The long and ongoing tragedy of trying to obtain tickets to Experience + Innocence 2018 has entered its second week. I wish I could say there was hope that with addition of shows there would be another chance to get tickets. But Ticketmaster is employing the very same method of tickets sales as before. The idea that this was supposed to “put tickets into the hands of fans and not scalpers or bots” seems to have failed. A quick check of StubHub’s website shows hundreds of tickets available. Granted, there might be some legit fans that are selling tickets, I don’t believe the Verified Subscriber/Verified Fan process has worked as intended.
The idea was that subscribers of the band’s Official Fan Club—a paid membership—would be the first to get tickets. A paid membership allowed one to buy tickets before they went on sale to the general public. I know I’m not in the minority when I say this the primary reason why fans join. Membership has its privileges and this is the best one. Yes, the annual gifts are great. As a fan, I love getting memorabilia (rare CDs, books, Super Deluxe versions of CD/DVDs/etc.) but I joined for the tickets. I wanna go to the show.
I’ve spent a great deal of time in the forums on the band’s official site and the anger among those that didn’t get tickets runs deep. The fans/subscribers did exactly as U2.com and Ticketmaster recommended (as described in my previous post) with the hopes getting in on the presale. And yes, there were those that got in and tickets. But there were many of us that did not and had little recourse other than call/email TM, call U2.com and/or air our grievances in the forums. I didn’t get a presale code and there was literally nothing I could do; except what I just mentioned. I did everything I could and came up empty.
My experience with U2 fans—for 30 years now—is that we are all decent people. There might be some that fall outside that description, but I don’t know of any. Over the years, the camaraderie had with total strangers, other than they were fans, has been great. I’ve also been touched by the little things that was done for me, like hold my place in line while I or my party went to the bathroom, grabbed some food, or took our pictures. All of those things I happily reciprocated. There was always this “We all here together” attitude that I loved. Then there were the things that surprised, like fans selling their extra ticket for face value. The first time I saw that I was during Elevation ‘01. Wow.
So, it is with great frustration knowing that I have done all the things expected of me and still not get tickets. Yes, I understand that there is always this Oklahoma Land Rush race to get tickets. But I have always been in the race. This time I wasn’t. No presale code means no race.
I’ve read many fans exasperation, confusion or sheer anger at this new system. Some have said that the days of going to a U2 show is over. I don’t believe this is hyperbole. It’s not just the rising cost of tickets/memorabilia/etc., which is understandable. It’s the $50 parking, $9 beers and $11 hot dogs. It’s the ubiquity of smartphones and social media during the show. To now be locked out of buying tickets—and one did everything one was supposed to do—might be the bridge too far. One can only march for so long. While I’m still in the fight, I’m not the young guy I once was. I make more money now, but I’m definitely not rich. In the end, I may have to go over to the dark side (i.e. StubHub) but maybe not. The culmination of all that I have described, plus the element of disappointment, might be enough for me to stand down and let someone else carry on.
It’s not over yet, so hope remains despite the current travails.