Answers to the great ticket mystery have started to unfold. Yesterday afternoon, Music Today began trickling emails out notifying the majority of the 100,000 ticket requesters that they had been denied any tickets. It seems as though it was all or nothing, as people who got tickets seemed to get their entire request filled. This seems like a clear an attempt at preventing thousands one-ticketed fans from descending upon Hampton to try to find the other two nights. It makes sense, but if Phish thinks the Hampton lot scene will anything but a completely laughable ticketless joke, they are fooling themselves. Unlike MSG, where there is no lot, and you had to walk the streets looking for extras, Hampton has an extensive parking lot and surrounding area that will no doubt be flooded with ticketless masses.
I have only heard about four people I know getting tickets, and one of them got TWO orders filled, so she has four tickets for each night! Two other “winners” also got their whole order filled, and the third “winner,” my brother, was the only one I know to get a partial order filled, as he only got two for night three. Strictly from an observational standpoint, this system seems like an incredibly random and inequitable way to distribute tickets. Someone who has never seen Phish grabs their dad’s credit card has the same chance of scoring tickets as a loyal fan who has been seeing them for over decade, and given the band countless thousands of dollars. In my opinion, this doesn’t seem right. Rewarding some with six tickets and most with none in a random selection process seems a bit too haphazard.
I don’t have any easy answers, but this is NOT how the situation should be. Many people will wind up not going to these shows because they will be forced to pay scalper prices in order to get in. The ticket game is almost impossible to win- with the Phish allotment of tickets virtually impossible to attain; and with Ticketmaster being so entangled in ticket broker relationships that most of their allotment go directly into the hands of scalpers. Who is left out of all this? The fan! Us! It is a jacked up system that has been ingrained for so long, that it seems hard to overturn. In taking a “strong stance against scalping,” Phish doesn’t seem to care about the reality of the situation. At the very least, they could have played MSG, a venue with a 20,000 person capacity for concerts instead of the 13,800 person Mothership. That would have allowed over 50% more people to get into these shows, and they could have played Hampton the following weekend, thinking of the big picture.
The average fan entered the lottery anywhere from 1 to 10 times. When not getting tickets, they are forced to try to break the Ticketmaster log jam, which as we all know, is almost as impossible as the lottery. Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones to actually get into the server, but by the time you enter in the “code word” and information, you’re out of luck for the other two nights. With a two ticket limit put into to place to spread the love, this will also ensure that no one will have extras for these shows, forcing our average fan to confront $250-300 tickets for each night. Let’s say you have a girlfriend or boyfriend, husband or wife- now you’re looking at $1500 for the run- JUST FOR TICKETS! With the first round of tickets gone, it seems like broker prices are already starting to climb into the $300 range. Once the 18th has come and gone, I don’t even want to know what they will be charging. This has gotten completely out of control.
What is a shame, is that people who should be inside Hampton, won’t be able to enter due to these exorbitant prices. I understand that Phish only controls their allotment of tickets, but maybe it is time for them to revisit their ticket distribution model, in order to ensure that fans inside didn’t have to cancel their winter vacation to get in. My only idea right now is to go back to the original “Grateful Dead” model for Tickets-By-Mail. It seems like a no brainer. The reason why there are 100,000 requests, is because any jackass with a credit card can put in a request that matters just as much as any other. With mail order- you needed to have the cash in hand if you wanted to order tickets. If that were the case, I’d say that number of “requests” would decrease exponentially. It’s really the only way to do it. No one ever got rejected from mail order before- it was about how good your tickets would be! Although Phish had good intentions, this is a classic case of technology screwing something up that was running smoothly.
Hopefully, this is all due to the massive hype of their comeback, and when they announce further dates, there will be greater chances of getting tickets. Hopefully, they won’t announce dates one weekend at a time, a process that would ensure a repeat of this exact same predicament. Honestly, they should have announced all the dates at once so that many people could have chosen what weekends to see, lessening the white hot intensity that is focused on Hampton. But they didn’t. So, for us “lottery losers,” we need to battle an insufficient server and thousands of brokers on Saturday morning, in a virtual sprint for tickets that will inevitably end quicker than Usain Bolt’s Olympic races. There is no easy strategy here. All I can say is, think positively, and “Good luck!”- this ain’t no walk in the park.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY: 6.18.94 UIC, Chicago IL SBD < LINK
A popular favorite from the Summer of ’94, this is one that everyone has heard. One of the best shows of the tour, this first set is filled with Phish favorites, and the second set is for the ages. Peaches, “Mind Left Bowie” kicks off this epic frame, and before long, amidst a dark twisting Tweezer, the band reprises the Mind Left Body jam at the the peak of this set highlight. Pausing briefly in Lifeboy, the rest of the set explodes with an energetic YEM, and a set closing Chalk Dust. This is a classic- in soundboard form- enjoy!
I: Wilson > Rift, AC/DC Bag, Maze, The Mango Song > Down With Disease, It’s Ice, Dog Faced Boy > The Divided Sky, Sample in a Jar
II: Peaches en Regalia > Mind Left Body jam > David Bowie, Horn, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, Tweezer-> Lifeboy, You Enjoy Myself, Chalk Dust Torture
E: Bouncing Around the Room-> Tweezer RepriseTags: Comeback, Tickets