Monday, October 29, 2007


Backpedaling to my ticket sale at Saturday’s show. I sold them a few months ago during the great ticket panic of 2007. The show was actually sold-out before the 9:30 Club announced it via its website; I’ve got my tricks. My buyer was the first of about a dozen to contact me the day I threw up my ad and I told him I’d send an e-mail the week of the show in order to set-up the exchange. The final options I gave him were these: I’ll be there at 7pm to give you the tickets (they were at will call), or you can let me know when you’ll be arriving and we’ll coordinate our efforts. Normally I won’t be at a show an hour before doors – I’m not one to feel a need to stand right at the front of the stage, but I’m always willing to get there early if they happen to be the type that wants to pile in early and stand for five hours. As it was left, we were to meet at 7pm (see my cab ride…) and exchange the tickets. As I was in line (or on line for the easterners) at 7pm, with only about ten people in front of me, I called him to see if he was standing nearby. Come to find out he doesn’t really want to get there until after the first opening act so he’s anticipating about 9 or 9:30pm. Hmm. Right. Not much to do at this point but tell him to call me when he shows and I’ll come outside and exchange tix for dough. The problem this presents is that I’m in the club so early that I ace one of the eight barstools at the upper-level bar that holds the greatest view and comfort for a long show (yes, that’s right, eight make up the entire actual seating capacity of a 1000+ occupancy club.) The beauty is that nobody can block your view because the next bar row (VIP only) is eight feet below you, the bar is right there, and you have a seat…it’s perfect. Unfortunately, by the time my buyer is going to show the place will be almost full and there will be vultures cruising the area looking to poach my seat. I need a plan; I have a plan. There a two girls standing at the bar-table-rail who showed up shortly after the eight stools were commandeered and I’ve decided to trade one stool for the table-bar corner if they’re willing and able. I close the deal at a song break when I quickly offer them the terms of the contract and they readily agree – I lose my stool (though they were willing to hold it) and in return they spread out a bit and manage to hold the corner leaning area, currently occupied by one of them, for me when I return. We pinky shake and I now know that when my phone vibrates indicating “go” time I only need to pass them a “you’re on duty” look and scramble down the stairs. Upon my return the shuffle takes place and I get to spent the rest of the night perfectly poised for maximum enjoyment – love not war, I say. Love not War.

The Ticket Exhange, written by Monty Python
(see diagram below, it’s horribly self-explanatory)

Just as the first band is finishing their 30-minute set my cell phone vibrates and I see the ticket buyer’s name on caller ID. There’s no way to actually speak into the phone because the music is too loud; I hop up, give the duty look to the gals, and head down the stairs. I’m walking down the outside stairs to the sidewalk as I open up my phone and hit green button-green button to call back my “John”. A single ring and he picks up as I look about and see only a handful of people out front, maybe ten or twelve total:

“Hello? Is this Todd?”
“Yeah. I couldn’t talk when you called. Where are you at?”
“I’m by the tour bus?”
[I look around]
“I’m by the tour bus out front. There are two buses.
Are you around the corner? I’m by the stop sign.”
“No. I’m by the tour bus. By the stop sign.”
“I don’t see you. Can you see the tour bus by the stop sign?”
“Yeah. I’m right by the sign.”
“By the tour bus?”
[Clearly he’s lost. I look around, up at the sky.]
“Okay. I’m out front, by the bus, by the stop sign.”
“Me too.”
[This is stupid. I decide to actually turn around; he
decides to turn around.]

That is embarrassing. There was an entire stop sign post right between us…no wonder we couldn’t possibly see each other. We make the exchange, laugh the WonderTwins, and try to make our way inside while averting our gaze from the punked, pierced, and tattoo’d bouncers who no doubt witnessed the entire episode. What I immediately wished, upon returned to my bar area, was that it had been as easy as what I witnessed during my first year visit to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco. I was sitting near a couple at the Star Stage, waiting for the next act to start, when the cell phone of the couple ring-rings. She answers and begins to direct her friend to where they are sitting amongst the crowd. Picture about a thousand people laying about on blankets and sitting in low-backed chairs. Since it’s between acts you can actually see all the way to the stage with little visual interference.

“Hey. Debbie? Yeah, we’re about halfway up towards the stage.”
[She stands and looks around.]
“You’re by the mixing booth? Yeah, we’re halfway up.
We’re on a blanket. I’m standing.”
[Looks out toward the mixing table.]
“Yes! I can see you. Can you see me? Oh, we also brought the
macaw…he’s up on his perch.”

I look up and behind me to see that, in fact, they have brought the massive blue macaw to the show and he’s poised royally on a 10-foot high pole of a perch. Now there's an idea.

“Oh, you see him? That’s us.”



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