the list and the right kind of tickets (regular or VIP).  Nothing is really separated so I always fear that I’m going to hit the wrong button and realize it too late.  Luckily for me and my cousin-in-law who is going with me, I was successful with getting our tickets.  Unfortunately, it seems like a ton of people weren’t.  In fact, I was surprised at how many people didn’t get tickets.  On top of that, it seemed like a lot of people didn’t get great seats.  The best seats I have seen so far for VIP is 2nd row in the pit.  I lucked out with 4th but a lot of VIPs are in the 5th or 6th row.  Ouch.  The best I have seen for the regular seats is 16th row, but most are a lot further back.   This is definitely a change from how things used to be.  It used to be that VIP meant you would be in rows 1-5.  Then, there were tiers for regular seats with good regular seats in Tier 1 meant rows 6-15.  This seems totally random now.  That’s not cool.  Of course, there is one good thing that people really like.  We know exactly where we are sitting.

After the Chicago presale which lasted all of three minutes as it appeared to be sold out by 10:03, I got more coffee and tried to relax before the California shows went on sale.  I decided to phone in some help, which, in this case, was my mother.  I figured she could sit at one computer, refresh and get 2 tickets in the basket for one show while I finished the other one.  She arrived at 11:30 and I tried to show her what it was going to be like.  By 5 minutes to, we were both sitting at computers and ready to go.  My mom, at that point, declared that this was horribly stressful!!!  Tell me something I don’t know, Mom!  She got anxious even though she isn’t going to any of the shows.  Too funny!  Once again, though, I cursed the idea that multiple shows would go on sale at the same time.  Does that even make any sense?  Do Duranies just go to one show?!  Don’t some Duranies travel?  In this case, it is even more dumb since they are close together, geographically.  Frankly, they are hurting their business by doing it this way.  It isn’t a way to encourage people to go to multiple shows and if they still do, many will have to find alternative means of buying tickets.  Soon enough, though, the clock flipped to 12:00 and I was ready to buy.  The Valley Center tickets I was buying for worked out easily and Rhonda has great seats!  My mom, on the other hand, was struggling because there were multiple ticket prices to choose from.  By the time I got over to the other computer and picked the best I could, the seats were bad.  🙁  We did the best we could.  Not fun. 

The rest of the afternoon was spent checking out the boards, twitter and facebook to hear about how other people did.  A lot of people struggled and did not get what they wanted.  Not good.  It seems that many people received weird error messages or were told to click on some link while attempting to buy Chicago.  WTH?  Definitely not good, especially when the tickets went that fast.  While I was having difficulty buying tickets for multiple shows, others were having problems with the two ticket limit.  While I get that you don’t want to have people buy a whole bunch of tickets, 2 is pretty tight, especially for larger venues.  That sucks for those people who want to go together but can’t now.  Another thing that came up a few times was the prices.  The Chicago tickets were exactly what I had expected based on the price listed on ticketmaster and the additional cost of VIP.  Valley Center, on the other hand, seemed a lot more expensive than what ticketmaster plus VIP should have cost.  I heard the same was true for Cleveland.  That’s definitely not good.  Other people commented that the ticket prices, overall, seemed high.  I have to agree.  I wonder what is up with that.  The Montreal presale was taking place at the same time the Amex one was, according to some people.  Hmm…

It seems that it was a standard presale in that there were some happy campers, like me, but many who weren’t.  It definitely seems to me that there are many things that Artist Arena could do to make the experience better and easier for us.  Last night, I checked to see how the presales were coming along.  Did DDM sell anything out?  If so, which ones?  It appears that they have sold out both the regular tickets and the VIP tickets for the following shows:  Everett, Washington, Saratoga, California, Atlanta, Georgia and Chicago, Illinois.  Hmm…Saratoga and Atlanta were the only shows for a very long time.  Is it possible that a lot of people decided to go to those shows because they were the only ones available?  Makes sense to me.  This leaves just Everett and Chicago.  It seems to be that Chicago didn’t have many tickets available.  I wonder if this is the same situation for Everett.  Artist Arena did sell out some more regular tickets for the following shows:  Portland, Vegas, Grand Prairie, Colorado, Philadelphia and Atlantic City.  There are tickets still available for those shows, just not with DDM and Artist Arena.  I have to admit that I’m a little surprised that there hasn’t been more sold out.  I wonder why.  Is it the bad economy?  Is it that people are sick of DDM and their presales?  I hope that the shows do end up selling well, no matter where or how the tickets get purchased. 

For me, I’m thrilled to be going and do not regret my choice to go VIP.  I don’t think now is not the time to put off a good concert experience or wait for them to come back.  We have to enjoy them while we can.  They won’t be around forever and seeing all of the postponed dates reminded me of that. 


3 thoughts on “Fall Tour Presale Review!”

  1. First, I love reading your blog each day. Thanks for doing this! I've been reading for a few months now, and felt your pain when the UK shows were cancelled. This is my first comment.

    I too am an experienced ticket buyer (This will be my 9th Duran Duran show, and I've been buying fan club tickets since they started being available). You may or may not know, but the Toronto presale had 2 even bigger screwups, besides the fact that many people were also unable to get decent “VIP” seats.

    1. People seemed to get better seats through the American Express presale (which went on after the Duran Duran sale!).

    2. (And this is the worst one…) The even map for the Air Canada Centre, since the show was announced listed the band playing the entire arena, as opposed to the last time they played there and it was configured in a smaller “theatre” mode (which didn't sell out by the way). The theatre mode is basically the back 1/4 of the arena. When presale tickets came up, they were listing tickets at the very back of the arena, which of course wouldn't be described as a prime ticket. Many threw them back to try for better seats, and since they went so fast, didn't get anything at all. Afterwards, emails from Air Canada Centre subscribers started to be posted saying the map they received from the venue itself showed the band would again be using “theatre mode”. It turns out those seats initially thought to be at the back of the arena, all of a sudden were actually pretty good seats after all!

    This is a major screwup! I am a huge DD fan, and take pride in being part of the fan club. I decided to treat myself to VIP (I did the same in the Spring), and was actually able to get a true VIP ticket in Row 1. However, even though nothing is ever guarenteed, I would have been FURIOUS if I couldn't have gotten a decent ticket through the fan club, especially since I just upgraded/renewed to the GOLD membership. I won't even start on the outrageous $125 VIP charge, that while it did get me an excellent ticket, only includes a poster (which doesn't appeal), a laminate (could care less), and a t-shirt (which I'm sure will be the same as the one I got in the Spring), and of course no meet and greet (or even a chance to win a meet & greet, which I always thought should have been guarenteed anyways).

    I appreciate that my comment might have touched on more then one issue, but I am really disappointed in what membership in the fan club as become. I always appreciated the fact that you needed to be an established member in order to buy tickets, as honestly I have joined other fan clubs the day before ticket sales simply to buy good tickets. Along with many others, I am really questioning the value I'm getting in being a member, and I question the way presales are being run. I've never understood why they get announced a day before happening in some cases. As you have pointed out, people need to be able to plan, and if they can plan, it would only help increase demand. The tiered tickets were such a great way of doing things! It clearly laid out what you were paying for, and what you could expect. If the band wanted to charge a large amount for meet & greets, then they could do so, because again, people knew what they were paying for. (I had never previously purchased VIP because I thought “the chance to win” a meet and greet was such a rip off.)

    That's my morning rant. I'm excited to see the show in the Fall, but so far my experience has not started out well. Just thought I would sahre. Thanks again for your hard work in posting.


  2. There are plaenty of people that only go to one show.
    and look at it this way: YOU got 4th row for one show, and not for another. Somewhwere out there there is a fan that got the seats you didn't get. Maybe that fan has never been to show at all.
    Let that be your silver lining.Or Silva Halo as it were.
    -Cynthia Graham Hughes

  3. Wow, Jamie, Toronto was a mess!!! I absolutely agree with you that they need to do something with the fan club. It seems to me that it is getting progressively worse. Ugh.

    Cynthia-That's absolutely true that having sales at the same time could make it so that different people have a chance at the good seats. I don't think that is their reasoning. I think they have them all go on sale at the same time because it works for THEM. Instead, they should be worried about what works for the fans. If they really wanted to make sure tickets were distributed in a way that was “fair”, I'm sure that they could. At the same time, they shouldn't punish fans who are going to more than one show. That isn't fair, either.


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