3.6.09 (J. Kravitz)

3.6.09 (J. Kravitz)

Something’s got to give in this discouraging state of affairs.  Phish tickets have gotten nearly impossible to acquire on actual on-sale dates, and there is no solution in sight.  In a nutshell, this sucks, and many fans are being left ticketless. This weekend, we witnessed the death of online Phish ticket sales, and discovered the only way to score a decent ticket is to be the first in line at an outlet- sometimes.  Although I had most of my tickets, I tried to score tickets for every on-sale this weekend to fill in the gaps and grab tickets and hook up friends in need.  Not interested in buying lawns, I was able to score a whopping two Gorge tickets out of seven on-sales.

This isn’t coming from a place of bitterness-I have my tickets, and for that I am blessed- just one of utter dismay and empathy for those who had similar experiences.  I tried all weekend long to score a decent stub and met with fail after fail after fail- and I consider myself pretty savvy with the ticket thing.  After my multiple experiences this weekend, I thank my lucky stars for having so many friends looking out for one another, because without such a network I’d be out of luck right now.  Yet not everyone has such a network, and these on-sales are their only real chance of getting tickets, and herein is my point.

Page and Trey (J.Kravitz)

Page and Trey (J.Kravitz)

Let me narrate this weekend’s bumpy road, and I bet that some of it sounds quite familiar.  Red Rocks- not a chance.  I never even saw the screen after I selected two four-day passes.  Next day- I tried for Darien while a friend stuck out on Merriweather.  I was never able to access a screen to actually select tickets- not sure why.  Maybe I refreshed one too many times, but I was never let back in, even after restarting my computer- though obviously nothing was left at that point.  There is nothing on Live Nation’s site about refreshing screens.

SPAC- nothing.  I am thrown into a waiting room from which I never emerge. Once I decided to bite the bullet and refresh the screen, tickets were gone.  Live Nation’s server seemed to be jamming every single time, and even when I did get by the captcha in under fifteen seconds, there was always an error message waiting on the next screen.

blockbuster_video_storeMeanwhile, I heard of a friend’s success at their local Blockbuster, and decided that for Shoreline, that would be my plan.  But first the Gorge was going on sale.  Completely defeated and ready to toss my computer out the window, I would attempt Gorge tickets as a mere formality.  But less than an hour before they dropped, a friend stopped by and suggested we look at places to go in the city.  We hopped in her car and sped down to a little Ticketmaster outlet within a store in the Mission.  Upon arrival, there were about nine people there and about a half an hour to go.  I figured we were screwed but decided to wait and be told formally.  In conversation, I learned that eight or nine people had scored four-day passes for Red Rocks there the previous day. Hmmm, I thought, we are going back to the old-school.

3.6.09 (J.Kravitz)

3.6.09 (J.Kravitz)

While waiting in line, I realized that our technology has finally outdone itself.  With so many people trying to score tickets against insurmountable odds created by ticket bots, hacker software, and scalpers, online ticket sales for Phish shows are officially dead.  Sure, there will always be stories of the people who were lucky enough to get them- but that’s what it is, pure luck.  Sure, you can strategize until the cows come home, but with zero barriers to entry, when thousands of people all hit the button simultaneously, whoever gets pulled into the system is quite random.  Online ticketing is far too accessible- you can sit in your underwear with your bong and click the mouse, or try order tickets when you should be working.  Back in the day, you’d have to go to a Ticketmaster outlet- it took a lot more effort.  Online on-sales have become no better than another lottery at this point, so we are left to trade and scalp; it’s a bad scene.

As the guy at the outlet furiously ran credit cards and printed tickets, the two-day passes sold out, as expected, with the person before us.  We did manage to score two individual tickets, and now she’s in.  That’s my success story.  But it wasn’t supposed to be the main story- that was coming Sunday with Shoreline.

3.6.09 (J.Kravitz)

3.6.09 (J.Kravitz)

I tried for Hartford and landed in another waiting room, then all that was available was lawn- all within about thirty seconds.  Really?!  I got into the system in the first thirty seconds and all that was left were lawn seats- something was going on here.  Unless you got right in at the moment the tickets went on sale, your chances at a pavilion seat were slim to none.  Sure we can all get stubbed down, but it’s all about having your own ticket in your own pocket.

Yet for Sunday I had scouted my plan.  I located a random Blockbuster an hour outside the city, and was heading there early- very early.  Waking up at 7:07, I hopped in my car by 7:30 and was in the desolate parking lot of Blockbuster at 8:30 am- alone!  I had done it, I had accomplished my goal- I was first at an outlet.  I smoked a joint solo just to celebrate my forthcoming pair of 100 level tickets, and sat on the curb with the Sunday Times- blowing up my solo lot scene.  I spoke with the manager, and he was on board with the mission, so I relaxed and enjoyed the morning sunshine for 3 1/2 hours.  About an hour into my personal sit-in, a second guy rolled up, and we shot the shit as we gloated about our situation.

3.6.09 (J.Kravitz)

3.6.09 (J.Kravitz)

I checked in with the manager again, telling him about the high demand, the scalpers, and the incredibly time-sensitive nature of his forthcoming task.  He was down, he would do all he could to make sure we were hooked.  Beautiful- or so we thought.

Finally, it was five to twelve, and tickets were about to drop.  As I watched him navigate the computer, I realized how slow he was at each movement and began to fear that his lack of speed would be our doom- but I was first- I knew I would at least get my two.  12:00 hits!  He pulls up two pavilions but has no idea what button to press to try and acquire the tickets.  After about twenty seconds of searching he finally found the “add to cart” button, which I thought was strange for a corporate outlet.  A cart?  Anyhow, as he entered the order, his computer came back with an error message!?  What the fuck?!  I came here to avoid error messages!  And so he started the process from the beginning again, and I knew I was sunk.  By the time he pulled ANY ticket, it was 12:10 and it was a lawn, which we let a third guy have who came up at the eleventh hour.

Fishman (J.Kravitz)

Fishman (J.Kravitz)

I was momentarily livid.  It was so obvious that Live Nation sent their guy to install their computer at Blockbuster, dropped off an instruction manual and left.  The guy confessed to being “very new at this” having only sold twenty tickets ever, and no offense, but it showed- he was totally unprepared for the task at hand.  If I was behind the terminal, I’m confident we would have all walked out with pavilions, but alas, what could we do- he was the guy that worked there.  To make a long story short- first in line, 3 1/2 hour wait, no tickets.  Nice.

What to do now?  I have no idea.  With internet on sales as random as the lottery, outlets’ efficiency subject to staff competence, and a phone system in which we get hung up on, we are left with very little control over our own destiny to score Phish tickets.  It’s reached the point of absurdity, and I have yet to hear a legitimate solution.  This whole paperless ticket trend wouldn’t work for Phish, as you wouldn’t be able to trade or buy tickets for friends unless you were actually going in the door with them.  Though by subverting scalpers, everyone just might be able to get tickets again.

Ironically, part of the problem is the relatively low price of Phish’s tickets.  With a $50 face value, they are sold at a fraction of the cost of any major act like Bruce Springsteen, The Dead, or U2.  Knowing the profit margin available on Phish tickets, scalpers, like vultures, flock to them using ticket bots and mark them up 400-500%.  If that’s their business, how can you blame them?  The incredibly high demand for Phish tickets far outstrips the supply for any given show, driving the true market value of a Phish ticket far above $50.  With such a high demand, they are able to make ridiculous profits on Phish.  In trying to keep it cheap for the fans, the irony is that fans aren’t getting the tickets; it’s a total mess.

3.6.09 (J.Kravitz)

3.6.09 (J.Kravitz)

So we are left to our networks of friends, trading boards, and scalpers- not always feasible options for everybody.  I am a firm believer that if you go to just about any show and try hard enough, you will always find one.  But it shouldn’t have to be like that; it shouldn’t be so damn hard for to get a ticket to see our favorite band.  But with the band members taken out of business decisions this time around, we are left with Coran Capshaw and corporation Phi$h running the show, and, honestly, they seem like they couldn’t care less.  Sure, they put anti-scalping messages on Phish’s ticket site- but do they actually do anything? Not so far.

ticketsnow-ticketmasterBruce has done something, Trent Reznor has said something, Eddie Vedder pioneered the anti-corporate ticket movement, and Metallica, AC/DC, and Tom Waits have tried paperless tickets requiring credit card and ID for entry.  Yet nothing but silence has come from camp Phish as TicketsNow continues to hawk all their summer shows at absurdly high prices.  It seems clear that Phi$h Inc. likes the hype and these sky-rocketing prices in the secondary market, as the demand to see Phish will only increase with every fan shut out.  In the end, with the millions rolling in, no one cares who is getting the tickets or how they are doing it, this much is plainly obvious.

This is 2009, folks- we can pull up our friend’s entire music libraries on our phones from across the country, we can zap messages to people around the globe instantaneously and locate anything with pinpoint accuracy via hand-held GPS devices, but somehow we can’t figure out an effective system to get tickets in the hands of real fans.  The real question remains, does anyone really want to?


To correlate some numbers to this debacle, check out “The Economics of Phish Tickets,” thanks to Posterus Nutbagus!  Here is an explanation of the spread sheet.



2889100254_8494a287a8Speaking of tickets, The Phish Thoughts Ticket Exchange has been updated for all the new shows!  We have opened up the board to the public- no longer will you need to email for an invite.  Please respect the board, as this is a community resource to get around the secondary ticket market.  Please respect the board and post carefully to make sure you are putting your info in the right place. Please read the instructions on the board before posting.  There is a permanent link to the board on the upper right of the home page.  If you make a successful deal through the board, please send an email with “Great Success!” as the subject line with the details of the deal in the text so we can track transactions.  If you have any questions, feedback, or suggestions, please email!



redrocks_right6.11.94 Red Rocks SBD < LINK

I am re-posting this classic SBD for the sake of completing our ride through Red Rocks history.  We conclude with a straight up classic- certainly one of the best ever in Morrison.  Enjoy the blistering show from start to finish, as we dream of the end of July.

I: Wilson, Chalk Dust Torture, You Enjoy Myself, Rift, Down With Disease, It’s Ice, Tela, Stash

II: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Run Like an Antelope, Fluffhead, Scent of a Mule, Split Open and Melt, The Squirming Coil, Maze, Contact > Frankenstein

E: Suzy Greenberg

Last “Frankenstein”07-26-91.

292 Responses to “TicketShit”

  1. The Fox is great on numerous levels. Phish last played there in 94, and it was one of the sickest Tweezers ever! It may be the one that made it onto “A Live One” but I can’t say that with certainty. Plus it only holds about 5,000 people, which is teeny-tiny. Last time Phish played anything near that size was Radio City in 2000. Aside from that is the magic of the venue itself. It’s ornately decorated, w/ gold-leaf paint everywhere, snazzy carpets, intricate woodwork. If you’ve ever been to the Fox in Atlanta, it’s a comparable venue.

    Nice call on the Fox in Boulder. I saw Sector 9 there on 12/30-31/01, and I’ll never forget how that place just rumbles with bass (in a good way), you think the building is going to shake off of the foundation.

  2. Billy Breathes Says:

    The Fox in St Louis is a VERY special place…do your DD son. 🙂

    Here’s one little tid-bit for you…

    Jerry Garcia, from the Grateful Dead, wanted to once purchase the theater and make it The Dead’s 2nd home base venue….their home away from away from home…if you will.

    Do your DD!

    Steal Your Face.

  3. Mugician Says:

    Straight up! I’ve some REALLY kickin’ shows at the Fox in Boulder.

    My god the Tweezer on A Live One is beyond epic. 30 minutes of fresh, insane improv. It’s really incredible. If you ever have 30 minutes non-stop to spare, take a listen to the whole thing, it’s WELL worth it!

  4. Mugician Says:

    How come they haven’t played there since 94? Another RR situation?

    What’s “DD”? I assume it’s research considering the context, so rather: what’s “DD” stand for?

  5. nonoyolker Says:

    Boulder is not far from New Mexico. “Wait, there’s a NEW Mexico???”

  6. nonoyolker Says:

    DD= Due Dilligence. Or Double Dragon, Dunkin Donuts, or Double Down depending on your crowd. Either way, perfectly cromulent use of the abbreviation.

  7. No, they didn’t get banned or anything, it was just that 94/95 was a big time for the boys. They started blowing up, and they began to outgrow many a venue.

  8. ^Mugician

    it was me talking about doing something. email me if you get a min to discuss a few things i’ve noted.

  9. Back to ticketshit– Right on for finally saying something. I could only try for one show(Merriweather). No luck. That brings my success rate to a whopping 0 %. THIS SUCKS!

  10. I’ve got an idea… anyone wanna start a broker biz to buy up jonas bros and britney shit-ass tix? Then sell them so we have enough money for phish??

    I consider myself pretty damn good at buying tix at onsales, if we can get decent seats (broker bots will get front 10 rows) then we could still make a killing. think of all the rich parents who think buying the tickets to high school musical will make their kids like them.

    Who wants to invest in my new company?

    Ticket Fuckers, our slogan is gonna be “you want tickets? we’re gonna fuck you”

  11. I honestly can’t imagine anyone spending even 50 bucks on Spears. But then again, we’ve got quite the abundance of whackos and what nots living in the US.

  12. Scratch that last – they’re everywhere!

  13. Hell yeah Minor,

    THIS BLOWS, and you hit it on the head with that post.
    Thanks kid, but I will take lawns and so far 2 for 10 in 2009.

    I think your comment “”get tickets in the hands of real fans. The real question remains, does anyone really want to?””

    says it all. They (band) are not doing anything about the ticketshit

    PHI$h INC sucks bring back Paluska!

    My first show back @ Red rocks for 200 minimiun?
    Yeah right after coventry!

    Maybe they think we are that dumb?

  14. Side Note—
    Is moe. any good? They are playing a show near me and I’m jonesing. Dark Star is playing too but I haven’t listened to moe. They sound kinda soft. Do they ever rage? Basically would it be worth it to eat a cap at go to a moe. show?

  15. wizzle1986 Says:

    ALOne Tweezer was Bozeman,MT if memory is correct

  16. wizzle1986 Says:

    scratch that…Bangor,ME

  17. wizzle1986 Says:

    Moe is hit or miss, I have seen moe. rage numerous times, probably worth the $30 or whatever they charge. Listen to the cd Warts and All vol.3…particularly the “Timmy Tucker”….their bassist is bad ass, both their guitars are extremely good at times, but the vocals are kinda cheesy…having said that I’m gonna go see them in Portland at a kickass venue

  18. JPhishman Says:

    Yeah I’m not huge into moe but have seen them a few times and if you’re jonesin’ I’m sure you will have a good time. They are great musicians…… wouldn’t hurt to eat that cap either 😉

  19. Wizz…you’re correct about the Bangor Tweezer, however a portion of the Bozeman Tweezer did make it onto ALO under the moniker “Montana”…it’s a nice little segment, though there are much much much better portions of that incredible jam.

  20. Ha! I had to give tickets away this summer.

  21. EL Duderino Says:


  22. My friend and I worked the box office deal perfectly for CCCC. I got my bracelet yesterday afternoon and he got his this morning. When they pulled the number for starting the line he was about 70 in line and I was about 400th. I think there were about 500 wristbands given out. He took his spot in line and I took my laptop to the local coffee shop. I obviously struck out online, but he was able to get awesome seats!(sec X row 12—-right on top of page pretty much). When I got the call from him at the coffee shop that he was successful I think I made a fool out of myself, but didn’t care at all. About 300-350 people were able to get tickets at the box office. 2 of my other friends were able to get 4 tickets each too. We all had a great celebratory breakfast at the Portland Diner. Mimosas all around. Word was that the Civic Center was allotted 1200 tickets and they were all good seats or floor. I hope there is a 2nd show announced for the civic center so I can have another fun Saturday morning! What a great morning!

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