The day after I wrote this piece, the new Rolling Stone arrived in my mailbox explaining how scalpers have made buying tickets to huge concerts like U2 and McCartney nearly impossible. It explains how McCartney could sell out in 14 minutes. It doesn’t explain peoples’ bad taste in music. By the way, there are eight main floor McCartney tickets on E-bay now with a “starting bid” price of $3,500. What are you waiting for?
Column 23: Crouching Bono, Hidden User Fees
For most, the Qwest Center’s dream is still out of reach.What are you doing Dec. 15?I know what I won’t be doing. I didn’t get tickets to the U2 concert.I know what you’re thinking: Surely, a rock music lover such as myself — a critic no less — with the obvious means generated from money earned by slaving over deadlines at The Reader shoulda/woulda/coulda glommed onto a pair of highly coveted floor seats located only a few rows from where a glistening Bono and The Edge will be showering sweat onto adoring fans who will rub the golden liquid into their skins in hopes that it will somehow merge with their very essence — an unholy baptism into the church or rock and roll. Perhaps the fine folks at the Qwest Center, acknowledging my obvious importance as a local music scribe, slipped me a pair of laminated backstage passes so I could really “get to know” the band and share my eye-opening life-changing experiences with you, the reader.But no. No tickets to the concert do I have. The day they were offered via a lottery system at the Qwest box office and online via Ticketbastard I was busy doing other things. It dawned on me later that morning that tickets had gone on sale only a couple hours earlier, but I knew it was too late, that the damn thing was going to sell out in minutes, which it did.And you know what, I didn’t care. It’s not that I’m not a U2 fan. I practically wore the groove flat on my copy of Under a Blood Red Sky back in the ’80s, back when U2 was still the angry young men from Ireland with ‘a message.” I stuck with them through their mainstream high-water mark of The Joshua Tree all the way through their inevitable mainstream downfall with ’97’s Pop.Then I forgot about them, even though they came back with a vengeance with ’00’s All That You Can Leave Behind. By then, U2’s music had become television commercial fodder, the perfect vehicle for selling product across X and Y generations. That idea would reach a zenith last year when their single, “Vertigo,” became better known as “that song from the Apple commercial.”The irony is that just about everyone I know who’s involved in the local music scene isn’t going, either. They couldn’t afford it or weren’t “lucky” enough to snag a pair or simply weren’t interested.Meanwhile, folks who haven’t been to a rock concert in years, who turned off music long ago for talk radio, whose only reference to Bright Eyes comes from “The Planet of the Apes,” were crowing with great hubris over their good fortune. Their tales of ticket acquisition were burnished with pride — how they waited in line for hours to land a lucky lottery number. How they concocted an arcane system involving five different networked computers laser-pointed at ticketmaster.com. How they knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who got them front-row balcony seats at face value. Oh yeah, they were going to U2 all right.And it’s not too late for you, too. E-bay’s got a set of four center stage seats available right now for a buy-now price of only $1,999. Go get ’em, tiger.Just as that U2 dust settled, along comes the next “big show” — Paul McCartney, arguably the least talented and certainly least interesting of the Fab Four, will be dragging his badly dyed hair to the Qwest Center Oct. 30. Tickets went on sale Monday, and reportedly sold out in 14 minutes. Something tells me the lucky ticket holders will be the same people who will be watching Bono do his Vegas schtick this winter.
So two years after its completion, the dream of the Qwest Center has become a reality, at least for those wealthy enough — or lucky enough — to get tickets. For the rest of us, well, there’s always Sokol Underground. And to be honest with you, I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be on Dec. 15.
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