When bobdylan.com announced the time of pre-sale tickets for the Wizard of Hibbing’s concert next month at the Fox Theater, a refurbished movie palace, in downtown Oakland, I cleared my calendar to be at my computer. At the designated moment, I clicked. It offered me two balcony seats, above the second cross-aisle, with “possible obstructed view.” (The entire downstairs was standing room only – a possible over-estimation of the knee and hip strength of this featured artist’s audience – certainly mine and Adele’s.) So I passed -- and was informed nothing else was available..
When, two days later, Another Planet, the concert promoter, announced its own pre-sale, I cleared my calendar again. But an hour before the designated time, Adele happened to be passing through the site and learned that, through some intergalactic snafu, tickets were already selling. She clicked and was offered two balcony seats in Row U. Now, we just wanted to be inside and seated. We also knew, with Dylan, no matter where you sat, you might not be able to tell if he was singing “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” or “Hava Nagila.” “Grab ‘em!” I said. “Your password is invalid,” Ticketron said. “We will send you a temporary.” By the time it had, the seats were gone.
I had two days to fix things. I admit I am a computer nincompoop, but I clicked where I was told to click and entered what I was told to enter, and Ticketron e-mailed congratulations on my success. When tickets went on sale to the public, I was at my computer. At the designated time, I was offered two seats in Row Z. “Fine,” I said. “Your password is invalid,” Ticketron replied.
I called customer service. After being on hold for twenty minutes, a young woman (Samantha) answered. I explained my displeasure. She apologized and expressed her sorrow. I said I would be more convinced of her sincerity if she (a) fixed my password and (b) got me tickets. She told me, “Actually, you have the wrong department. I only speak to people who have tickets.” She would transfer me. I did not explain that, as far as I could tell, my nincompoopery aside, it was her company’s fault I did not have tickets and that, if I had them, I would have no need to speak with her.
After being on hold another fifteen minutes, a young woman (Ana) answered. I explained my by-now-increased displeasure. She apologized and told me how sorry she was. I expressed how much better that did not make me feel. She said she would fix my password problem. This fix entailed my receiving, moments later, an e-mail identical to the congratulatory one I had received previously. I explained my lack of confidence in this resolution. I further explained that if it had failed, I would not know this unless Another Planet announced an added concert, and my learning of this failure would mean I was totally screwed. Ana took my concern to heart. She was gone for several minutes, and when she returned, she told me I had seats in Row OO.
I was thrilled. This thrill lasted well through lunch. Then I remembered that the seating chart I had seen for the Fox Theater ended at Row CC. I feared Ana had found me two seats in another city entirely. I called Ticketmaster again. I did not get this young woman’s name. “Oh no,” she said, “your seats are in Row Z.”
So, several spikes in blood pressure later, I was back where had I begun the morning. But it the creeks don’t rise and the U.S. mail delivers, I will be reporting once again on Bob.
Causes Bob Levin Supports
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, ACLU, PEN, Berkeley Emergency Food & Housing Project.