Tag Archives: Duran Duran tickets

Shouldn’t VIP seats be great?

Happy New Year!

It is my first blog of 2017 and I am hoping this post finds everyone happy and healthy.  Many of you are making your way home from the  New Year shows in Washington DC – safe travels! I have to say, sitting these shows out and staying at home wasn’t nearly as depressing as I thought. Not that I didn’t miss being there to see the band, but seeing the posts and updates from Amanda gave me a totally different perspective than I would have had if I were there too. It was interesting, not that I’d seriously try to recommend staying home to anyone!  I just didn’t have a choice, and I needed to make the best of it. I am going to have to get used to that, until I win the lottery.

Since I’ve been at home, I’ve had the opportunity to hear a lot about the venue. From a dress code that didn’t seem to be enforced to a countdown to New Years during the show that did not include the band dragged down spirits a bit. On the upside: DURAN DURAN. I mean, what could be better than that?  I have a hard time thinking of anything else that could be better than spending New Year’s weekend seeing Duran Duran.

Take it from someone who wasn’t there: I WISH.  I saw plenty of tweets, posts and comments that began with the words, “Once in a lifetime”.  I get it, and I have to concur. Those of us who weren’t there missed out (although I speak solely for myself when I say that I’ve gotten to do a lot of other “once in a lifetime” things as a result of this band – so missing one weekend won’t kill me).

On the other hand, had I spent the nearly $400 a show to see the band, I would have been very disappointed to get to the venue and see this view:

photo taken on an iPhone with no zoom, courtesy of Jennifer Burroughs

That’s a view from a VIP seat. In order to see any portion of the stage, the person in the seat had to angle way to the side. If they looked straight ahead, this may have been their view:

This is a photo Amanda took the first night.

Sure, the seats were close, and there’s no argument about that. Close seats, however, are not always “great seats”, and they definitely aren’t the “great seats” that paying nearly $400 for a VIP tickets should get you. These seats are partially obstructed, and should not be marketed as anything else. Shame on the venue for that. Sure, you might be in the first six rows, but if those rows face a brick wall and you never see the band – are they really VIP? That’s my question to all of you.

In an online discussion about this very issue, I mentioned that Amanda and I really try to do our homework before pre-sales. We search online for images of the venue. We even look to see photos from people in the audience, just to try to get a handle on the length of the stage as opposed to seating. Then we print out a copy of the seating chart, and we try to make sure that we know how the seats are numbered within each section. Buyer beware: even the seating charts that ticket agencies use sometimes aren’t always the best or most accurate. That’s why we take a good look at any photos  we can find online. Those are things we do ahead of time, so that way when row 2, seats 45 and 46 show up in our basket at the pre-sale, we can decide for ourselves whether or not we want them. And believe it or not, we’ve thrown second row seats back before because they were so far to the side that it didn’t matter. We’ve agreed that we’d rather be back a bit farther but in the middle than be way off to one side.  But that’s a choice that YOU must make as a buyer. We all want different things. So let’s look at the seating chart used for this pre-sale:

seating chart for MGM

It feels very counterintuitive, or even greedy, to throw back first or second row VIP seats because they’re not more to the middle. No doubt about it. I’m certainly not telling anybody what to do here because I don’t know what I would have done, had I participated in the pre-sale. Which brings me to another point.

Shouldn’t VIP seats be, well….great?

In the past on DDM (and by past I mean PAST)…we’d participate in pre-sales and not be guaranteed to have the best seats. It was explained that the DDM allocation for pre-sales were 10% of the best and worst seats in the venue, and it was a crap-shoot as to what you might get. DDM customers knew that risk going in, and I don’t know many of us who weren’t burned at least once. Those pre-sales, however, were not VIP. They were simply fan pre-sales. Over time, DDM began promoting their own VIP packages in various forms, whether they included cocktail parties, meet and greets, tiers, merchandise, or just the “great seat”.  Keeping in mind that during a pre-sale, you could go for just a regular seat OR pay the extra to do VIP.  Call me crazy, but if you’re paying the surcharge for VIP, you’re probably expecting a really good seat – one that doesn’t have you staring directly at a wall.

Granted, I’m not entirely sure that DDM has much control over what the venue touts as a “great seat”.  It isn’t as though DDM actually sorts through the tickets themselves and allocates them to fans (although at one time, they did). I just know that as a fan, if I bought a VIP ticket and ended up with that kind of view—I’d think twice before buying another. It doesn’t beg for repeat business.

I saw quite a few comments to DDM from “owners” of these types of side-seat tickets. Many asked if this is really how the band should treat their VIP customers. I can understand the question and the sentiment. I also have a fair idea of just how much attention DDHQ pays to such complaints. Unfortunately, it’s widely regarded that the only comments online are the negative ones, which is incredibly untrue (those are just the ones easily seen, which says more about the viewer than it does the countless GOOD things I see every day about the band).

Here’s the problem: we are customers. We also happen to be fans. Those are two different things. Sometimes, I feel that DDM and subsequently DDHQ forget that point. Fans can be fans without being customers; and many customers really aren’t fans. But, once they are truly customers – when they buy something directly from DDM—they should be treated as such.  The complaints have little do with crazy fans, it’s about wanting good service. It is wanting the goods and services one paid for. The relationship is transactional, not emotional.

I’m somewhat dismayed by just how many times I see the comment, “You saw a great show for the ticket price” or “The band puts on a fantastic show.”  without any validation given to the concerns of the customer. Particularly so when the complaints aren’t about the band doing their job, but about the folks behind the scenes doing theirs.

-R

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

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