Three times I’ve tried to get tickets for Springsteen on Broadway … and three times I struck out. Couldn’t even get into the lottery to get into the lottery. Was it all an illusion? A way for scalpers to make millions? Do I seem especially bitter?
Back in the day, it was actually possible to get Springsteen tickets. You went to the local Ticketmaster outlet early, waited in line for a few hours with a couple hundred other Springsteen fanatics and … had about a 50-50 chance of striking gold.
Here’s my (edited) More Stuff column from June 24, 1999 … about waiting in line for Springsteen tickets. Oh, how the times have changed…
The tall blonde woman in front of me looked like she was about to burst into tears as the time and the tickets ticked away. I knew exactly how she felt.
On Saturday, I was one of the 344 people waiting in line at Kenny’s News Agency in Doylestown (north of Philadelphia) for a chance to see Bruce Springsteen in concert on Sept. 13 or 15 at the First Union Center.
The folks at Kenny’s are old pros at this, and have devised a fairly fair lottery system in order to avoid the complications that come from people camping out on their doorstep for two or three or 17 days.
Here’s the deal: At 9AM, they hand out numbers – in order – to the people in line.
And then, at a little before 10AM (when tickets go on sale), someone from Kenny’s reaches into a bowl filled with the 344 numbers – and pulls one out. Whatever number is pulled, that’s where the line starts.
Unfortunately, Ben Meschio didn’t know all this, got to Kenny’s at 4:30AM and was first in line. “It sucked when I found out,” he said.
A little before 10AM, the all-important drawing is held.
“Number 312!” the Kenny’s person shouts, followed by an equal number of cheers and groans. The person with 311 begins sobbing hysterically. I have 74, and am somewhat optimistic in a pessimistic sort of way (which pretty much describes every Bruce song).
10:02: People begin gleefully filing out of Kenny’s with their precious tickets. Some hold them aloft in triumph, rubbing it in. The rest of us glare jealously at them.
10:10: They call 344, 1 and 2. Ben has his tickets. The lucky bastard. Maybe I should have gotten here at 4:31AM.
10:19: They call 18, 19 and 20. Time is running out and everyone around me is saying the same thing: “There’s no way there’s only going to be two shows. Bruce loves Philly. He’ll add more shows. He has to add more shows. Right?”
10:23: Spot someone wearing a T-shirt that says: Never Hire A Ferret To Do A Weasel’s Job.
10:36: They call 42, 43, 44. So close.
10:37: “Listen up,” the Kenny’s person says. “The first two shows are sold out (lots of groaning). They haven’t announced any new dates yet (more groans).”
10:47: “We just got word…” the Kenny’s person begins, and it instantly gets eerily silent. “One more show.”
“What’s the date?” someone shouts.
“We don’t know yet,” the Kenny’s person says.”
10:49: “The show is the 20th,” the Kenny’s person shouts.
11:03: They call 74!
11:05: I’m at the register, cash in hand (yep, we used cash back then). “All that’s left is behind the stage,” the woman at the register tells me.
“That’s OK, I’ll take anything,” I say and fork over $288 for four tickets.
I’m going to see Bruce.
PS: I did, and Bruce and the E Street Band were great.
PSS: Kenny’s closed years ago.