#649: Ticketmasterblaster

June 20th, 2016

“We are currently experiencing difficulties. Please check back again at a later time,” the message said, presumably because an “Our servers literally cannot handle the sheer number of people we screwed over” would make a rather embarrassing error message.

I, like many, am spending the morning hitting refresh on Ticketmaster.

Refresh. Refresh. Oops, got timed out re-enter my password. Refresh.

That’s because Ticketmaster, the corporate scalper whose stock in trade is service fees, is giving me my 20s back.

Refresh. Refresh. Oops, got timed out re-enter my password. Refresh.

After losing a $400 million class action suit for price gouging, Ticketmaster is paying the class in vouchers for free shows. I’m in the class, as is anyone who bought tickets on Ticketmaster’s website in the 14-year gouge-fest period.

The starting date for show purchases is Oct. 21, 1999, a month and a half after I turned 20. I was living in Missouri with bright green spiky hair and a vague notion that something new, wild and amazing was to happen.

The end date is Feb. 27, 2013, a day that, according to old emails, I was forwarded an update on the status of my new employee ID badge. In a separate thread later that day, I wrote the sentence “So bored” five times in a row.

I really do love my 30s and actually sort of hated my 20s. You have all the world’s pressures, none of the experience to help lift them.

And you kept getting dragged to shows.

Music is full of horrible people who will make you watch 20 minutes of YouTube videos of the “right” musician if you dare to mention you like the “wrong.” It’s full of scenesters there for their One Week Reunion of the hip and uncaring, there more for the fashion and in-crowd gossip than the songs.

Then you take those toppers and scenesters and people who namedrop styles that sound like darts were thrown at a dictionary (I recently found out “shoegaze” is a thing), put them in a room so hot everyone sweats into their overpriced half-water drinks while standing waaaaay to close to me and call it a concert.

Live music is quantifiably annoying, uncomfortable, smelly and, thanks to Ticketmaster, it drained too much of my limited 20s coffers to see bands I either give a chuckle, “eww” or “Oh wow I totally forgot they existed” today.

So why am I so excited to see what treats Ticketmaster will dole out for me?

Why do I keep hitting “refresh,” along with so many other people that “We are currently experiencing difficulties. Please check back again at a later time.” has become the mantra of the morning?

Why do I want to hear live music when I hate live music?

I guess it’s because I love live music. There’s an energy, an electricity from being in the same room as someone playing the sounds you love.

Yes, there are loud dollops of note snob and a cackling bevy of college kids in Misfits shirts with the price tag still on, but each show I’ve been to in my teens, 30s and the 20s Ticketmaster is paying me back for has had at least one moment where, for better or worse, it felt like I was alone in the room with the artists, and they were singing solely to me.

I’ll still hate the sweat-crowds and the prices and the godawful concert smell of $9 Bud Light spilled on a white guy too stoned to do anything but sway and giggle, but I will take my tickets now, Ticketmaster. I’ll line up all over to do it again.

Refresh.

Read another story of music (Dixieland from the former Czechoslovakia)

And another (hip hop, rockabilly and boleros)

And another (my favorite polka band)

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