I signed up for Paul McCartney’s Fan mailing list to be notified of ticket sales before the general public. As a super-fan, I get a special code (which incidentally is easy to find with the glory of Google) and TicketMaster opens up its virtual doors a few days early to the lucky few. This has happened on several occasions. Each time, I set an alarm on my calendar and my phone, rev up my computer and flex my clicking fingers, watching the clock, repeatedly hitting refresh on my browser.
The minute I’m allowed through the invisible pixelated screen, I conduct a search for two tickets. SURPRISE! The limited amount they reserved for SuperFans has already disappeared! Wait, what? Here I was, instructions followed to a tee, with my sleeves rolled up, ready to go, but yet, even though I clicked “To battle the bots” verifying “I am not a Robot,” the system somehow doesn’t ever grant me tickets. I’m convinced there’s a conspiracy designed to secretly reward the Autobots who communicated in TicketMaster programming code.
My first concert in high school was a classic rock one-two punch: Chicago and The Beach Boys. I was a fan of the “middle-aged men yearning for their Hippie heyday” classic rock. Back in the 1990s, to acquire concert tickets meant I physically went to an authorized ticket reseller (usually tobacco shops in seedier parts of town) at 4am to be there when they went on sale at 9am. I would wait along with everyone else who made it a priority to get up early and be Super Fans and I received a paper bracelet letting me know my place in line. In 1991, my best friend’s father drove us from Staten Island, over the Verrazano Bridge so we can line up at Madison Square Garden by 4am for tickets to the Benefit Concert for Walden Woods, featuring Billy Joel, Don Henley, and Sting. Just as a frame of reference, this is who I was listening to at 16, not the New Kids on the Block, NSYNC or Back Street Boys.
We waited in line for hours, across the street from Penn Station, which had not yet entered its gentrified glory days. It was sketchy, littered with homeless people and drug addicts and scary as shit before the sun came up. We got our rainbow wristbands and were rewarded with 14th-row tickets. This was the way it was done. The convenience of ticket accessibility on my phone is fantastic and should be saved for the disabled. Let the rest of us abled-bodies line up again. Bring back the wristbands!
I’ve seen Paul McCartney three other times, the last time with my husband eleven years ago. I remember looking over at him and he had this smile I hadn’t yet seen. It was wider than a grin, more profound than the way he smiles professionally for photos. It was his “I’m madly in love with you but haven’t told you yet” smile. Longing to see Sir Paul again, to relive a glimmer of the past with a matching soundtrack.
Once again, I’ve set my calendar reminder for Friday when tickets go on sale to the general public. I will use two computers this time; readying both laptops in a pseudo ticket apprehension command station. In theory, I know I am lowering my odds by competing against myself, but the magic behind these imaginary ticketing wires defeats logic.