Now that the dust is settling on my frantic journey around Australia and New Zealand in pursuit of Leonard’s concerts, I’m finally getting some time to reflect back on each of the twelve individual performances I was lucky enough to attend.
One of the few things that I find inexplicable about my various concert-going experiences is the extreme variability in the quality of the tickets I was able to obtain to each of the different shows (and here I mean quality in terms of the location of the seating). Why should this seem strange? Well, because I bought all of the tickets in exactly the same way — via the exclusive “member only” pre-sales offered by the Frontier Touring Co.
For various reasons (which I won’t go into here), I missed out on buying tickets through the “fan club” sales offered by the Leonard Cohen Forum — this was a shame, the fan club seats were generally excellent, at least from what others have told me. Because I missed this offer, I thought I should buy my (many) tickets via the next best method — the touring company pre-sales. Armed with my personalised code from Frontier, I dutifully hovered over the ticketek and ticketmaster websites on the days when pre-sales opened, and pounced mere minutes (or in some cases, seconds) after sales had begun, buying the best class of seating available. So, you’d think that given this approach, I would have scored tickets that were either consistently great … or at least consistently alright.
Don’t get me wrong … overall I’m certainly not unhappy with most of the seats I was allocated … but I’d have to say I’m surprised at the high level of variability in terms of location. Yes, I did manage to score one pair of front row tickets (to Auckland, Night 1) … and three or so that were around row 5. But most were more like 18 to 25 rows back from the stage. And in one case my allocated “Gold Class” seat was so far back that I counted only seven rows of seats between me and the very back of the auditorium. So … a bit of a lottery, really. Not what I expected.
Conversely, in talking to other folks who had bought their tickets via far less “exclusive” methods (i.e., just waiting until ticket sales opened to the general public and hovering over the ticket vendor’s site), many of those were able to score far better seats that I’d obtained via pre-sales. In some cases I spoke to people who’d happily scored front-row centre tickets via general sales several days after I’d bought my pre-sales tickets in row 8.
All of which makes me wonder about the whole pre-sales thing … specifically, is it worth it? The pre-sales allocation blocks certainly aren’t the “best available” tickets … and if you’re going to “hover” over the website on opening day, maybe it’s better to hover over general sales? I’d have to say, if I did it all again (and couldn’t go the fan-club route, which was by far the best to buy tickets to these shows), I would probably skip pre-sales all together.
But, as they say, YMMV 🙂