I remember the first time I saw him in concert. It was in the 1980's and my whole family went to Tampa to see him perform. My dad had us leave before the last songs played to get a jump start on the traffic. Since those years, I've learned Billy ALWAYS has ended every one of his shows with "Piano Man". That's how you know its over.
I remember when I saw him in concert with Elton John at the MCI Center in 2002. Heather and I froze to death while waiting in line for tickets to go on sale. We were there by 5:00am to get good seats. Gosh I love this girl who is always up for the crazy ideas. I remember a few years later when Billy came back to concert and this time Jeff and I went to see him. I think between the Orlando area and the Washington DC area, I've seen Billy Joel in concert five, maybe six times over the past 30 years. And it's never been the same tour.
As big of a fan as I am and for all the "camping out" overnight or getting up ridiculously early to stand in frigid weather to get tickets, I've never scored really decent seats. Oh boy I've tried. I've tried working the ticketmaster phone lines while standing in line at Hecht's (remember when they sold concert tickets?!?!?). I've tried working the online ticket website while working the ticketmaster phone lines. I've given it my best shot but somehow always fell short. That is until now.
Billy Joel is back on tour. He will be playing Nationals Park Stadium on Saturday, July 26th. Tickets went on presale for American Express cardmembers starting at 10:00am on Tuesday, January 28th. Um, hello? Amex cardmember? I've been in training for this moment being a proud carrying cardmember since I was 16.
I was all ready to go once 10:00am came around. I was working at the preschool, but like I've mentioned before I can multi-task with the best of them. I had the browser open and I was watching the clock ready for the magic moment. Once 9:59am turned into 10:00am, I went into action. Only no action was happening. It wasn't pretty. The website wasn't letting me in. While continuously hitting the refresh button, I started working two phones dialing for help. I called Amex from the preschool office phone and meanwhile, called Tickets.com and Nationals.com from my cell phone. Nope, no one could help. It all had to be done online only. Meanwhile, I got up to make copies and took my cell phone with me, I was still on hold waiting for tickets.com to answer. It is now 10:38am and I am beyond frustrated. I make it back to the desk and begin calling everyone again (Amex, Tickets.com and Nationals.com) while still refreshing the website. I even logged out, re registered with the website and tried to get back in. No such luck. They all feel sorry for me, but can not help. Tickets for this presale can not be sold over the phone no matter what.
FINALLY at 11:44am, I make it through the initial webpage and can now pick my price level for tickets and the quantity. I already knew I wanted the highest price point to get the best seats. I click the box for $124.50 a ticket and click "2" for the quantity. The next screen tells me that all of these tickets are no longer available and my next best option is for the $99.50 tickets. Ugh! It's section 210, Row D so it isn't that bad, but I am not a happy camper. I buy the tickets (with a $50 service charge!!!! WTH!?!?!?) and get a $47 parking pass. $301 later and I have my tickets to see Billy Joel. I am happy I'll get to see him, but disappointed in being in the 2nd tier at the stadium.
Once dinner is over and the dishes are washed, I go online and see what seats are now available. I just can't let this go. This is where the obsessive part of my personality takes over and perserverance goes into high gear. I come across a section on tickets.com that says "Amex Perferred". I click thru and find that I am now offered floor seats. Section 3, row 22. Really. And these tickets are the $124.50 I wanted earlier. OMG! My heart starts racing and I can't believe what I am seeing. Let me show you the seating chart.
YES!!! THAT'S SECTION 3 ON THE FLOOR!!! WOO-HOO!!!
RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE STAGE.
I can't let these tickets go. No way! Do you see how amazing these seats are?!?!? I am front and center -- just a mere 22 rows back from the stage. OMG!! I've never gotten this close before for a concert. So I do it. I buy another set of tickets. Another (this time it's $59) service charge. And another $47 parking pass.
Jeff has been amazing through this whole process, and fortunately has kept his sense of humor as my concert ticket total spending is now topping $665. He actually loved our Section 210 seats. He is now worried that it will be too loud down by the stage, that he won't have good access to the concession stand or the bathroom. Jeff may as well go see Tony Bennett with how old he is acting. But I love him dearly and I want him to enjoy the concert. I know I'll have a great time in Section 210...but to be on the Floor, near the stage for my favorite performer ever is something I can't pass up. I seriously don't see an opportunity like this ever happening again. And believe me, I've tried very hard each and every time I've seen him in concert to get the very best seats I can.
I go on Craiglist and see about listing a set of the tickets (and parking pass!) I bought. I find an entry from a guy selling floor seats for section 12 at $425 a piece. Are you kidding me!?!?! I have much better seats than section 12. I can't believe he is selling them for that much. Geez, I could make some serious money here. And I could make Jeff very happy (not just the profit from selling the tickets, but also because we'd be in his fave Section 210 seats). Then I see a listing for the upper tier seats at $250 a ticket. Again, another nice little profit could be made even on the $99.50 ticktes. Enough to cover either set of tickets we decide to keep and then some.
I am tempted to go back on the Website and buy another set of floor seat tickets, simply to sell at a crazy mark-up. As I contemplate this outloud, Jeff is already convinced we will be stuck with all 4 tickets and both parking passes. He sees us going to the concert, taking our awesome seats on the floor and then when he's had enough of the noise (or needs to use the bathroom), he goes to visit our seats in Section 210. Since we have two parking passes, we can drive in separate cars and he can leave when he's completely had enough.
I know I tend to get carried away and decide against buying anymore tickets. But it took me another 20 minutes to come to that conclusion.
I decide to wait on listing the tickets on Craigslist. There really is no rush. I know this concert will sell out and as we get closer to the date, the value for these tickets will only go up and up. It doesn't even open to the public for ticket sales until February 1st and the floor seats are now impossible to get -- even the ones in the way, way back like sections 9 and 12. Yes, I keep checking.
I go to sleep very happy. The next morning I can't wait to tell my fellow preschool workers I was able to score tickets 22 rows from the stage. They were with me during my big disappointment the day before. I already have a taker for the Section 210 tickets. I am not going to inflate the price, but simply sell it for face-value. I have no need to be greedy and why not enjoy the experience with friends. Plus, when Jeff has had enough now, he can switch places with my friend and hang out with her husband in Section 210. :)