With the release of Trey’s fall tour shows, the ticket game has once again commenced. Trades, sales, brokers, miracles, service charges, convenience fees- all those things we haven’t considered for four years are back again. Message boards and Craigs’ List sites are filled with offers to buy, sell, and trade. Trey tickets have now made it to EBay for fan bidding wars, while many ticket broker sites have significant allotments of tickets. There are two specifically sought after tickets on this tour that have been focus of the many transactions and requests- Roseland and Higher Ground. Roseland, originally slated for Port Chester, NY, sold out in minutes on the day of pre-sale, and with the heightened interest from many New Yorkers, the Ticketmaster release didn’t last much longer on Friday.
Higher Ground is a different story. With a capacity of only 500, these tickets were gone faster than Port Chester for pre-sale, and to make it even harder to obtain, there were no further online sales for this show. The only way of snagging tickets was in Burlington, at the Higher Ground box office on Friday morning, with a limit of two per person. A friend of mine went down an hour early, but people had been lined up since 3 am for the release. No dice. Clearly a special show in Phish’s hometown, as well as a benefit for Trey’s Seven Below Arts Initiative, a program to fund and advance arts education in Vermont, this show is hyped as a Burlington family and friends event with endless Phish possibilities.
With both of these shows now sold out, broker tickets are going for Roseland between $90-200, while Higher Ground tickets are anywhere between $200-$400. One question I have been pondering- with the exclusivity of the Burlington release, how do scalpers have all the tickets? It just doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense. A counterargument to this overall ticket conundrum would be, “These are all small venues- there just aren’t that many tickets.” Yes, I hear that, but this is mostly an extended regional crowd trying to grab these few tickets for Trey on his special comeback tour, not the totality of Phish nation. That would be another monster.
What does this all foreshadow for obtaining Phish tickets when they do come back? First of all, they are going to be expensive. These Trey tickets, when all said and done, were $50 bucks out the door. You figure that Phish could easily charge $75 bucks with charges included; no questions asked. It may be less, but it may not be. Combined with the increasing cost of gas these days, for both cars and planes, touring in a post 9/11 world looks to be considerably more expensive than it was back in the day. And then there is the incessant ticket demand- the demand that the brokers feed off of. Everyone remembers the comeback shows at MSG and Hampton- those tickets were nearly impossible to get your hands on, flying out of brokers hands for anywhere between $300-500 each. Are we heading for a scenario like this for the upcoming return? Possibly. This is why it is important for Phish to choose their comeback wisely. But regardless of their decision, I doubt that Phish is going to step on stage at a festival in front of 90,000 people for their first show back- so prepare yourself to play the ticket game once again.
In 2003 and 2004’s comeback, brokers played a major part in the ticket distribution for all shows, often scooping up most of the tickets on release day and then reselling them for far over cost. The demand for Phish tickets will be greater than ever- there is now a whole generation of Phish fans who have never even seen the band live! And while this may mean good business for scalpers, it means major headaches for all of us. Oh, how I long for the days of postal money orders and the traditional mail order system. At that time, you needed the cash in hand to mail order, and if you did, you were rarely denied. This was largely because there weren’t 20,000 teenagers using their parents’ credit cards flooding the pre-sale system trying to score tickets like today. With the advent of technology, scoring tickets has actually become more difficult- pretty counter-intuitive isn’t it?
Anyhow, as transactions continue to take place from now through the end of Trey tour, we will not only be preparing ourselves for the musical return of Phish, but also the return of strategizing, scheming, and figuring out how to secure your stubs for entry into the grandest musical theater on earth. It’s all part of the game of Phish; get ready to play again!
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
On their smoking west coast Sping ’92 run, Phish stopped in at one of San Francisco’s most storied venues for the first time. Making their debut at the 2,200 person Warfield Theatre, Phish played a keeper. Following an all-star first set comprised of all classics, Phish leapt even deeper into the fray with the second set. As the theatre’s curtain opened, revealing Page’s brother lying in a bathtub onstage, the band ripped into their new song “Brother” as Phish crew members continuously jumped into the tub! Classic. Also featuring a YEM, Fluffhead, and Tweezer, this widely circulated soundboard recording gives you a clean and crisp snapshot of Phish amidst one of their most revered old-school runs.
I: Runaway Jim, Foam, Sparkle, Stash, I Didn’t Know, Cavern, Reba, Maze, Bouncing Around the Room, The Landlady, David Bowie > Catapult > David Bowie > Catapult > David Bowie
II: Brother, You Enjoy Myself, Fluffhead, The Squirming Coil, Tweezer, Uncle Pen, Cracklin’ Rosie, Tweezer Reprise
E: Golgi Apparatus