Tickets are getting harder to get hold of, aren't they?
Glastonbury last year was a nightmare. Who would have thought that if you only had a handful of operators on the phones, and a woefully underpowered website, that things would all collapse when thousands and thousands of people all try to buy tickets in the first few hours? The good news is that they are using basically the same system again this year.... the even better news is that I will be trying to get tickets whilst I am in France.
We all know about the shambles that was the U2 presale, don't we?
Does it have to be this way?
In a word. No.
I've always liked Coldplay.
Call it bedwetters' music if you must, but I think they are brilliant. "Parachutes" is gorgeous... there's not a bad song on it, and "A Rush Of Blood To The Head" is just majestic; a quantum leap forwards. I was lucky enough to be at Glastonbury in 2002 when they debuted this material in their headline slot on the Friday night. It seems laughable now, but people had genuinely been worried that they weren't a big enough band, that they wouldn't be up to it. They came on, played "Politik" and the rest is history.
I think I first signed up to their website shortly after that - they were doing day-by-day previews of the new album (which I seem to remember didn't come out until October - some 4 months after the festival). A new track was available to listen to every day. I remember the first time I heard "The Scientist". Ahhh.
It's all been pretty quiet since then (apart from them breaking America, becoming one of the biggest selling acts in the world, the singer marrying an Oscar-winning actress and having his first child named after a piece of fruit....). They are so big now that EMI had to announce a profit warning when it was revealed that the Coldplay album wouldn't be released until after the end of their financial year.
They send me newsletters occasionally - generally telling me how things are going, what the drummer has been up to, and how I can help make trade fair (they are very visible supporters of Oxfam - Chris Martin wore a"make trade fair" t-shirt every day for about 2 years. I hope he had more than one....)
They seem nice.
They sent me an email this week telling me that they were about to announce their UK tour, and that they were going to give me, the humble subscriber to coldplay.com, the chance to buy tickets ahead of the crush of the public sale. All I had to do was go to the site, enter my email address and tell them which show I wanted to go to, and how many tickets I wanted (up to 4). The idea was that they then try to allocate the tickets on a first-come, first-served basis, and email me back if I had been lucky. In other words, my waiting to find out if I had got tickets would take place offline. If I was lucky, I would then have 24 hours to make my purchase, or the tickets would be released.
Hm. I've been here before. Only a few weeks before Johnny Buckland will be sending me an email apologising for the shambles of their tickets sales, surely? Ah - what the hell, worth a shot? (and thanks to Lord Bargain here - I was going to let this one go past until he talked me into it, and offered to drive up to Bolton and back for the gig on a Monday night)
I made my request at about 2pm today. They emailed me back about 3pm with a link. I followed the link and bought the tickets. £35 each (which Lord Bargain even paid for, bless him)
Job done. Hassle free. They'd even thought far enough ahead to check how long you had been a member at the website before letting you have tickets (i.e. trying to stop people who had only registered in the last week nabbing all the tickets)
Why can't they all be like this?
More importantly, why do I spend so much of my life trying to buy tickets? (thirteen senses on saturday - very exciting)
Depressingly, and predictably I've just been over to Ebay. Apparently the tempatation to make a quick profit has been too much for some scumbags to resist. The deadlines for all the auctions are of course set to end just before the general sale begins on Saturday morning.
I can't think of a good reason for people to do this except money. They buy more tickets than they need for themselves, or buy tickets to concerts they will never go to, and seek to rip-off the fans. Greed. Naked greed.