No standing in doorways or blocking the hall: Dylan ticket sales going fineROBIN WASHINGTON COLUMN: If you hurry, you can buy a ticket online for the Bob Dylan, Wilco and My Morning Jacket concert at Bayfront Festival Park for only $291. Or you can head down to the DECC in person and get them for 68 bucks apiece.
By: Robin Washington, Duluth News Tribune
If you hurry, you can buy a ticket online for the Bob Dylan, Wilco and My Morning Jacket concert at Bayfront Festival Park for only $291.
Or you can head down to the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center in person and get them for 68 bucks apiece, as Pam Grover of Hermantown did on Friday afternoon. Greeting her were three wide open box office windows.
“I just walked up. Didn’t have to pay for parking. Spot right there. Walked in. I thought there’d be a little bit more going on than this,” she said.
Jeff and Elaine Opacich, of Duluth and late of Hibbing, said they also were surprised by the empty ticket counter.
“I told (Jeff) we probably won’t have time to get the tickets but we’ll try,” Elaine said of the five they picked up for a co-worker while on a midday walk. (Though the couple has lived in both of Dylan’s home towns, they’re really not into him, Jeff said.)
The reason for the easy pickin’s? The concert is outside, rain or shine (“no umbrellas or chairs, though you can bring a blanket,” the box office staff advised buyers.) And Bayfront can accommodate about twice as many fans as those who filled the Amsoil Arena for the 2011 Elton John concert and Jason Aldean in March, where ticket scalping took center stage.
“Jason Aldean sold out in about 20 minutes,” Debbie Aleff, the DECC’s ticket office manager, said of how online ticket vendors grabbed mass quantities at face value, then put them up for resale at exorbitant prices.
Duluth’s Steve Holt, buying Dylan tickets, still was smarting from what he shelled out for Elton John.
“We paid $500 for that,” he said, explaining he first tried to buy them online from Ticketmaster, the official vendor, at face value.
“You’re sitting there at 10 o’clock and you push the button. You don’t like the first choice, you go back, and all of a sudden they’re sold out,” he said. “But then you go to these other vendors, and the whole arena’s open except for a few spots. Well, then you start looking and now the nosebleed sections are a couple of hundred bucks.”
Holt’s no ticket miser; he just saw the Rolling Stones in Chicago last week with tickets he got for $600 each.
“Oh, yeah. Those were the cheap ones. They had tickets (in what) they call the tongue pit, and they were like two grand.”
Still, he got pretty good seats for Chicago’s United Center, which holds 20,000, and Holt figured they’d provide some creature comfort.
“I thought this will be nice, we’ll sit,” he said. “Don’t you know? Everybody stood.”
Maybe just as well; the Stones sounded great, he said, but, “you don’t want to see them up close.”
Back to online scalping. A Google search for “Bob Dylan tickets Duluth” yields no end of hits, including one — we’ll spare the name and free advertising — blaring “40% off.”
With their cheapest going for $127, I guess they were absent the day percentages were taught in math class. The official Ticketmaster price was $80.20 online and $68 at the DECC box office.
Then there’s the outfit offering four price ranges, from $92 to $291, for the all-general-admission Bayfront. A helpful adviser named Michael G. tried to explain the higher-priced tickets to me in a live chat.
“They may include certain amenities,” he wrote between long pauses before asking if he could call me.
Turns out there are no amenities, he said in the call recorded for quality assurance purposes. The price differences are because they “just don’t want to sell out all at once,” Michael said.
“There’s only 20 tickets left (at $92),” he said. “As soon as those go, the next best is for $133.”
Before you say “liar!” consider that he may have been telling the fine-print truth: Maybe his company only had 20 left in that block.
I got my pair at the DECC for $136, and two for next week’s Chicago
show at $121; as much concert-going as I do in a year. As of Friday,
Chicago was close to selling out. Plenty were available for the Dylan
No word about amenities, though chairs and umbrellas would be nice.
Robin Washington is editor of the News Tribune. He may be reached at email@example.com.