Whew. What. A. Morning.
It was Duran Duran presale day today, and there is just nothing that says “Monday” more than a Ticketmaster 10am queue.
Have I mentioned my overall dislike for presales?
Here’s the thing: I did okay. Tickets were secured for the shows we wanted to see, and I’m thrilled to be able to say that Red Rocks is on the list. That is my last “bucket list” US venue for this band, and I can’t wait to be there in person to experience the magic.
Let me ramble on about the process a bit. First of all, teamwork makes the dream work, right? For this tour, I teamed up with my friend Suzie. We split up the shows, chatted and fretted on the phone while trying to buy, and in all honesty, it worked for us. She’s at work, and I’m here…blogging. Again!
I was nervous, as everyone seems to be these days. All of the presale nightmares shared on social media worked its magic, scaring the bejeezus out of me beforehand. I kept telling myself to just be patient and not panic buy something that I really didn’t want.
The first order of business today was to score Red Rocks. There were two shows, so Suzie took one and I took the other. She texted me about ten minutes to “GO” time, as I was blow drying my hair (as one does before they have to be on the computer, right??), she let me know she was in the waiting room. This worried me because I, on the other hand, was not. I ran to the laptop, got AXS up and saw that while there was indeed a waiting room, we weren’t trying for regular tickets. We wanted VIP, and for that, you just had to keep hitting refresh as the clock wound down to 9am (my time). I alerted her and went back to waiting. As the clock hit 9, I clicked “buy now” and we were off to the races. We’d already discussed a strategy, so I knew to just go for what I wanted, which was third row. Amazingly enough, two popped up and into the cart they went.
I didn’t look at ANYTHING until I was finished. That’s when I saw I’d paid $685 each for the pleasure of seeing my favorite band in the venue of all venues. (out the door, taxes, fees, body parts, etc.) Funny aside: I hadn’t even really mentioned the tour to my husband, who is The Controller of our household. It didn’t take him very long to open the door and come check on why his credit card was showing charges already this morning. Well, now he knows there’s a tour!
Suzie was very successful with her purchase as well, scoring two more third row seats for Red Rocks. First set of shows down! Two more to go at 10am. We made our way to the Ticketmaster site, chatted about seats for San Jose and Vegas, discussing the fact that we really don’t like flat floor sections for seats unless we’re in the front. Too much of a chance of someone taller being in front, otherwise. At about ten minutes to ten, we were able to get into the waiting room for that show.
The waiting room
I think that overall, the waiting area is weird and annoying. You have essentially no control (I must have an issue with that…), and it’s up to the site as to what happens when the sale goes live. I mean, in the past it was up to you and your finger speed – hit click fast enough, and you were in, buying those front row tickets. This time, you get in the waiting room with no idea of how many are in there with you, then the sale opens and you’re put into a queue. At that point, Ticketmaster gleefully shares that you’re waiting with another 450,000 people. That’s when your heart sort of sinks because you know that if everyone ahead of you buys a ticket – assuming they all want seats near the front – you’re screwed.
I will say that the queue moves quickly, and before I knew it, I was staring at the available tickets. I don’t remember if I put the password in before or after all this, but I know I did it MANY TIMES over the course of the morning. Regardless, it took me a second to get my bearings, but I clicked on “VIP” tickets and was able to see what was left.
It is very, very, hard not to lose your mind while doing the presales. It is so easy to work yourself into a tizzy when crappy seats come up and then you click on them only to find out that no, they’re not available anymore. Or, even better, when really good seats show, you are able to put them in your cart and get all the way through to putting in your payment, but then Ticketmaster claims the card doesn’t work. That happened to me with a particular great set of seats for Vegas. I knew the credit card I was using shouldn’t cause any problem at all. Even so, as I panicked, I tried another. And another, and finally the cart kicked me out, and of course by then the seats were gone. I was so mad, but there wasn’t anything that could be done.
Breathe, and try again
After that happened, I began theorizing how it all works. In my head, it doesn’t seem right that even while you’re checking out, those tickets are still available for someone else to grab. If someone else is faster, they can get them. Seems to me that once the tickets are in your cart, those should stay there for at least ten minutes while you’re finalizing the purchase. Is it some bot or scalper that has a program or script running that is able to take what they want? I have no idea. In the end, it doesn’t matter anyway. The tickets are gone, and I know it happens to all of us from time to time.
For a while, neither of us were pulling up any seats. Suzie worked on San Jose, I worked on Vegas. We were struggling to find anything that made sense. I was fretting, but I’d already told myself that if I didn’t get tickets, I wouldn’t be mad. I’d already had great luck with Red Rocks, and I would still go to Vegas to see my friends anyway.
Eventually, Suzie found 3rd row in San Jose and we grabbed them. Then I found some that were a lot farther back on the floor. It was at that moment when Suzie reminded me of her experience buying for the Halloween weekend shows, and how panic buying really hurt her in the end. It was hard to do, but I threw the seats back, opting to keep trying for something better.
That is when I knew it was time to breathe. Sinking back into my seat, I took a deep breath, telling myself that while it wasn’t looking good, the best thing I can do was be patient. Resist the urge to just buy something to be in the venue. Within minutes, Suzie had bought some third row. YES!
One of the hardest truths about being a fan and presales, along with all of that…STUFF…is that most of us want to be close, or as close as we can afford. The number of fans wanting to purchase far exceeds the amount of first, second and even third row seats that are available. The initial scramble for tickets is intense, but it does die down if you’ve got nerves of steel willing to sit it out. This time, we did.
Once the insanity died down and the adrenaline mellowed out, I checked Twitter. I was hoping to see how others did. In all fairness, even though presales are always stressful and there are always problems for at least a few people – this one seemed to have gone much smoother than any other from the recent, post-Covid memory.
Yes! Ticket prices are high, particularly those that are close to the stage. They just are, and it isn’t only Duran Duran. There are absolutely cheaper seats available, and as far as that goes – there are bands in existence that don’t charge anything near what up front Duran Duran tickets go for. On the same token, there are bands that are much, much, more expensive to see live. I can’t tell you what is reasonable to pay for a ticket, and I don’t know the budget(s) of every Duran fan. I only know what I felt comfortable buying, and how I felt about the prices in general…and how my husband felt about the ticket prices. <insert grin here> Not everyone needs or wants to be up front. There are tickets for less than $50 available on this tour at some venues.
Yes! Service fees suck!! The service fees for our Red Rocks show were over $200. That’s outrageous, and yet, what choice do you have? It is either pay and go to the gig, or don’t pay and stay home. AXS, Ticketmaster, and every other ticketing agency in the world knows this, and we’re paying the price.
Yes! Presales are maddening! There is no question of the manipulation that goes on within each of our heads while we’re trying to buy tickets. Panic buying that 23rd row seat because it was all you could find in the first few minutes of the presale happens all the time. I know people who have bought and sold many pairs of tickets in order to keep hopscotching their way closer to the stage. This time though, these seats cannot be resold (at least through official methods and secondary marketplaces). Whether that helps to tone down the folks who keep trying to upgrade themselves to front row as time goes on is hard to know – but it might.
This is a band most of us have loved since we were very young. Some of us are still trying to make up for lost time, while others of us are simply trying to enjoy them before they hang it up for good. Still others just want to hear them play “Rio” or “Hungry Like the Wolf” and relive their childhood. Those feelings mixed with the desire for good seats along with really needing and wanting to be as close to the stage as possible adds up to being willing to spend almost $1,000 on a single front row ticket for those who are able…and crazily enough, there are more people willing to spend that much than there are seats available. Imagine that!
Don’t share the password, or you’re out!
I am one of those people who is fairly comfortable complaining directly to DDHQ when needed, and I absolutely have in the past. Anyone who says otherwise should probably go read through my twitter, and that of Daily Duranie during past tours. I don’t know if they read the comments, and I don’t know how what those people go through in order to make presales happen, but I will say that this time – they handled their end of it much better than in any time I can remember. The communication was timely, the length of time between the announcement of dates and the presale was more than reasonable, we were told how much the VIP packages would be, what they would include, and even were given tips on how to make the day proceed smoother. Aside from telling us exactly how much tickets would be for each venue, I don’t know what else they could have done (and I don’t even know if they can tell us ticket prices since they’re not the ones who set them).
Additionally, and more importantly than all of the above – I felt like I actually mattered. I wasn’t just a dollar sign with legs (I am so fond of saying that). Just this morning, I was chatting with a friend who had mentioned that some foolish fan thought it would be okay to share the password – on twitter. Antics like that make me want to strangle people. Why do that? What on earth are you accomplishing by being unfair to the thousands of us who are trying for tickets, and paid for the opportunity to buy tickets at a presale? This friend of mine dutifully wrote DDHQ an email, and to my surprise, someone from DDHQ actually responded. They reassured my friend that doing such things will get that person banned from this and future presales (GOOD), their membership will be revoked (BETTER), and the ticket sales are vetted in almost real time – they check the email to see if it is in the DDM database and if it is not, the purchase is invalidated (most of the time) and the tickets are put back into the allocation.
This was all news to me. I had no idea that DDM would go so far as to ensure that it was indeed fans doing the buying, and that they were fans who had paid for their membership. In the past, I’ve seen the passwords for presales flying around social media as if it was no big deal, and it always bothered me. It just isn’t fair to those of us who pay for the opportunity to purchase tickets during presales. I appreciate knowing that they’re doing their best to help fans out,, and I appreciate that. Even if the system isn’t perfect, I’m happy to see that DDHQ cares enough to at least try. I’ve been a fan for many years, and a part of DDM since its existence (with some reasonable downtime during tours). I’m grateful to see we matter.
Onward and upward!