Reader Kevin J. writes of this morning's ticket sale for U2 at Soldier Field on Sept. 12:
I know I won't be the only one bothering you with this today but I would like for someone to tell me how a 70,000 seat concert is sold out in 5 minutes. I got through to Livenation .com at 10:00 .When I got connected to Ticketmaster it was approximately 10:05. I requested $95.00 tickets, and was told none were available . The same happened within 5 minutes for every price ticket I tried. They were nice enough to direct me to an auction were I could no doubt get tickets at a higher price . I am through with any Live Nation concert. We really need Ticketmaster, and LiveNation to merge like a hole in the head.. The funniest part is I'm really more interested in seeing Snow Patrol than U2. They couldn't have sold out The House Of Blues as fast as they just sold out Soldier Field. Thanks for letting me vent.
Sure enough, I just checked on the availability of two top-tier tickets at the $250 price via Ticketmaster.com, and was directed to... this Ticketmaster auction site, which is inviting me to bid on either the "Zone Backstage Tour Experience" (starting bid: $1,515) or the plain old "Zone Experience" ticket (starting bid: $255).
Since I cannot double back in time to the official 10 a.m. on sale, there's no way of knowing if potential ticket buyers were automatically directed to the auction site while face-price tickets were still available, as was the case with the controversial Bruce Springsteen concerts. But in every other way, it seems as if Ticketmaster/Live Nation are operating with business as usual for the U2 shows, which means gouging fans for every dollar the company (and the band) can get.
And still Bono hasn't deigned to offer any public comment on the merger.
Update: A new Web site describing itself as "a search engine for tickets--think of us like Google for concert tickets," www.fansnap.com, already has nearly 1,300 listings for "secondary market sales" of U2 tickets in Chicago via scalpers using sites such as StubHub, TicketNetwork and eBay. Top price: $16,500 for a general admission floor seat.
No, that was not a typo: $16,500 via StubHub. Recession? What recession? (At the low end of the spectrum, there also are seats starting at $81.)
Update: And now Live Nation announces a SECOND U2 show at Soldier Field on Sept. 13. Tickets for that show go on sale a week from today, Monday, April 6, at 10 a.m. Hope you didn't spring for those $16,500 tickets in the time between the sell-out and this announcement!