Wednesday, November 4, 2009

scalp 'em!

scalp 'em is one of the politically incorrect (yet fun) "warchants" that you will hear -- 
whenever you watch the florida state university seminoles engage in intercollegiate sports.

this post, however, is about scalping tickets for last night's bruce springsteen concert.  warning: it's a long one.

above: the crowd raises its hands to support the boss,
who was born to run, workin' on a dream,
trapped, and (eventually) lifted
higher and higher...

alternative title for this post: seller's market

anyone who knows me knows that lenny gets lucky, whenever he goes to an event without a ticket.  ..he usually falls into a situation called a "buyer's market," where supply exceeds demand. buyer's market situations, scores of people will be holding up tickets (for sale), and very often the sellers will "let the tickets go" for a very reasonable price.

last night, that was not the case. ..waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.  

sidenote: what was amazing to watch -- was the scalper network..groups of professional scalpers infiltrated the area around the time warner arena, and they could sense the desperation of ticketless springsteen fans.  ..translation: if you fantasized about scalping a ticket for less than "face value," they'd literally laugh at you -- before walking away.

one guy (wearing a red jacket that said "detroit" across the chest) seemed to be coordinating 10 or more scalpers, who held up signs that said "need tickets" ...but with the intent to buy low, and then sell high..there were at least two other groups of organized scalpers, and there appeared to be several solo professionals, working the area.

initially, julie and i were confident that we'd meet happy concert-goers, and that we'd simply smile/manifest inexpensive tickets. ..we even joked about manifesting a miracle, so (after a couple of brewskis at the buckhead saloon), we ventured into the fray -- with negative results.  ..the professional scalpers had completely taken over every passageway toward the arena, and they were very aggressive about buying tickets. addition, nobody was selling (except, of course, the scalpers who wanted big-time $$$).

i couldn't believe the scenario. ..last year, getting a ticket for $20 was as easy as this:

1. hold up 1 or 2 fingers
2. allow several concert-goers to approach and offer to sell,
2. smile politely, ask politely, and politely make a deal.

to make a long story short, it was after 8pm (1/2 hour after showtime) when julie and i finally gave up the idea of making it into the concert. ..the only guy that wanted to even talk to us was the guy with the "jesus saves" sign and the microphone, who was shouting "God is the real Boss!"

we walked up to the train-stop, numb. ..of course, since we are never the types to give up, we actually crossed the tracks on a couple of occasions, walking back across the street to the arena, with the insane belief that we'd somehow run into that late-arriving couple who'd sell us two tickets before being eaten alive by the piranha-scalpers.

wrong again, and again, and again.

even the train wouldn't cooperate, as it was parked about 1/4 mile away, and not going anywhere soon.  ..the setting: just us, a girl with a box of roses, and about 30 precarious-looking individuals (the kind that you'd expect to see hovering around a train/bus station).

8:20 p.m.  ..everyone had disappeared in front of the arena.  ..even the blood-thirsty scalpers were gone, probably spending their hard-earned scalpings on scalper-scheme products, books, tapes and scalper training videos.

julie and i had both probably considered forking-over the $100 to actually pay for a ticket, but now it was almost an hour into the show!  ..we noticed that the train was finally approaching, and walked back over by the girl with the roses, who said: "are you visiting charlotte?"

un unison, we replied "nah, no... nah..."

she said: "you look like you'd like to see the springsteen concert."

i (deadpan) said: "we tried to scalp tickets, but..." and before i could finish my sentence, she said: "i've got two tickets up in my office, and nobody is using them."

and we are thinking "wwwwwwhat?" when she continued: "yeah, i work at the arena.  would you like me to go upstairs and get you the tickets?"

to make a long, long, story a tad shorter, "lael" (instead of getting on her train) took us across the street, went upstairs, and proceeded to give us the two tickets while stating "you are lucky..he got onstage at 8:30, and the show is just starting." 

a couple of ceremonial hugs later, we were seated in section 'n' (with GREAT upper-deck seats), and listening to some of the most passion-filled rock n' roll that you could ever imagine witnessing.

springsteen fans can't really explain it, but his music just touches your soul, somehow.

________________________here's how the concert went down...________________

although we missed seeing one song, "seeds," we were seated and howling by "darlington county."  ..the rest of the show was/is impossible to describe.

sidenote: "the big man" clarence clemons was masterful on the saxaphone.
it was like listening to an album, live!

after playing "hungry heart" and "working on a dream," the e-street band played the "born to run" album in its entirety (which instantly transformed everyone in the crowd into a state of 25 years ago).  ..i had forgotten how emotional that album was/is.  .."she's the one" is one of my all time favortie songs, and "meeting across the river" had me wiping tears away. 

that (in itself) would have been enough...

but then, bruuuuuuce began to take requests..the drill is that fans bring home-made cardboard signs to the show, and the boss goes into the crowd and grabs several signs, placing them one-by-one in front of the microphone stand (after showing the sign to the band).

then, he yells "one, two, three..." and, as dane cook would say, it's on!

"waitin' on a sunny day..."

everyone in attendance was spent (and in awe) after the boss sang "i fought the law," but the law won as the e-street band was just getting started. 

bruce sang "sherry darling" and "so young and in love," before bringing everyone to their feet with a special request: the band spent more than a few moments tuning-up for what appeared to be an ad lib jam-session of van morrison's "brown-eyed girl."


then... after seducing us into deep thought with "lonesome day" and "the rising," bruce finally ended with an explosion of "badlands."


but even then, he wouldn't leave the stage.

for an encore, he infused a couple of songs ("hard times" and "american land") from his seeger sessions album, and in-between, he reminded us of young love with "bobby jean." 

(smiles, ovations, lights out)

then, he said something like "we ain't done yet, charlotte!" and, as if to send the north carolina faithful home on a high note, he (literally) rocked the house with "dancing in the dark."

(collective sigh, collective primordial mantra: bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce!)
...but noooooooooooo...

because that was the point when he noticed a little pink sign, and he grabbed it out of a fan's hand, and he showed it to the band, and then he showed it to the audience: "rosalita!"


(crowd goes nuts) 
rosie had come out tonight, right here in charlotte, n.c.

the truly amazing thing was that most of these songs were more than 10-minutes each, in duration. was truly a marathon, and further proof that you never know when/if it's time to exit at the end of a springsteen concert.

alternative title: higher and higher
. the boss topped off one marathon with another marathon -- a never-ending rendition of "higher and higher" that left everyone too stunned to leave, even as the roadies were tearing down the stage after the third round of encores (and bows, and standing ovations). 

if you went to last year's performance, this year was ten-times better (acoustics, energy, theme, etc.).  ..if you get the chance to participate in this tour, play it safe and spend the $$ -- but be sure to eat your peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches before the event, because you are going to need the energy.


-and that, my friends, is the short version of this post.

so, thank you, lael, for skipping your train ride to go upstairs and bestow a birthday gift upon a couple of manifesting scorpios.


below: the set, from bruce springsteen: november 3, 2009 - charlotte n.c.

darlington county
hungry heart
working on a dream

born to run songs, below, in purple
-thunder road
-tenth avenue freeze-out
-born to run
-she's the one
-meeting across the river

waitin' on a sunny day
i fought the law (and the law won)
sherry darling
so young and in love
brown-eyed girl
lonesome day
the rising


hard times
bobby jean
american land
dancing in the dark
higher and higher

and, if you think this is abnormal, click below for two related stories:

* photo from charlotte observer's website

__________11-4-2009, after midnight_____________

 epilogue (24 hours later, and still in shock): refer to the previous post, entitled "springsteen, tonight" and drift away at the end of the video (about 3:50), to this:

"whoa-oh-oh oh oh ohhhhhhhhhhhhh... 
.....whoa-oh-oh oh oh ohhhhhhhhhhhhh...
..........hmmm-mm-mm, mm mm mmmmmmm...
..................whoa-oh-oh oh oh ohhhhhhhhhhhhh..." 


  1. Thank you my dear for a wonderful evening!
    I was hoping for that "miracle" and we sure found it...
    The night was magical as always.


  2. So...I keep going back to this post and re-reading it, and each time I am captivated once again by the "wholeness" of the night.
    Thank you for taking the time to put it all into words...and for standing there next to me all night and sharing the passion of the evening with me, it was truly incredible. The music, the magic of how our positive attitude and "allowing" brought the situation into our experience...but most of all, watching you smile and become so moved was the very best part of the night. I cannot find words enough to say how much that meant...

  3. hey, jules!

    crazy-good time.

    holographic, synchronistic, ease-y, fun, miraculous, musical, laugh-filled, etc., etc.

    thanks for the companion-ship, as we lost the scalper-battle and won, in the long run!

  4. Holy cow, just as I'm getting ready to reply to this my favorite local radio station is now playing "Outlaw Pete"! I haven't heard this on the radio in months! Can you hear me! Glad you guys saw an amazing performance! He is truly our local legend! Gotta absorb him and the band while you can! Can you hear me!


  5. almost a week later, and the songs are still playing over and over in my head.

    truly one of the GREAT concerts of all time!

    :) no outlaw pete, but an amazing array of requests and encores!

  6. wow.

    jules and i were telling jean the story of this magical night, so (just now) i turned jean on to this post, and then we listened to both of the versions of "born to run" on the subsequent link.