Monday, April 11, 2005

Bruuuuuuuuuce!

Saturday, I refused to leave my house. At least not until after 1:05 p.m.

Springsteen tickets were going on sale at 1 p.m. Saturday for his "Devils & Dust" tour. A solo tour. An intimate, solo tour. No way I was gonna miss out on tickets. My friend Jeff, in Detroit, had written earlier in the morning that he had scored two pairs, and that the show sold out in 5 minutes.

At 12: 38 p.m., I called Dave, just to be sure he hadn't forgotten. I called his cell. It rang four times. "Voicemail?" I thought. "Where the hell is he?"

He answered.

He mentioned that tickets were going on sale in 22 minutes. He had enlisted his daughter, even, to help him man their four computers.

As the clock on my computer ticked toward 1 p.m., I started refreshing my browser. Constantly. Because what if Ticketmaster's server clock was ahead of mine? I couldn't miss out on precious minutes. My heart began to race. With every click of the mouse, every refresh, I might be in.

No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. Dammit. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

And then I was in. I selected two tickets. I was taken to that infernal screen where you have to type in the word in the box, the distorted word in the colored box, striped with crossed lines. I couldn't read the word. I typed in what I thought was right.

I was wrong.

Dammit.

Back to the main page to start over. Enter.

No tickets.

Again.

No tickets.

Over and over again, no tickets.

It was 1:03 p.m. No way I could be shut out. No way.

I kept trying. I decided I'd try for at least 10 minutes.

Tickets. Two seats. No idea where. Didn't take the time to look. Didn't matter.

Bought them.

Looked at the confirmation. Last row, balcony.

The phone rang. Dave. He had a second pair. Main floor, way better seats.

"Buy them!" I said. "I have last row, balcony."

"OK," he said. "I'll call you back."

Moments later, my e-mail confirmation arrived.

Six minutes later, Dave forwarded the confirmation for the seats he scored for me.

Then he called.

"Has your heart stopped racing yet?" I asked.

"No way. Yours?"

"Nope. How did you get them?" I asked.

"I got through a second time," he said. Simple.

"But there's a two-ticket limit. Did you use a different credit card? Did you ship them to your office?"

Crestfallen silence.

"Wait," I told him. "Jeff got two sets this morning. Can you hold on?"

I grabbed my cellphone out of the next room, and with Dave on my landline on my left ear (yes, I know my phone has three-way calling on it, but I didn't realize it at the time), I dialed Jeff's house on my cell.

His wife Sherry answered. Jeff was home but indisposed and had to leave to go pick up one of their daughters.

"Maybe you know the answer this," I suggested, and posed my question: How did Jeff get around the two-ticket limit?

Sherry said, "Wow. I don't know. Hold on. Jeff!" I heard her muffled voice as she explained why I was calling. She came back on the phone. "Well, *that* got him moving. Hold on!"

Jeff got on the phone. "Beth," he said, the way he does, stretching out my name. I repeated the issue, told him I had Dave on the other line, Dave who was listening, getting only half the conversation.

Turns out, Jeff used the same credit card, and said maybe he wouldn't be getting both pairs after all. He figured that the ticket limit was just to discourage people from even trying to get more tickets. But he had to go. So he went.

I hung up with Jeff and returned my attention to Dave. Our Bruce-ticket elation was fading fast. Dave was concerned that Ticketmaster would cancel both his orders.

"What delivery did you use?" I asked.

"For yours, the ticketFast. But for mine ... ." He paused.

"You got the great seats, didn't you?"

"How did you know?"

"Because you have the best concert karma of anyone I've ever met in my life. Where are they?"

"Eighth row center."

Typical.

"Which ones did you buy first?" I asked.

"Those," he said.

"Then you're fine. You have those seats. I have my seats. We're fine."

I told him my take on concerts: It really doesn't matter where I sit. I'm in the same room with the person I'm there to see. Unless Bruce calls the first eight rows up on stage with him. Then I might have to change my tune.

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