Tag Archives: Ticketmaster

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

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

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

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

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

Dammit!!

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

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

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

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

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

So, I typed in my password.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I sometimes have a flair for the dramatic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R

 

 

Some Days Are Strange to Number

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-A

 

I’m Not Thinking About the Future

I really cannot believe that for Amanda and I, this tour is quickly coming to an end. We waited so long for the time to come, and now those moments are drawing to a close. We do still have one final show to attend in Chula Vista tomorrow, and it has been a fantastic time so far. We’ve had great luck on this tour. Yesterday, Amanda and I took a drive up to Hollywood to see a friend of ours. (Yes Robyn, I count you as a friend now too!) We had lunch, wandered around Amoeba Records for a while, and then met up with a couple of other friends for coffee.

These other friends we met up with were from San Diego and Argentina.  (Shout out to Shelly, her daughter Rachel, Faby and Gerardo!) As we walked to Starbucks in search of a caffeinated afternoon-pick-me-up, I thought about luck.

I’m not one of those people who wins many contests. I don’t typically have the best fortune when it comes to running into band members the way some of you do. In fact, I could be given solid information about where they are at any given time and STILL not find them, which is kind of funny! (if it’s not meant to happen, it’s not happening – right?) I have several friends and acquaintances that just seem to have their life together. I’m sure they’ve worked very hard to land their dream jobs—please don’t read this as though I’m saying otherwise—but I haven’t quite “found” my dream job yet, I guess. I’m still sort of floundering and trying to figure it out. Later in life than most, but I’ve also spent twenty years at home with my kids. I am definitely not one of those people who has just had everything fall into place yet. I keep trying. I would probably say that I’m not necessarily lucky. Hard worker? Yes. Good at buying pre-sale tickets? Probably. (unless Ticketmaster is involved!)  But otherwise? Not quite sure about that.

On the other hand though, I have hit the jackpot and then some when it comes to my friends. I started thinking about all of the people I have met while being active in the fan community for Duran Duran. I know people from all over the world at this point. I have a very small circle of friends that I can count on to bring me up when I’m feeling down, talk me away from the proverbial edge as necessary, and within that small group, a couple of very close friends that push me to keep going when I most need it. Those same two are also not afraid to call me out when it is deserved, and remind me that life doesn’t suck, no matter how hard it seems at times. I don’t think they know how much they matter to me.

My days are pretty mixed up right now, but a couple of nights ago Amanda and I were recording a video blog to “review” (so to speak, anyway) the Las Vegas show. I think we rambled onto the topic of how sad we were going to be when we came to our last show. It was important for us to convey how we’ll feel when it ends, because let’s face it—we’ve ALL heard rumors over the past few years about how this might be the last album, etc.  I think that concern hangs over me at times like this.

First of all, going to see Duran Duran is my break. It is like planning a giant “girls weekend”.  That isn’t to say we couldn’t plan one without them, but there are girls weekends, and then there are girls weekends with Duran Duran.  I think most of you understand the difference. The band adds another dimension, and I don’t want to see that end.

Secondly, there’s the music. I thrive on live music. I love seeing bands play and being consumed by the sound and energy on the stage. I like being up close and seeing the band’s reaction. I love being farther back and hearing the subtle nuances I miss when I’m up front.  I can’t imagine never having that again with Duran Duran. Can you?

Then, there are the meet-ups that Amanda and I plan. Strangely, I haven’t always enjoyed those meet-ups, believe it or not! They push me so far out of my comfort zone of hiding in a corner, I can’t even tell you. When we host parties like that, I have to mingle and be social. For me, there’s a fair amount of anxiety associated with that. I always have that few minutes as we’re sitting there, all set-up and waiting for people to arrive where I wonder if anyone will show.

Thankfully, you people are typically gracious and don’t leave me wondering for long! People begin to wander up and say hello, and I meet lots of new people. I begin to relax. In Las Vegas this past week, we had a huge turnout. I saw people I hadn’t seen in at least five or six years, and there were moments that I really had to swallow a lump in my throat because I was so thrilled to see people. It made my heart so happy, and for those of you who weren’t aware—I really needed some of that happiness.  For me, this pre-show party wasn’t just a meet-up, it was like a family reunion.  I walked away that night having new appreciation for these parties.

When I think that after tomorrow night, I won’t be planning pre-show meet-ups for a while, it makes me sad.  Every time we talk about one party we’ve hosted, someone shoots us a message asking if we’re coming to their city to do another. Believe me when I say that I really wish we could.  The trouble is, these meet-ups aren’t a job for us, and so the cost in organizing, traveling and attending is completely on Amanda and I. So we do what we can.  The idea that we’ve done a few and now they’re over really does hit hard. It’s not just going to the shows that matters—it is rallying the troops, organizing events for fans, and really strengthening the community that matters.  I meant it when I said that our fan community is like a big, dysfunctional family. So our parties and events really are like reunions. I hope we have the opportunity to host more of them before future shows.

How long will it be before I see some of these people again? Now, of course I know that Amanda and I could plan parties without the band touring. In fact, we really are doing a Durandemonium convention in 2017 (Mark your calendars for August 10th – which is a Thursday, through August 13th – a Sunday!!!)  Even so, it’s not the same as a tour. It’s the whole “group therapy” thing—the concerts—that are missing. Sure, we could probably pay the band to play in the same way that people hire them to do private shows…. (How much are y’all willing to pay in ticket prices, because I’m pretty sure that band isn’t cheap! I highly doubt the word “affordable” would characterize a ticket to a convention where they were going to appear, in other words.)

When I stand in the audience tomorrow night and begin to cheer as they come on stage, I’m going to try my best to push thoughts of the future out of my mind. I am going to focus on the hearts beating all around me, and staying in the present for the show. Every single second of the show needs to stay with me until the next opportunity I have to do this all over again. But, during New Moon on Monday, I won’t be surprised if a few tears threaten to escape. I don’t know what it is about that song for me on this tour, but just hearing it reminds me of how much this band and their fans mean to me. I am so lucky.

-R

 

Your Pride Is Dead: Buying Concert Tickets

I have a problem.  Rhonda and I have a problem.  It is March, which means that I’m ready to start touring planning.  I’m ready to figure out what hotels we are going to stay at and where we should host meet-ups.  The tour binder is just sitting on my desk silently screaming at me to start getting it ready! Of course, I say all of this knowing that our shows aren’t until July.  We won’t be attending any of the shows in March and April, much to our dismay.  The decisions for this tour weren’t easy but we opted to sit out during the spring in order to do more in the summer when I don’t have to worry about work at all.  It will be beautiful except that we have a problem.

Based on my profession, the problem is clearly not about work.  July is perfect for teachers like me.  At times, I have classes, workshops, etc. in June and August finds me getting ready for the upcoming year.  If the problem doesn’t have anything to do with work, what is the deal?  Money?  Well, the problem is connected with money.  Ah, heck, I might as well just spill it.  We are really hoping to go to the show in Toronto.  It is a city that I have always wanted to visit and it would allow us time to hang with our friend, Heather.  Yet, if you remember when those tickets went on sale, things did not go very well for us.  I was the one assigned to get those tickets and became SO frustrated by the lack of choices.  We couldn’t afford the Platinum or Gold VIP Packages.  We were aiming for Bronze, but no good seats in that section came up.  I tried everything that day.  I refreshed.  I tried looking for tickets via the Ticketmaster “use seat map to find tickets” option.  I also tried to have Ticketmaster “find me tickets” option.  I told my students to focus all of their thoughts and energy on Ticketmaster to give me good tickets that day.  Nothing worked.  In the end, I chose not to buy anything.  It just felt like WAY too much money for crappy seats.

At the time, I felt confident that I made the right call.  I had a limit in terms of how much I was willing to spend and I had a limit about how far away the tickets would be for me to buy.  The fact that I stuck to my limits seemed to prove that I wasn’t an emotional slave to my fandom.  No, I could still use logic and I could stay strong.  What a load of bullshit.  It has been a couple of months since that date of presale and now I find myself regretting that decision.  Desperation seems to be growing.  We still want to go to the Toronto show.  The question then is…how/where do we get tickets?  What do I have to do to get decent seats?!

I talk a good game.  I’m logical.  I’m in control.  I’m lying…I want my Duran Duran tickets, dang it!!!!  What do I have to do to get tickets to Toronto?  Do I need to sell my first born?  Oh wait…I don’t have kids.  Would my cat suffice?  He is kinda useless but I guess he can be cute?!  Do I have to do some sort of strange fandom ceremony where I burn some candles or stare at Duran Duran pictures while listening to Paper Gods over and over and over again?  I could do that!  Is that what it would take?  What are my other options?!  Anyone have the Devil on speed dial?  Maybe that would work?!

Of course, I do know that there might be some online sources for tickets.  Ticketmaster might have tickets and I have checked but…it is still the same problem.  No decent seats for the cost.  Oh, I could buy front row tickets there for over $1200 each.  Uh…that might be a little (LOT) over my budget.  (Who the hell really could afford that?!)  What about the 10th row seat on the far right that is selling for $495?  Uh…no.  That seems ridiculously priced for the location.  Am I wrong?!  (Don’t answer that…I don’t really want to know what you think of my insanity!)  So, it seems like Ticketmaster is not an option. What about those other resale outlets or ticket brokers?  eBay?

I admit that I have purchased tickets through both StubHub and eBay, but each time I do I am nervous.  How do I really know if those are real tickets?!  What if they aren’t?!  Then what?  I wouldn’t know until we get to Toronto.  That said, I would try if those sites had decent seats for the money.  Like those tickets on Ticketmaster, they are either really expensive or less than desirable seats.  Then what?  Ticket brokers?  I have never used ticket brokers.  On one hand, they bother me as they probably took the good seats when the tickets went on sale to begin with and now they are jacking up the price.  On the other hand, they might have tickets we would be interested in.  Can we trust them?  I have no idea.  Anyone know?!  Anyone have advice about which ones can be trusted?  Anyone have any other suggestion about where we could get tickets?  I’m happy to perform some weird Duranie ceremony if it would help…

-A

The Ticket Gods Were Kind!

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

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

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

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

No Ticketmaster

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

Silver VIP Option

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

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

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

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

Other Factors

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

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

-A

Miami Open Proves Closed for Duran Duran!

Attention ticket holders for Duran Duran’s show at the Miami Open, Key Biscayne – this post is for you!

From duranduran.com:

“Due to unforeseen circumstances, the DURAN DURAN concert originally scheduled to place place at the Miami Open in Key Biscayne on Friday, April 1 has been moved to Bayfront Park Amphitheater in downtown Miami (301 Biscayne Blvd). Doors will open at 7:00pm and the show will begin promptly at 8:00pm with CHIC featuring NILE RODGERS who have been added to the show as the Special Guest (opening act). 

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause – and please note you will be refunded in full for your entire purchase amount (a credit will appear on your credit card statement within 2-3 business days).

If you were a ticket holder and you still wish to attend the April 1 concert at Bayfront Park Amphitheatre, Ticketmaster has emailed information about a special pre-sale to ensure you have a privileged opportunity to purchase tickets before the general public. This special resale is set to begin on Tuesday, February 9 at 10:00am and will end on Friday February 12 at 10:00pm. 

Tickets go on sale to the general public on Saturday, February 13 at 10:00am via Ticketmaster:   http://duran.io/1SDeyTI”

So, why the change? Despite the astonishing amount of legalese that was being thrown around, it appears to come down to simple “Not In My Backyard” syndrome. The Miami Open is held in Crandon Park, Key Biscayne, which is a beautiful, very exclusive, very upscale area. There has been an enormous amount of push and pull back between the park’s developers, the family who once owned the land, the county…and naturally the organizers of the Miami Open.

To be certain, there have been concerts at the Miami Open in the past, but apparently this year the Duran Duran concert is being offered as a stand-alone event with a separate ticket… that “may attract patrons who did not hold tickets to the day’s tennis matches“.      Goodness. We can’t have those Duran Duran fans showing up. Those raucous, loud….music fans. No, absolutely not.  Miami-Dade county claims the concert violates the terms of use, but what comes across to me, Ms. Music Fan, is simply that the folks that sit on the board of the Miami Open are scared to death that people like me…or you… might actually show up in their space.  And we’re positively unsightly, you know. 😀

So, rather than force hands, Duran Duran did the smartest thing possible under the circumstances and moved the concert. Who really wants to be in the middle of a legal battle over a concert?? I don’t blame the band.

Naturally, moving a concert isn’t all that easy. For one, they had to find a venue willing and able to work with the band in relatively short order. It’s February 8. The gig takes place April 1st. (I find nothing at all funny or ironic about this show being on April Fools Day. Absolutely nothing.) And then, there are the current ticket holders. This is the part of the equation that, depending upon your point of view, either sucks or works out wonderfully.  Let’s look at that:

First of all, the current tickets are being refunded, but that will take 2-3 business days, and let’s face it: tour tickets this time are not cheap, particularly if you’ve bought VIP.

Secondly, Ticketmaster is holding a special pre-sale for these ticket holders….tomorrow….presumably so that they are able to have the first chance at tickets for the new venue. On one hand, this is a kind gesture and one I appreciate the band taking the time to put in place. On the other, I don’t know what kind of securities will be in place to ensure that only those current ticket holders will be able to buy during this pre-sale. I have to hope that Ticketmaster will have their act together.

Thirdly, back to those refunds and tomorrow’s pre-sale. What if you really can’t afford to buy these tickets until those are refunded? The good news here is that the pre-sale goes on until February 12 and the public sale doesn’t begin until the following day. Assuming that whatever password information isn’t distributed (and I really hope it is not), one should still be able to purchase good seats.

Lastly, I can’t help but wonder about the people who were lucky enough to pull front row to the original venue. Can you imagine how that must feel? You had these awesome front row seats, but because of things completely out of the hands of the band – now you’ve got to try again. Will you be so lucky a second time?  Ugh. That’s a terrible feeling. On the other hand, if you wanted better seats and couldn’t get anything closer than 32nd row – here’s your shot.

Duran Duran absolutely did the right thing by changing venues. No one wants to be embroiled in a legal battle – the band doesn’t have time for it, and the press would not have been favorable. If they’re going to be on the front pages, I am pretty sure they’d prefer it to be about their music and not a silly legal battle that has very little to do with Duran Duran, and everything to do with people of extreme wealth, power, and privilege.  That said, I do feel for the fans who are inconvenienced, because this could happen to any of us. When you’re the one holding the ticket that has been canceled, changed, or rescheduled, it really does suck and feels like an unnecessary hassle or shakedown.  All for the love of this band!!

I hope it works out well for everyone involved – best of luck for tomorrow’s pre-sale!

-R

 

Paper Gods and Chart Success

I don’t pay a lot of attention to chart success, but occasionally something will grab my interest. This past week there were two things! First off, I couldn’t help but notice that David Bowie’s album Blackstar went to #1. I can’t imagine I’m the only one out there struck by the thought that this is his first #1 album ever.  Really?!?  (yes, really!) Secondly, I saw that Paper Gods re-entered Billboard at #45. The year 2016 seems as though it might be full of surprises…

It wasn’t the fact that Blackstar hit number one that surprised me. In many ways, I anticipated as much, and truthfully I think it would have disappointed me had it not charted that way.  No, what really surprises me is that this is his very first #1. I just don’t get it.  I’ve seen all of the love, the devotion, the sadness, the pure emotion…and yet there’s not been a number one hit for Bowie until this album. I guess that really just goes to show how incredibly screwed up the charts and sales can be. I am sure that I could invest many hours of time looking over the past charts, finding out what albums/singles did hit number one during the same periods of time that David Bowie had albums release….but I won’t.  I think we all understand, or we all should understand by now, that artistic merit doesn’t always equal commercial success…in fact it is rare when it does. On one hand, I’m thrilled to see Blackstar making its way into the playlists of so many (including my own), and on the other, there’s a niggling bit of sadness that it took so long and came so late. One might wonder if there would have been the same outcome had it not been for Bowie’s death two days after the album’s release. Another might say that we can’t think that way, because we will never really know. Truthfully, both thoughts run circles in my head today.  I suspect the real journey of Blackstar is only beginning, regardless of how that interest was originally fueled.

Then there’s Paper Gods and it’s chart success. Honestly. Sometimes, I just have to sit back and watch in wonder when it comes to this band. It’s no wonder I am rarely bored when it comes to Duran Duran. When this album first came out, I realized it would chart well, at least initially because of streaming and the sheer force of promotion. Katy’s hard work did not go unrecognized, and the album  was #10. It was a thrilling, welcome moment for the band, whether we fans want to admit that or not. When the album exited the top of the charts just as quickly, I tried not to notice or pay attention.

I know many fans will say chart success doesn’t matter, that they don’t care – they just love Duran Duran and the rest doesn’t matter. I get that. Fans are lucky in that respect. We can like what we like and not worry about the commercial aspect. I don’t personally believe it’s something that the band can or should try for when writing, but we’re all kidding ourselves if we think it doesn’t matter at least in some aspect. Sales matter. Money matters. The album needs to be able to pay for itself, otherwise we’ve all got problems. Let’s be honest: Duran Duran would like to know the album is getting out there to the people. I don’t pretend to know all the ins and outs of the music industry, but I do understand the basics. Gotta sell the music, whether by albums, by ticket sales, or something else… to make it all work. I don’t think Duran Duran sees the whole “music thing” as a hobby, and so there’s not much point in doing all of it for free. Hence…charts matter, at least to a limited extent to the band and their management. Let’s all take a moment to be thankful they don’t have to matter to the music lovers out there….

I don’t really know how “The Powers That Be” see the success of Paper Gods, at least not yet. I’d quietly wondered if they’d written it off when it left the charts, not knowing what they were planning next (keep reading). I knew we’d never really see (at least not until much later) if there was any disappointment, because it’s obviously not to the benefit of the band to mention worry when it exited the charts so quickly. In protection and promotion of the band, staying positive is key. Paper Gods hit #10. A Duran Duran album was in the top 10 for the first time in twenty years. Those are not bad notes to hang one’s fedora on, some thirty years into a career, and we cheer those things on. Even so, I had to wonder what the band  was feeling. Does it ever get a bit irritating to know you’ve worked your ass off, put out what you feel to be some of your best work ever, and have it drop off the radar so fast? Is that the way it happens with most bands? I don’t pay enough attention to really know….and we can’t all be Adele all of the time, can we? Nick has mentioned a few times that there’s just so much out there, it’s difficult to get the music heard. He’s right. For all the good that the internet does, I know that even personally, I feel like it’s a constant flood of information. I miss things. I don’t hear every single bit of new music that’s out there, and talk about being overwhelmed? Oh yes. Very. How can they possibly get their music heard? Land-based radio sure as hell hasn’t helped, so what can be done?

Enter in ticket sales. Remember those Ticketmaster or Land Nation purchases we all just made (and probably have now seen on our credit card statements)?? Each ticket came with a copy of Paper Gods. Obviously someone in marketing is fully committed to the success of Paper Gods. At the time, I wondered out loud to Amanda if those albums would in fact count towards album sales. To be completely fair, I am still not entirely sure…but from the reading I’ve done, it appears that yes, they would. I think. The “rules” seem sketchy at best, and they seem to vary based on chart. That said, the proof seems to be in the pudding, and Paper Gods re-entered the charts last week at #45…12,000+ units having been sold.  Was it the upcoming tour that really provoked the sudden buying spree, or was it that the tickets each came bundled with their own copy of the album that are counting towards those chart sales, and… is it artificially inflating the chart position if in fact that is how those CD’s that came bundled with the tickets are being counted?  Does it matter?

For what my own opinion may be worth, I think any time Duran Duran is able to get themselves onto the charts, it is ultimately good.  I have no issue with “artificially” inflating the charts because the bottom line is that if a copy of the album was purchased – then it was purchased, whether with a concert ticket or without; whether due to an upcoming tour or not.  The method makes little difference. After all, what is really the difference between buying an album with a concert ticket as a bundle or going up to the merchandise booth after a show, or going to iTunes, and buying a copy?  All DD has really done is speed up that buying process, and given someone the opportunity to listen. Truthfully, this is indeed the playing field the band has been set on in the year 2015 and 2016 – they have got to get their album heard by as many people as possible. Never mind that I personally have approximately seven extra copies of this album that I really do not need. The idea, of course, is visibility. The band cannot possibly hope to get the album noticed unless they do something to force that exposure. Putting the album in the hands of people who cared enough to buy a tour ticket but maybe didn’t care enough about the new music to make the purchase seems reasonable. Will it convince a casual fan to put the CD in their music player and tell others?  Those chapters have yet to be written in the tale of the Paper Gods, but I look forward to seeing where it all goes.

-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

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