Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Flicker of Hope (Adele Story) Part 1

Ok..So anyone who knows me knows that I'm an Adele fan.
Anyone who knows me also knows that  I'm not a 'groupie' kind of person, but two and half weeks ago I sure was close! :)

Soho/China Town, NYC May/June 2011
I was in New York City...
A long story short, I was supposed to be en route to Botswana but that fell through and I was left with a non-refundable return ticket to NYC. So I wemt anyways; with very little money, but with the intention of making the most I could of a most disappointing situation.

In prep for the trip, I started searching for tickets to shows in the city. Adele was playing two shows within days of my arrival. Could this be meant to be!?

...Anyone who knows me knows that during university I'd buy good music before I'd buy myself food. This includes concert tickets-reasonably priced of course! By the way, ticket prices these days are crazy!! That's reason enough for a whole other blog, but Adele tickets were definitely affordable but there were none. Both shows were sold out.

In my head:
"Ok..How can I make this happen J? There's gotta be a way!"
"It can't be completely sold out! There are always some tickets held back for stragglers willing to pay any price. Right?"
"Come one, there will definitely be scalpers there. Maybe I could camp out and get one!"
"Oh wait, Miles plays with Adele!!! (Miles is a Bajan musician who just happens to be pay keys for Miss Adkins.)

So, I 'facebook' Miles, asking if there's anyway he can tell me how/where/when/ if  I can purchase tickets.("Because there's gotta be some somewhere!!!")

Negative! There was nothing he could do. The entire US Tour had been sold out for months now.

("Ok! Well I guess I'll camp out then. I've got two chances right? Those aren't so bad odds." )

FIRST SHOW- May 19th, 2011. The Beacon Theatre, NYC:

Now I've never done this before. The closest I've gotten to this is spending all night outside Long & Mcquade (a music equipment store in Canada) to get a great guitar at a steal of a price-- totally worth it!  Yes, it was the middle of winter, but there was an unofficial number system for order of arrival so we didn't have to stay inline the whole time. It really wasn't hardcore camping out 'cause I was with a bunch of guys who had a jeep and every now and then we'd turn on the heat to keep warm. :)
The first Adele concert : May 19th, 2011

Apparently I had no idea how getting last-minute tickets is done.
I showed up at 6:45pm to find a line of people (all hoping to get tickets) about 30 people deep. 

"Geese J...what are you going to do now?"
"Well it can't hurt to wait and see anyway?"
"Fine. I'm staying".

I stayed there in line for almost 4 hrs...
At first the theatre staff kept telling us there were no tickets and we should go home, but I figured there must be a reason why all these people were staying. Later we were told "they were checking the system", "some might become available close to the show's opening" etc etc. I also found out 9 tickets were given out earlier in the day-so all this gave me hope. By 9:40pm when I finally put my tail between my legs and walked back to my sister's place only 2or 3 people managed to get tickets.

"Ah well, the 21st then!"

That night I learnt:
1) I needed to be at the venue waaaay earlier.
2) I was right, there are always some tickets, I just need to be at the top of the line to have any chance of getting one.
3) Tickets that can be copped on the day are usually prime seats (i.e. orchestra seats).
4) Never buy from a scalper unless he/she is willing to walk up to the booth with me to have the ticket confirmed as real BEFORE I pay, or I might be screwed. That night, I saw at least 10 people walk away angry or heartbroken because they paid between $200.00 to $500.00 dollars for a fake ticket. Two girls even took off their heels and ran behind the guy that ripped them off. That was a sight to see! LOL

SECOND SHOW- May 21st, 2011. The United Palace Theatre, NYC:

Steph & Chris + the milk carts
I arrived at noon....
There were already 6 people in the line but I figured I had a better shot this time. So I spent the day sharing stories and milk crates (our seats) with 4 male scalpers and 2 friendly middle-aged women both originally from Canada!! :) .

It was a really cool day. I got to hear a bit of sound check through the slightly opened front doors of the venue. When we walked around back, I got to see Adele's feet up close as she sat on the steps of her bus. She was smoking a cigarette, chatting to some members of her team, partially hidden behind the open door. Yes, but it was her I promise!! LOL. Chris and Steph (the Canadians) were great company, and it was really interesting observing the scalpers...

Adele's Feet :)
The guy at the top of the line, affectionately called 'Peewee', is somewhat of a legend. Apparently this elderly man is usually the first in line at any concert worth scalping. He got there way before 9am and was also one of the lucky few who got a ticket 2 days prior. As we say in Bim, he is a 'boss' at scalping. It was because of Peewee, even though at 8:55pm  none of us had gotten a ticket yet, I had hope. He was confident there would be tickets-there are always tickets, and Adele hadn't started her set yet.

Sadly to say none of us got tickets, BUT there were tickets. Actually, there was a stack of tickets- I saw them with my own eyes. The guy in the booth teased us with them throughout the afternoon by strategically placing them on the counter for us to see. However, according to the guys in line, "some unprecedented underhandedness" went on that day... I won't go into details, less I am sued or something, but I did see cash given in exchange for tickets numerous times, even though we were told repeatedly that there were no tickets for sale. No...they weren't for another show because those who bought them went inside the theatre, or came out and sold them at ridiculous prices to those willing to pay.

Waiting outside the United Palace Theatre (around 2pm)
Yeh.... So at 9:05pm I still didn't have a ticket. I was ready to leave. Peewee was looking worn and dumbfounded and the other 3 guys were really peeved at this point, but Chris and Steph still had hope so I stuck around. Afterall, Adele surprisingly hadn't gone on yet, so all wasn't lost....

Then, out of nowhere, a huge security guard came up to us and started talking to Steph and Chris. (Apparently they had made friends with him that morning, before I got there.) He said to them, "Come with me". Chris said to me, "Come with us". I followed--my heart beating a mile a minute, even though I was trying really hard not to get my hopes up.

The guard (let's call him Bob) proceeds to say that has 'something' for us. ("You gotta be kidding me!") Then he drops the bomb: "I have one ticket ladies..." My heart sunk. The three of us (ladies) just stared at each other--it was heartbreaking....("How can he only have one ticket!? There's no way I'm getting this ticket....Chris and Steph were waiting here before me.)

"You take it!" I heard in the fog of my dismay. "We won't go in without each other". It was Chris. She was offering me the ticket! ("She's offering me the ticket? She's offering me the ticket!! She's offering me the ticket?!?!?")

J: "Are you kidding me? No....Are you sure one of you doesn't want to go in?. You guys were waiting here three hours more than me!!" (Chris insisted).
J: (Looking at Bob) "How much is the ticket?"
Bob: "What do you mean? I'm not in the business of selling tickets. I'm giving you the ticket".
J: "Are you serious? Oh my goodness!" (The tears come and I can barely speak.)
Stephanie & I
Chris: "Go, go! Go before you miss the show!"

(I look at Steph. You see, she's the real Adele fan. Chris was just there to support her.)
J: "Are you sure Stephanie? Are you sure?"
S: "Yes! Go!"

As I move towards the door, in my head I'm thanking God and freaking out, but my heart is sad... I really felt bad that my new friends weren't getting in too.

I walk up and give the guy at the door the ticket. He scans it: "BEEP!"

Door Guy: "This ticket's no good".
J: "Huh? Are you serious? ("Think fast J!")
(Door Guy shrugs.)
J: "The guard gave me this ticket for FREE, I didn't pay for it. Why would he give me a fake?"
DG: " I don't know Miss, but it's no good..."

"Argggh! You got to be kidding me... This can't be happening!"

To be continued...
[Flicker of Hope (Adele Story) Part 2 coming soon!]