Something Smells Phishy

Last week I was having one of those Frank “The Tank” Ricard moments…we had a nice little saturday planned. Home Depot, Sears. Phish tickets? I don’t know! I don’t know if we’ll have enough time! I had it in the back of my mind that I would have to hit the box office based on the near impossiblity of getting through by phone or online. But we needed to get some drapes for the new bedroom and look at new washers. Suddenly, I had a moment of clarity. I could drop the wife and kids off at nearby Ikea and I could go stand in line for the tickets. My earlier indecision almost ruined it though, because by the time I hauled the family in the car and started out, the gps was telling me the arrival time to Ikea was 9:52 and tickets would go on sale at 10:00. There was no way I was going to make it in time so we agreed that I would be dropped off first. We pull up to the Comcast Center, formerly Great Woods (back in the day before corporate America took over), about 9:56 and I get in the back of a line of about 300 plus. It was a pretty good scene considering the temps were in the 20’s. There was a buzz in the air about the band getting back together and people were sharing stories of past shows. Apparently those with their shit together that arrived at or before 9:00 got a some kind of raffle or lottery ticket, that seemed to ensure them that they would get real tickets. I was behind these folks, so the situation was dicey. Every second or so you would hear, “Buy tickets” as people were trying to get through on cell phones and being prompted by Live Nation’s voice activated system. As time dragged on and the line didn’t seem to move, I was starting to lose hope because I’m thinking that this thing is going to sell out in minutes. But then rumors start in the crowd about a certain allotment of tickets at the box office that the phone and online system can’t touch. Someone says about 2,000 are at the box office. That would only make sense, those who came down and waited in the cold weather would be rewarded. I guess we’ll see. Then suddenly the girl in front of me gets through on the phone. Then a couple more people. Then a couple more. I’m thinking this is statistically impossible based the number of times I’ve tried and failed in the past to get through by phone. The agents on the line say it is ok to pass the phone off to another person and process his or her order. Sweet! Phans start giving their info and then shortly after their look of elation turns to dejection. The computers are crashing and most people are just on hold for fear if they hang up they won’t get through again. Cell phone batteries are dying….hopes are dashed. One girl starts up some small talk with the agent while on hold. Apparently these Live Nation agents take calls from home and process orders on their own computers! They don’t even really know who they are working for, they just use this special access code to log in and secure the tickets. People around me are just in this state of limbo because only partial information has gone through and so they don’t know if the order will be successful. So this fiasco and the fact that my hand would be warmer if I just keep it in my pocket convinces me to give up on the phone. Supply is dwindling as one guy who phones in can only purchase one seat. Folks in line start bitching about Ticketmaster and it’s subsidiary TicketsNow, where you are directed by Ticketmaster after a show is sold out and somehow there a plethora of tickets at four times the cost. I take a stroll up to the front and there is only one window open and the line is crawling. I return to the line and a random guy gives me his lottery ticket because he got through on the phone. Again, sweet! Word reaches the back that the box office is having trouble getting through to Live Nation. I move up and try to find my new spot in line and am not having too much luck so I turn to the event staff. They might as well have replaced the “Event Staff” on the back of their jackets with “Masshole”. “583? That numbah went through the line long ago!” I ask another, ” 583? You ah behind nine twenty fouwah.” “Wha?” I reply. “Back neah the end of the line!” I’m beginning to realize how poorly organized this whole thing is…nothing makes sense. A few minutes later one of the massholes yells, “Sold out! We’re all sold out!” Phans are pissed. Some yell, “Fuck you! This is bullshit!” But most are just disappointed and leave. Probably about 100 or so were turned away, most of whom had a lottery ticket. I get on the phone and call the wife and kids to come pick me up. One by one people clear out…I seem to be the only one waiting for a ride. Eventually it’s just me and the event staff. I start my long trek to the gates looking back occasionally, hoping for a miracle or that Trey would suddenly appear from behind a tree and feel pity for me (maybe the cold was getting to my brain). The snow covered parking lots are like the frozen tundra they spread so far and then just trees beyond that. Quiet and desolate. I’m amazed at how fast the area cleared out and wondered why there weren’t more stragglers. About 20 minutes after the sell out a jeep pulls up along side me and I recognize the event staff guy who told me I was behind 924. He unbuttons his plastic window and tells me they may have found a couple more tickets back at the box office. I jump up and race back to the box office. Jackpot, I get 4 lawn seats! Two hours of waiting and freezing my ass off. The car pulls up quite late. Apparently the gps took them on some circuitous route and allowed enough time for me to be the last one standing. I must say I felt young again. My son rolls down his window, “Daddy, are you done fishing yet?”

  • M.Uila

    Forrest Gump wins again! Gotta love serendipity. Great story!

  • Madman

    Great story! This made my morning. Sorry to push it down the page with some much less enjoyable reading!

  • lookie lookie

    the only thing that was missing was a “these are not the droids you are looking for” moment…here, here!

  • Dick Vinegar

    Thank god pink is always late and lo cant use a gps!! WOOHOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Pinko

    Sorry Yankee fans….it’s the Curse of the Anastasio!

    I heard Yanni is touring though.