For a variety of reasons, I usually do not procure my own tickets to local concert events. And after a recent journey into the world of ticket procurement, I now know why I never do. I decided a few months ago to try buying tickets on my own and see what it involved.
This experience was an eye-opener for certain and made me question the ethics and motives of concert ticket purveyors and the bands themselves.
My first few attempts at purchasing tickets were somewhat easy in that I went online to get advance sales ticket to see Rod Stewart at the Hollywood Bowl in June. Ticketmaster said that the tickets would arrive in 7 to 10 business days. I paid more than I would have if I had gone to the Hollywood Bowl myself and gotten them. Once you purchase a ticket online there are fees to be paid in addition to the actual price of the ticket.
Eagerly, I awaited the arrival of my tickets for a few weeks and not a word from them so I had an online chat with a person. It turns out that the tickets were returned because of no apartment number. I’m not sure who dropped the ball on that one, but they could have at least sent me an e-mail or called me (as they do ask for your phone number) and let me know that the tickets had been returned for and the reason. I eventually did receive my ticket.
As I wrote in my prior column, The Yardbirds are slated to play at The Fonda Theater in Hollywood on June 7, 2018. Because of my experience with Ticketmaster, I physically went to the venue to purchase my ticket to see them. The price was $40, which is reasonable and I gladly paid it. The box office guy wasn’t there and I spotted an open door into the theatre and walked in yelling “Hello, anyone here?”
After a bit, a young man came out and introduced himself as Chad Peterson from Goldenvoice who manages the El Rey Theater. We had a lovely chat about The Yardbirds and my having seen them as they were morphing into Led Zeppelin at the Avalon on Catalina Island. Crazy times I remember, but not much else. Peterson was also very curious about Miyavi playing at the El Rey Theater and I told him what I knew. Great guitarist who slaps the guitar instead of strumming it, but not the greatest guitar player ever.
I figured that since I had Peterson there I would ask about photographing the acts and what was OK. Peterson said that cameras without detachable lenses were acceptable, and recording the act is not allowed unless there is a written permission slip supplied. Glad that I’de been talking to The Yardbirds’ drummer Jim McCarty on Facebook and he said yes in a post. Of course, I printed that conversation because I do plan on filming at least a part of it and putting it on my YouTube channel.
McCarty has a lot on his plate these days as he recently releases a new solo CD titled “Walking in The Wildland” and he also released a new book titled “Nobody Told Me,” which is about his days with The Yardbirds and other stories.
The next tickets up were the Arctic Monkeys gig at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery which is slated for May 5, 2018. This is where it gets interesting and I began to question my fandom of this incredible band. This event’s tickets were only going to be purchased online from Ticketfly for $59.50 for a general admission ticket. I hovered about their link for the tickets and when it was time hit purchase tickets I did. I was informed that I was going to have to wait my turn in line before going to the link where I could buy tickets. A half hour later I was in, but the tickets were sold out. Just like that…SOLD OUT! I was livid and didn’t mind sharing my feelings on their fan sites as well as their Facebook page.
I contacted Jay Boileau, the event coordinator at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and told him how I felt and he expressed his regrets and added that “There were 40,000 fans trying to buy 3,000 tickets.” As I began searching the internet to see what they were going for on the scalper market my blood pressure went up and steam began blowing out of my ears. The tickets had gone up to the hundreds of dollars from $59.50 in a matter of minutes. I called Boileau back and asked him about their policy on scalped tickets which is: your name on the ticket must match your ID. Boileau was adamant about the policy being implemented. “If the info does not match up then you will not be admitted” was Boileau’s answer. He asked me if I had the names of verified purchasers of scalped tickets on StubHub. “No, I did not all I can do is send the link to the prices at StubHub” was my answer.
As recently as April 18, 2018, the tickets at scalping venues were still available, but the prices had gone up. At Viagogo, the tickets were selling from $1,213 to $2,239 and at StubHub, they were listed for $850. In my conversations with Boileau, he had told me that Hollywood Forever Cemetery had written to StubHub and had asked them to stop selling their tickets, but never heard back from them.
There are two things that bother me about this situation: 1. For those that do buy the scalped tickets, it is going to be a waste of money as they will be turned away from the concert and they will be out the money that they paid to see the Arctic Monkeys. 2. Why didn’t the Arctic Monkeys book a second or third show at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery or at another venue? They added shows for other concerts, but not in Los Angeles, CA.
Next up was purchasing tickets for an up and coming very young band called Greta Van Fleet. This band has picked up quite a momentum on Facebook and their music isn’t just being listened to by the younger generation, they are getting lots of play and video posting by Baby Boomers that are also into Led Zeppelin. Neither band likes the comparison and Greta Van Fleet has made it clear that they want to be known for themselves and their music and not compared to other acts that have come before them. Suffice it to say that this fledgeling band is in the same music genre as Led Zeppelin and are definitely worth a look-see and hear. You can be the judge as to whom inspired this talented group of musicians.
I tried to purchase tickets to see Greta Van Fleet through the link at the Ford Theater’s webpage and it took me to the axs.com site that posted all the tickets are SOLD OUT. The band had started out with one date, but had added a second. The second show was cancelled due to illness and rescheduled to June 24, 2018. This news gave me an ah-ha moment and I said to myself, I think that I’ll go onto the internet and see what’s now available. I found one for $109.36 so I purchased it. By the time StubHub added their fee of $25.42 it was $134.78. AXS had the original starting GA ticket price at $39.50.
Is Greta Van Fleet worth the money? I don’t know what they sound like live so I’ll have to tell you about it in a review. These kids have been performing around the world and I think that they just might have paid their dues. For those of you that do not know about The Ford Theater, it used to be The Pilgrimage Theater where I used to go to see ballet performances. It’s across the freeway from the Hollywood Bowl.
Lastly, I had a friend get me a $15.00 ticket to see FYKE at 1720 which is a Warehouse District music venue.
It gave me the willies to be in this neighborhood as there were homeless encampments everywhere. It is one of those general admission places where you stand for the show.
FYKE is a bit Linkin Park-ish and frontman Enik Lin describes their music as “Alternative Rock.”
Lin stressed that FYKE wants to transcend negative messages and strive for a more positive message with good vibes. The band’s goal to help heal with their positive messages. FYKE put on a great show and I found myself dancing around in my little space near the stage. FYKE is signed to Universal Music Group International and were debuting their single “Nightmares” and is the tune they opened up their show with. “Insecure,” “Vices,” “Favorite,” “Awake,” “Sleepers” and “Closer” were also on the set list. Thank you Steven Delman, guitar, for giving the set list to me. I ultimately gifted the set list to a young woman by the name of Yasmin Awale who came all the way from Minneapolis, Minnesota to see this great band perform. Awale was able to get all of FYKE’s autographs on the set list and she is in a photo with Enik Lin of FYKE. FYKE is set to play a gig on June 16, 2018 at KTOWN Night Market. Located at 701 S. Catalina Street, the Night Market runs 4 pm to 11 pm.
As someone that has booked a nightclub in the past, the opening act is usually an iffy proposition, but DOSE blew that to smithereens with a standout performance that knocked me out. The band was celebrating the return of a former band member.
The headlining act was ASSUMING WE SURVIVE which really remind me of a tank of music in that their music ran me down and kept me moving during their whole set. It was band member Joe Lawson’s last night as he feels that he wants to be more present as a parent to his 2 children and a 3rd on the way. Lawson is indefinitely absent from the band and has been replaced in time for their summer Warped Tour ’18. Guitarist Johnny Silva was very friendly and talked to me a bit about their tour and Lawson. Polished, slick, friendly and with a great fan base, ASSUMING WE SURVIVE is a band to keep an eye on.