Age, getting old

The Evolution of Scoring Concert Tickets

The scene:
Boston apartment, 1999
, 2 minutes until Dave Matthews Band Tickets for Foxboro Stadium go on sale

Four women are armed with phones, ready for the clock strike to 10am.

“I’ve got Boston!” one yells.

“I’m calling New Hampshire!” says another.

“I have Rhode Island covered!”

“I’ll be Massachusetts back up!”


We all spring into action.

I’m on my cell phone – not a smart phone, mind you, just a plain old cell phone that could only make calls – dialing Ticketmaster in Massachusetts. Busy, busy, busy.

One of my roommates is on the land line, clicking ON, then redial, the OFF, then ON again. Repeat. New Hampshire is busy tone after busy tone.

Two more roommates – both on cell phones – calling Rhode Island and Massachusetts, both striking out.

And then…”It’s ringing!” We all hold our breath and gather around the phone.

Then, finally, a human: “Ticketmaster.” We all squeal with joy and look at the printed seating chart. Honestly, we’d take what we could get. “How many tickets?”

And so began the back and forth of sections and what was available.

And this, my millennium friends, is how we used to get concert tickets.

Fast forward to 2022
Taylor Swift concert tickets go on sale

I am probably the only female on the planet who was not trying to get Taylor Swift tickets yesterday – and then, again – today (slight exaggeration, but not by much). I have many coworkers who were waiting in virtual queues who told me, “If I hang up quickly it’s because I got in!” (Nobody hung up quickly).

“There are 6,000 people ahead of me in line!” and “I have been waiting on the computer for hours!”

And this, my friends, is unfathomable to me. I love a good concert as much as the next person, but the lengths people are going, and the insanity that is ensuing, is too much for me.

When Taylor Swift announced her tour, there was a fleeting moment when I thought, “I bet she’d be such a great concert to see.” And then I saw the rules on how to get tickets and I’m all like, “Yeah…nope.”

There is no one – not one musical artist, living or dead – that I would stay online for 10+ hours to get tickets to. Not to mention the COST of the tickets…that is just not something I could spend that much money on. I’d rather go on vacation!

Today’s news shared the absurd cost of tickets on resale sites such as Stubhub, here tickets are priced over $30,000.

Let me say that again: $30,000. For a concert ticket.

The worst part is, with how hard it is to get tickets and how expensive those tickets are, there are a lot of very sad girls out in the world.

The “old days” of getting concert tickets seems ridiculous now (can you imagine working at Ticketmaster and having to work the day super popular tickets went on sale? And you manually answered the phone? And had to talk to people about which tickets they wanted? that sounds like a HORRIBLE job!). But there was something about the thrill of the chase – all of us on different phones, manually dialing phone numbers in multiple states. There was no pre-sale or special clubs. Everyone was on equal footing, and it all came down to how fast your fingers worked with the dialing of a phone. And even when you got through and stopped hearing that annoying busy tone in your ear, you were put in a queue to wait for an operator.

Yes, you read that correctly. Wait. for. an. operator.

A real live person would tell you what tickets/sections/rows/seats were available.

And then our tickets would come to us in the mail!

We worked so hard as a team to get concert tickets that when we finally “got through” and spoke with someone, we were ecstatic!

Ah, the good old days!

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