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Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Saga of The Jack Johnson Ticket

I've liked Jack Johnson's music for a while. Not in a fanatical way, but he's been on the McReadie Music Radar, and I bought Brushfire Fairytales a few years back.

Then something rather unpleasant happened: Johnson became far too popular for my liking. With the release of In Between Dreams, his third album, he became, dare I say it, a bit of a star. The album was number one album download in many iTunes stores across the world. I knew the end had come when I saw a TV advert for the album. It was time for McReadie to cut all links with this (admittedly rather attractive) singer-songwriter.

See, here's the problem - and I'm a little embarrassed to say it. I'm somewhat of a music snob. Not in the sense that I go around proclaiming that I'm a fan of South African jazz - I do know a guy who says he is, and my reaction to that kind of claim always tends to be the same: "Not even South Africans like South African jazz" - but in the sense that I like my music to be hidden gem-like. I don't want to be able to tell everyone the name of my favourite singer, and for everyone to go "Ah, yeah, I know them". Instead, I want only a select few to appreciate my top pop picks. I want to be a member of a select group who appreciates This Kind of Music.

(Unfortunately, "This Kind of Music" seems to be heavily folk-influenced. I blame my parents, both folk music fans. I clearly have the defective "Likes Folk Music" gene).

Normally, maintaining these high standards of snobbery is easily done. I tend to like music which has not made it big here. Often big in the States, among the college crowd, but not big here.

This makes getting a ticket for concerts a doddle. Teitur, Jason Mraz, Gavin DeGraw (I have a weakness for male singer songwriters with guitars) - all no problem. I could even faff for a little while deciding exactly which seat I wanted.

I therefore have an inaccurate view of what it's like to get tickets to a concert. Even the relatively popular concerts to which I've been - Simon and Garfunkel and Brian Wilson - were not too much of a problem.

Now, of course, none of this would have been an issue had I not heard Johnson's excellent (in my opinion) Sitting, Waiting, Wishing while I was on my little French Summer holiday. I had MTV on in the background and thought: "Hey, that's a good song. And it sounds quite Jack Johnson ish". Yeah, that'd be cos it is Johnson, McReadie. And, dammit if it wasn't accompanied by a cool video too. (If you click that link back there, you can see it).

So I caved. I bought In Between Dreams. And damn fine it is too. I was a reinvigorated fan, albeit one reluctantly accompanied by a whole load of new fans who would have looked blank a few years back when I mentioned Mr Johnson.

So I was quite excited when I saw that Johnson was to play London. "Hey," I thought, "I'll go to that".

See: here's the problem, though. My typical experience of buying concert tickets left me woefully unprepared for the task of purchasing Jack Johnson tickets. I'll be honest: I went in complacent. I mean, I knew he was more popular than the acts I usually go and see. I assumed there would be quite a few people trying to get tickets. I assumed it may therefore be a bit of a problem to get hold of 'em, but also assumed that patience would do the trick. I figured I'd be ready at midday, when the tickets went on sale, and just do a couple of page refreshes on Ticketmaster, et voila.

To be clear: I'm a naive idiot.

It rapidly became clear that this was going to be like those "normal" concerts I'd heard about - where people have ten phones by them to redial the ticketline, and where people load up ten Internet browsers to try ten different ticket sites.

The stupid thing was that this only became clear after I'd given up the ticket I managed to get on Ticketmaster. See, within about ten minutes, I had a ticket which I could opt to buy. Trouble was, my previous experience meant I thought there was a little faff time here. Maybe I'll just check and see if there are better tickets... And, hmmmm, See Tickets are normally cheaper than Ticketmaster, I could just check there. Oh, and dammit, I'd better answer that phone call from The Buddy.

Needless to say, within five minutes, I'd thrown away my chance of a ticket. It was clear I was going have to spend the rest of the day hitting myself over the head with a mallet in order to punish myself for my stupidity. (Fortunately, the phone call from The Buddy was to cancel our planned meet up today, so I would have the day free to do just such McReadie Mallet Bashing).

As time ticked on, the situation became more desperate. I do believe I was, at one point, close to tears due to my stupidity. The fact I kept coming Oh-So-Close to securing a ticket only for the system to time out when I submitted my credit card details made things even more painful.

Just fifty minutes after the tickets went on sale, it became pretty clear they'd all sold out.

Depressed, I tried to remain positive. Hey, I mean, he's scheduled two dates in London. And the second date doesn't seem to be on sale anywhere. Maybe I'll be able to get a ticket for that.

Sadly, my depressed side pointed out that if these tickets sold out as quickly as the first lot, I'd need to know with some precision when they went on sale - and I didn't.

I kept trying to call the ticket line at the Hammersmith Apollo. Wait! A recorded message! And on my previous twenty attempts I'd only got an engaged tone! A nice lady told me that all tickets for Jack Johnson on 3 March had now sold out. After only fifty minutes of them being on sale. Oh Christ. Where's that mallet?

But wait! She then said that tickets for the 4 March gig (the date I actually would prefer to attend) were on sale at 1pm! And the time? About two minutes to one!

Hallelujah! There were more tickets on sale, and chances are others didn't yet know the time at which they would be on sale!

Straight to Ticketmaster. Panicked entering of details. Do I want to stand or sit? Normally I can think about this decision for ages, but I realised I was against the clock. Don't make the same mistake again, dammit.

Sit. I'll sit. Yes, I know it's further away from the stage, but I'm always too damn short to see anything when standing. Order the damn ticket, dammit! Stop pissing around!

I paused. I faffed. I knew I didn't have time to do this. I loaded up two Ticketmaster windows to see if I could get a better seat. I told myself to stop being so stupid. I selected a seat - no idea how good it was - and submitted my credit card details, heart in my throat, sure it would time out before confirmation.

It didn't! I got tickets!

(And I think you all know that when I say "tickets", I mean "ticket". One ticket. A ticket for McReadie. Unsociable-Attends-Concerts-And-Films-Alone McReadie).

Woo hoo! And it's a damn fine seat too - front and centre of the seated section! Hooray!

(Note to self: never again cave and start liking popular artists. It's not worth the pain).


  • At 3:05 AM, Blogger Bob said…

    The best way to get tickets is via Presale Passwords.

  • At 3:37 AM, Blogger OnMyJourney said…

    Just giving you a heads up....I believe Jason Mraz will be in Europe in a few short months...I saw him in Milwaukee, WI last night and he was wonderful. Get your ticket! :)


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