U2's "Joshua Tree 30" is likely the biggest rock tour of the year, so when tickets for the Sept. 5 show at New Era Field go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday, you can expect a bit of a log-jam.
Various fan club presales are likely to make things a bit trickier, if you're hoping to get either the best seats or the least expensive tickets. Prices range from $39.50 to $295.50 and tickets will be available through livenation.com, ticketmaster.com or by phone at 800-745-3000.
Here are a few tips to get you through the often arduous process of grabbing tickets as soon as they go on sale.
I don't belong to any special clubs or have advance access. All I have is a modem and quick fingers. Any tips for improving my chances?
Be ready early. Have your credit card info handy. These tickets are likely to fly. And if you happen upon tickets that strike you as only so-so, don’t assume that you can comparison shop. Grab 'em.
With so many customers competing for the same seats, it can take literally seconds for available tickets to disappear.
Which website would be smarter: LiveNation or Ticketmaster?
Both lead to the same portal, which is the Ticketmaster site. They are essentially identical in terms of speed and availability of tickets.
I know the state was trying to do something about Bots and their effect on ticket availability. Will those efforts make a difference Monday?
It's unlikely that you'll notice much difference. Bots are not the main problem here. The real issue in terms of ticket availability is the preponderance of fan club presales, and the fact that Buffalo Bills season ticket holders get first dibs. That means that a lot of the best seats and general admission areas will be snapped up prior to the general public sale. Secondary market resale and speculative ticketing play into this, too.
However, there is a six-ticket limit for the general public on sale, and a four-ticket limit for fan club presale, and New Era Field is massive. The scenario will most likely not be as brutal as it was when Paul McCartney played KeyBank Center, and all the tickets evaporated within minutes of going on sale. There are thousands more tickets to go around.
If I get through, should I even try to get inexpensive tickets or should I bite the bullet and get the best available seats?
I suppose that depends upon your level of fandom. A friend sent me a message saying "I can’t pay those kinds of prices for the best seats, unless they plan on dragging Robert Johnson out of the ground to make a special appearance."
He makes a fair point. I don’t think any concert is worth more than $200 a ticket, and I was lucky enough to catch the original "Joshua Tree" tour several times for what I seem to recall was something like $30 a ticket.
So maybe I'm being a bit of a snob, but still – I find it insulting that the collapse of recorded music as a means of making money for artists has been passed on to us as concert-goers. We're paying the difference. It's gross.
That said, yeah, bite the bullet and go for it. I opted out of dropping the dough to catch Prince in Toronto last year. That turned out to be a mistake. As my colleague Colin Dabkowski says, "Concert tickets are never a waste of money."
Will I be able to see anything from the cheap seats?
You'll have a nice view of the massive video screens. Brutal truth.
I used to wait in line for concert tickets. Do they even sell tickets at the venue anymore?
Yes, at the same store where they sell 8-track tapes. Seriously, that ship has sailed seemingly for good.