Is that a secret?
Whenever I go to a Bruce concert, there seem to be several hundred people on the "drop" line.
This is my secret. If you want to pay less than face value, buy tickets at the show from someone that bought tickets for friends/relatives/co-workers, that were no shows. Walk around holding up the appropriate number of fingers. Stand in a high traffic area out of the line of sight of the box office. For anything other than a superstar doing a single show in an area, I have always scored. MSG is tough due to police. Anywhere else is easy. I've been offered a lot of free tickets. There were many times that I've walked into a venue with 2,3,4 tickets that I ate because I didn't feel like scalping them. Had someone asked, they would have gotten them free. The Jones Beach concerts are perfect for this. If you want a better seat, walk around and sit where you want. A lot of shows are not sold out, and even the ones that are, have so many people "upgrading" that the odds favor you.
The johnwade method is ideal for Broadway plays. Celebrities and industry people don't pay for tickets. They have their secretary call the PR person for the play and they get comped "producer" tickets. Best seats in the house. These seats are often available at the box office a couple days before the performance. Grab them before they go to the half price booths. If you have unused play tickets from past performances, you can often bring them to the box office and swap them for these premium seats.
If you are a regular at an arena, get to know the usher and bribe him to upgrade you.http://www.sptimes.com/2002/08/13/Wo...ss__agai.shtml
Born to wait -- in line
Bruce Springsteen fans line up 36 hours before his show hoping he's held tickets for them.
By DAVE SCHEIBER, Times Staff Writer
Â© St. Petersburg Times
published August 13, 2002
NEW YORK CITY -- They came from the Netherlands, England and North Jersey. They came from upper Manhattan, Japan and Germany.
They came, hundreds of them, some at unimaginable expense, to see the Boss.
And not one of them had a ticket.
Springsteen's gig Monday night at Madison Square Garden -- part of a 46-city tour -- had long since sold out. But in the obsessive Springsteen subculture, hope endures because of a phenomenon known as the drop line.
At each concert, the 52-year-old rocker graces his fans with a last-minute ticket drop, releasing dozens or even hundreds of tickets he has held in reserve. It's his way of keeping tickets out of the hands of scalpers -- and rewarding fans who didn't land seats during the mad rush of phone sales, nowadays dominated by big ticket brokers.
His devotees arrived here 36 hours before show time to get in line. They sprawled on the sidewalk of bustling Seventh Avenue -- laughing, telling concert stories (some have seen Springsteen 200 times), sleeping, hoping. Fans can look forward to such a scene when Springsteen plays Tampa's Ice Palace on Nov. 24.
At some shows these lines blossom into small democratic societies, run by the fans for the fans. They are overseen by leaders who step forward to check people into the line by name. The earlier a fan shows up, the higher on the list his or her name is penciled in.
Every hour -- or at an interval set by the much-respected keeper of the list -- the fans report in as their names are called out. Miss the roll call, and your name may be scratched or placed at the bottom of the heap.
When it works, many fans find themselves with seats, often surprisingly good ones.
But if Springsteen's new album, The Rising, was meant to soothe the masses after Sept. 11, it didn't have that effect on the New York drop line. Late Sunday afternoon, there was darkness on the edge of the Garden: The dominant line was threatened by a smaller faction claiming legitimacy. Fists were waved, threats issued.
As daylight broke Monday, the conflict threatened to doom the drop.
It all began quietly enough on Sunday. Just before 1 p.m. -- a day and a half before the first electric thump of Springsteen's guitar -- a handful of fans sat on the Garden's brown concrete steps.
For hours, security guards had insisted that there would be no extra tickets and no drop line. Get off the property, they ordered. Go home.
A fan who identified himself only as John knew better. He ran the drop line list last week at the tour's kickoff in the Meadowlands in New Jersey, where, by contrast, venue officials had sought him out to coordinate the drop line and the release of some 800 tickets (four apiece).
"Security always has been a pain at the Garden. They always do this," John said. "I've run about 10 drop lists. I don't really want to be in charge of this one, but it needs to be done right, so I see it as a responsibility."
Nearby, 27-year-old New York architect David Jaffe started a parallel list for fans already holding general admission tickets. John and Jaffe have been to more than 100 Springsteen shows each. Ruth Barohn, 25, a student from New York, was with them, having seen the show in Washington the night before.
"There's such a sense of community here," she said. "Everybody knows everybody from other shows over the years. And we all know it's important to work together and abide by the rules of the drop line. It pays off for people who have the perseverance to show up and stay up all night for a ticket drop."
Throughout the afternoon, the list grew. New Jersey residents Joanna Harrington, 49, and Paul Seltsam, 36, had already caught three of Springsteen's rehearsal concerts, as well as the Meadowlands and Washington shows. (Harrington has seen more than 200 Boss concerts). Then Springsteen showed up -- New Yorker Debbie Springsteen, that is, a longtime fan and no relation.
The line became a kind of United Nations of Boss fans.
There was Mutsumi Nishimura, a Tokyo singer-songwriter who says he models himself after Springsteen; Norwegians Per-Roger Schroen, 37, and Morten Kjernik, 31, who had just flown 12 hours into Newark; Saf Manzoo, 31, a London magazine writer who carries a snapshot of himself and the Boss; and Uta Linke and Thomas Gensch, both 36, who had jetted 10 hours from East Berlin and hopped a train right to the Garden.
"It seems different being here because of what happened on 9/11, but honestly, we would be here anyway," Linke said.
That was the prevailing sentiment, though everyone seemed moved by the songs on Springsteen's new album. The Rising, which made its debut at No. 1, deals poignantly with the pain of the attacks, but it is also the artist's statement of renewal.
"His gift is that he's always been able to articulate not just the words but the feelings of something," said Frank Holler, 54, a former deejay who has seen Springsteen 172 times. "He's showing that, as bad as it might be, never lose sight of faith and hope."
* * *
By late afternoon, John the list master had surrendered his duties to a new leader, Michael Hayes, 48, a Californian who had arrived from the Washington show. Then came trouble: Garden security kicked everyone off the premises. The hundred or so fans took up a new position on the front concourse near the sidewalk.
Then, jolting news: A group of 20 showed up, announcing that they had been at the Garden since 6 a.m. -- on the other side of the building. Like dissidents staging a coup d'etat, they declared theirs the primary drop line. They pulled out portable chairs and blankets and plopped down at the front of the line.
Some talked tough.
"If I have to get into a fistfight to make sure I'm No. 1, so be it," said a 29-year-old man named Michael.
"It'll get physical if it has to," added a 25-year-old named Steve, who wanted to see his first Springsteen show.
Twenty yards away, members of the Springsteen old guard shook their heads. Hayes said he recognized some of the newcomers from the Garden show in 2000, when a small contingent muscled up to the front late in the game. That conflict was resolved when a venue official, prodded by veteran Springsteen drop liners, asked some of the pretenders which album came first: Born to Run or Born In The USA.
Several said USA -- wrong, but thanks for playing -- and were asked to leave.
Now, Hayes and others wondered whether they would have to resort to trivia again. As night fell, each side's list grew in numbers -- the veterans nearing 200, the newcomers 100.
It proved to be a tense and eventful night:
9 p.m.: A new helper for the veterans, Marc Nathanson, 36, writes a number on back of everyone's left hand in an effort to legitimatize the list. (He uses a purple Sharpie marker to hinder counterfeiters.)
9:01 p.m.: The rival group counters, standing up en masse and moving 50 yards closer to the entrance.
10:17 p.m.: A security official orders both groups onto the Seventh Avenue sidewalk: "There are no tickets!"
2:12 a.m.: Nathanson offers a peace offering to the rival group: fresh bananas. Banana diplomacy works at first, as the veterans discuss putting the first 20 rivals on the top of their list. But the talks break down.
And so it went, past 4 a.m., past 6 a.m. Every hour, sleepy fans struggled to their feet to stand in line for roll call, taking up much of the block. And a new security official proclaimed no tickets, no drop.
But just after 9 a.m. Monday, the same official abruptly stood everyone up against the wall of the Garden walkway. Nathanson made sure they lined up by number -- the group was now 259 strong. At the front were 20 members of the rival faction, a concession everyone seemed to be able to live with.
By 9:45, the security guards who had said they knew nothing of a ticket drop were now attaching numbered wristbands to fans and telling them to return at 5 p.m. in case tickets became available. Two hundred and fifty people got wristbands, and the buzz was that everybody would get two tickets.
The line formed again just after 4. For almost two hours nothing happened. Then, suddenly, the 250 with wrist bands were herded to an indoor box office, where each of them bought two tickets at $79 apiece, including the service charge. The best tickets were on the floor near the stage; many were in the binocular seats.
Finally, it was Springsteen time. Was it worth it?
"Every minute of it,'' said 18-year-old Jamie Ross of New Jersey, who got the Bruce gene from her parents. She had been No. 134 in line.
"I'd definitely do it again.''[ 04-25-2005, 01:34 PM: Message edited by: Triet ]