Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fare Thee Well buildup, part 2!!

After the big fail for Chicago tickets (see my earlier post), the expected ways in which humans rationalize setbacks started up in our minds and conversation:

  • Well, we saved a lot of money by not going!
  • It probably would have been a real hassle with crowds of entitled-feeling people, the heat, and stuff.
  • We’ll have almost as good a time if they broadcast it over the web, at Port Chester, or something.
  • Hey, maybe a miracle will happen and we’ll suddenly get the tickets we hoped for!

And then a miracle kind of did happen.

As mentioned in the earlier post, there was a LOT of talk and wailing about how the tickets had been distributed, that this hadn’t been thought out well and so a lot of deserving people were shut out, and that the band should be playing more “farewell” concerts.  In my opinion it’s non-realistic to say that an artist “should” do anything, but I was very glad when rumors started up that they were considering adding concerts before the July 4th weekend, in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.  In fact, super-fan Bill Walton tweeted the dates, before his tweet was removed.

People in discussion groups and ones I talked to advocated for playing lots of additional concerts in other parts of the country and claimed that the band would eventually cave and schedule additional concerts after July 4th.  But I feel they won’t since this has been such a difficult thing to schedule, open stadium dates are hard to get with this amount of notice, and in our litigious society (and seeing the prices being charged for Chicago), if the band now announces dates after Chicago I wouldn’t be surprised if they get sued by idiots who claim they spent thousands on the “last” concerts and that value has been taken away!

So we had a pretty good idea that two concerts would be scheduled for Santa Clara in late June, and I’m very sure that those 5 concerts will be it.  But we had no idea when tickets for Santa Clara would be going on sale.  In fact, I (for one) wasn’t thinking at all about going to those concerts.  I’d internalized the disappointment from the Chicago brouhaha and in my mind it would be even more impossible to get tickets and/or hotel packages for the new concerts than it had been for Soldier’s Field.

And then it happened, I was struck by the fickle finger of fate (cue the Supremes!  I was working away in the middle of the afternoon on Friday April 10 and was just about at a breaking spot between tasks, when an email from CID Entertainment popped up at the bottom of my screen, announcing the Santa Clara concerts.  “Yeah, yeah,” I thought.  I texted Dave (he was on the road to Ithaca) that Santa Clara had been announced.  Then I clicked on the email.  It was fortunate that that email came in first (I had signed up for the CID mailing list), because if the email right after it from had come in first I would have wasted precious time reading and navigating through that.

The CID email said “Travel packages on sale now!” in large letters (something the email did not say), and this was a hotlink when I hovered over it.  “What?” I said.  But I didn’t bother answering my carefully-worded question, I just started fucking clicking!  The travel packages page was arranged just like the one I had spent hours obsessing about for Chicago, and before I knew it I was at a screen that [I thought] said I had a 15-minute wait.  “Well that’s better than I got before,” I thought, and then I realized that what it was actually saying was that I had 15 minutes to complete the page!  You can probably believe I entered my credit card info in record time, and before I knew it I had bought hotel-ticket packages for 4 people to see the Grateful Dead in California!!!

AND … I was still breathing.  I texted Dave that we got tickets to see the Dead in CA and he texted back, “Uh??”  I called Sarah and told her, and Dave called me and I verified that I wasn’t kidding and he had to contact Ricky immediately.  We were all very excited.

Then I went back to my desk and wondered where in the stadium the seats I had bought were located, and then thought, “Wait, I blew it!”  I had clicked so quickly that I bought a package with cheaper seats, like the one in Chicago we first had our eyes on, and forgot to look at the slightly more expensive packages with better seats that we had ultimately decided to go for back in February.  I wondered if the more expensive packages were still available, and they were!  Apparently this “sneak up on people and tell them on sale now, not later!” approach had caught a lot of people off-guard.

This was much a much different experience from the failed Chicago venture, where people had had the time to get ready, had swamped the server with their requests, and had bought out all the tickets in 30 seconds.  There were probably some people in the Pacific Time Zone who didn’t even hear about the packages being on sale until several hours later, let alone have time to make the decision to spend money on them before the packages they wanted were gone.  I was fortunate enough to have enough credit on my card to do it, and so went ahead and bought the better seats also, feeling confident that I’d be able to pass on the first package I had bought to friends.

The deal for most people, those who elected not to buy hotel packages, was that Dead50 had a ticketing system that would accept requests from that moment on Friday until midnight the next Wednesday.  Then they would randomly select ticket requests to fulfill.  This was designed as a way to prevent scalping and/or complaints about unfair ticketing procedures.  This was designed to give everyone an equal chance.  Perhaps it was an unfair loophole that the hotel packages were on sale immediately, first-come first-served, and that I could buy two of them.  But perhaps it was just the fickle finger of fate!

Went home that night and we were very happy!  In fact, I’m still buzzing and smiling from the experience, a few days later.  We got a good price on airplane tickets, though there will be some late-night/early-morning travel.  I had the fun of offering the tickets to some very good, long-term friends and have them accept.  They’re equally as excited!  It’s not going to be a cheap experience and I’m sure there will be some hassles and some of those crowds and heat I mentioned above.  But this should be a fantastic time.  I hope everybody involved has a blast!