Friday, July 4, 2014

How to get good concert tickets

NKOTBSB, 5th row

I'm not an expert in many things, and I don't have a lot of hobbies. But one thing I have gotten interested in in the past few years is concerts. Even though it goes completely against my nature (I don't like crowds or loud noises much), nothing quite compares to the feeling you get when you see live music. So I've been to quite a few concerts in my life.
Good concert seats are notoriously hard to get...or are they? Seems like it's next to impossible to get those coveted seats that allow you to make hand babies with the band's lead singer (or at least have them not look like ants). When I first began my venture into concert-going, the seats I usually got were decent, but not the best. As I've gotten more experienced, I've learned a few tricks along the way for how to get the best seats in the house (or at least really good ones). Since I don't have many other areas of expertise (and since I'm knee deep in concert ticket watch for a show I'm going to in September), I thought I'd share a few tips.

- Reevaluate your definition of "good seats." Everyone knows the best seats in the house are front row center. Right? Wrong. A lot of people who have had floor seats for major stadium shows (including me) will tell you there's nothing quite like the atmosphere of being on the floor. You get a feeling and closeness you just can't get from sitting in higher level sections.
But with seats extremely close to stage, there are disadvantages. If you're short like me, it can be difficult to see sometimes. And unless you're in the sections directly surrounding the stage, sometimes elevated seats might be better if your priority is being able to see. I've known people who gave up floor seats for this reason -- they wanted to be higher up so they could watch the show without their neck getting sore. So floor seats can be great, but sometimes there are better options.

- Be patient. In recent years, due to school and work schedules, I've had to wait until the last minute to get tickets to shows I didn't even know if I'd be able to attend. 9 times out of 10, I end up getting great seats. Every single time I've gotten tickets months in advance, I ended up with seats that were decent, but could have been much better.
I think a lot of people are afraid that if they don't get tickets the second they go on sale, they'll sell out. But Ticketmaster usually releases more seats as the show gets closer, and I've pulled up really good seats for some shows long after tickets went on sale -- sometimes just days before the show. And even if you can't find seats on Ticketmaster, there are plenty of good resale sites out there. Stubhub is the only one I've used, but I really like it, and I know a lot of other people who do too.

- Do your homework. Ticket resale sites bring up another reason why it's important to wait. If you search for tickets a few months before a show, they'll be listed a ridiculous prices -- sometimes three times over face value. I've seen front row seats for $2,000. But as the show gets closer, not only do these prices go down, but more people might list their tickets. I got 5th row seats once on Stubhub a week before a show for just a few dollars over face value.

Any other tips for getting great seats at a concert?