Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tickets, Please

Here is a list of artists I have not seen live:

Shawn Colvin
Toni Childs
Angelique Kidjo
Rosanne Cash
k.d. lang
Jann Arden
Cyndi Lauper
Joan Jett
Ozzy Osbourne
The New York Dolls

I could have seen them. I had tickets. I just didn't go.

This happens a lot, and not just for concerts. I have piles of unused tickets for operas, plays, and symphony performances. I even have unused airline tickets, the most recent being for a trip to New York I never took.

The ticket thing has become something of a joke amongst my friends, but I know they don't understand it. Well, most of them don't. A few sort of do, mostly because they do this themselves on occasion. But I don't think any of them do it with quite the same regularity that I do. In fact, I know they don't.

Here's the thing--when I buy the tickets I have every intention of going. The problem is, generally you have to get them so far ahead of time that you can't reasonably be expected to have the same level of enthusiasm for the whole thing when it actually comes time to leave the house. Going to a performance of La Traviata on a Sunday afternoon in June sounds enormously appealing when you buy the tickets in October. But when that Sunday in June rolls around, often it's not such a thrilling proposition.

For one thing (and I'm fully aware that this ridiculous, so don't bother telling me so), I resent having to be somewhere at a specific date and time. It's all well and good if Shawn Colvin wants to perform at the Warfield on March 18 at 8:00 PM, but that doesn't give her the right to dictate what I do that night. She's not the boss of me.

The real issue is that I know it will probably be more hassle than it's worth. The getting there. The parking. The $6 bottles of water. The crappy sound system. The unrecognizable versions of favorite songs the artist thinks will be a nice change of pace. The other people.

The other people are a big problem. They talk. They sing along. They take pictures with their cell phones and text everyone they know to let them know how absolutely amazing the show is. Also, the whole group experience thing freaks me out. Several thousand people dancing around or singing in unison is unnerving. I keep waiting for the flags to be carried out.

But I always think that I should like live music, and so I keep buying tickets. The last show I had tickets for but did not attend was Mika's stop in San Francisco in February of 2008. Now, I love Mika. I think he's interesting, and the clips of his live shows that I've seen online are great. Still, when February 12 rolled around, I thought about the subway, the $6 water, the crappy sound system, and the people, and I stayed home.

When Mika announced a stop in Oakland for his most recent tour, I immediately thought, "I should get tickets." Then I reminded myself about last year's no-show and that it would be even more difficult to get to Oakland than it would have been to simply go downtown. And I bought tickets anyway.

This time, I went. Patrick and I went with our friend Troy (that's us on the left). And it was easy to get there. And the theater was beautiful. And the water was only $3. The crowd was great, as was the sound system. Mika, despite having torn a tendon during the previous night's show and being hobbled by a boot and (by his own admission) fistfuls of prescription painkillers, was wonderful.

Still, I spent the entire evening having severe back spasms. Partly this was due to standing on a hard floor the whole time, but I couldn't help noticing that shortly after we got home the tension in my back went away. This probably had something to do with the Aleve and Aspercream Patrick made me use, but I don't think they were entirely responsible. I think was just happy to have the ordeal over.

A month or so ago I commented on my Facebook page that I couldn't think of a single musical act I would pay more than $40 to see. A couple people agreed with me, but most thought I was insane. A number of them reported paying well into triple digits for tickets, and many declared that you can't put a price on live music. It's fine that they think I'm insane, because I think they're 110% moonbat crazy to pay upward of $300 to watch Madonna lip-sync.

The Mika tickets were $29.50. Even with Ticketmaster's $8.70 per ticket "convenience" charge and $1.48 per ticket "processing fee" they were still only $39.68, leaving me with 32 cents to play with. Of course, it cost us $10.20 apiece for the MUNI and BART rides to get there, and then there were two bottles of water at $3 each, but whatever. I didn't pay $40 for the actual ticket, so I feel I have stuck to my word.

(A small side note here. Tickets for the show were $29.50. The Mika T-shirts were $35. What's wrong with this picture?)

Like I said, the Fox Theater in Oakland is gorgeous. If you have to go to a concert, this is the place to go. Tegan & Sara will be there in March, and I'd kind of like to see them. Those tickets are $35 though, so it's a dilemma. Also, there's the whole concert-induced back spasms thing. So I don't know. Besides, I think I'm going to the opera that night.

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