Is camping out for tickets a thing of the past?

There was a time when if you wanted to get decent concert tickets, you would typically camp out overnight at the outlet where the tickets were being sold. Thanks to the digital age, that all changed when ticket purchases were became available online. Still there are times when I'll see a certain contingent of folks lined up early in the morning for tickets. The last one I recall was a line over at Philips Arena for "musician" Kanye West. I'm not sure if Kanye's so-called fans got the memo that the show will not sell out, so you're wasting time and Kanye's wealthier fans already gobbled up all the decent seats in an online pre-sale. By the way, is there a nickname for Kanye fans? Just asking.

From the looks of the folks during the morning of the Kanye ticket sale, I doubt that they would have listened to me crushing their dreams of getting up close and personal with the performer. One "fan" was busy trying to aim his black and white battery-operated television's antenna in the proper direction to tune into FOX 5 Atlanta. I felt like sending a note to that portable TV owner: "Your D batteries will not make it for the box office opening. Just rest your head on that TV tray you most likely took from your uncle's garage and dream away for great tickets."

I'm sorry, but these Kanye fans were in some type of time-warp like say, over 30 years ago-about the time I sent my poor mother to buy me up some Billy Joel tickets. Even back then, she waited in line at the local Sears outlet  for hours only to get me and my friends nosebleed seats for a whopping $18 a head. Well, don't laugh, that is about $41 in today's dollars which will still get you miles away from the performer. The evening we saw Mr. Joel, he made his somewhat typical speech ribbing us for having rather, crummy seats. Joel actually used much harsher language that evening as he dragged on his cigarette while apologizing to those who were sitting behind him from the stage.  I discovered the next three times I saw Mr. Joel over the years, that he gives that same speech in every concert. It's nice that Billy cares about fans, but the speech wore out its welcome (for me at least) about 20 years ago.

Well, the last concert that  I saw Mr. Joel recite his crummy seat speech, it was finally up close-- over seven years ago when I finally got to see him from the eighth row. On that ticket purchase, I didn't have to, "fill out  forms," or "stand in line" (OK, cheaply borrowing lines from "Allentown"). I strolled up to Philips Arena's box office and asked for a seat hours before the show.  I got out of paying those extra ticket fees and did not pay a fortune. It was worth every second. Yes, lucky shot  back in 2007 that was not to be repeated when Mr. Joel returned just three years later with Elton John.  When I strolled up to the box office on that afternoon, the ticket agent just waved me away. You really cannot "win 'em all."

When it came to Kanye,  it's true that those fans skipped the junk fees by purchasing tickets at the venue, but the bottom line is, if they drove, they probably paid just as much for parking their vehicles and wasting gas trying to find a place to park. Perhaps a MARTA ride would have saved the Kanye fans some cash, but even if they did take the train, I doubt that any of them got decent seats. OK, maybe I'm a cynic. Maybe it is still essential to "camp out" for tickets and by being at the ticket outlet, you just might beat the online folks for better seats. I do hope that the guy with the portable seats did well and got up close to Kanye and had the time of his life. 


Most viewed

Condos. Cutting-edge restaurants. Trendy shopping.

Take time out for Virginia’s Shenandoah region

Flashback: Billy Joel's Sax Player (Mark Rivera profile-March 2007)