That's the ticket! Get some Stones satisfaction
With ticket prices climbing to as much as $350 each, getting yer ya-yas out on October 6 will not be cheap. But wild horses couldn't keep many fans from buying tickets this week for the Rolling Stones concert at Scott Stadium.
"I was surprised at how fast I got them," says UVA biochemistry lab specialist Kevin Cox, who nabbed a pair of $160 seats for himself and his 15-year-daughter.
"It told her she'd have to camp out at Scott Stadium," says Cox. "She's probably going to be disappointed now."
Cox was one of 13,500 UVA faculty and staff who were offered a "pre-sale" opportunity to buy tickets via an unexpected email from UVA's chief operating officer, Leonard Sandridge.
Sandridge sent the email shortly after noon on Monday, May 16, for the pre-sale that began the next day. Although University members got the early warning, emails travel quickly, and anyone using the password "cavaliers" could buy up to four tickets from ticketmaster.com. The sale runs through 9pm Thursday, May 19.
"We can't prevent that from happening," says UVA spokesperson Carol Wood. "We expect that our employees are going to get them for themselves."
Another email went out Tuesday, May 17, inviting students to queue two days later for $65 tickets at Scott Stadium.
As for the general public, they're invited to place online orders beginning at 10am on Friday, May 20. As Charlottesville residents discovered four years ago in the run-up to the DMB "Homecoming " concert, online ordering avoids waiting in line at Scott Stadium and busy signals when calling Ticketmaster.
There's certainly no avoiding Ticketmaster. The massive ticket-seller loads each ticket with its own special "convenience fee"– $15.60 for the $95 tickets and $21.80 for the $160 tickets.
Then there's shipping. Somehow, delivering slender slips of paper costs at least $14.50-$19.50 via United Parcel Service. Anyone brave enough to opt for the no-charge option– the U.S. mail– receives this dire warning from Ticketmaster: "Your tickets will be mailed to your billing address and delivered no later than 48 hours before the event in a plain unmarked white envelope." That ought to keep hearts beating nervously all summer.
Folks without a credit card or those who want to buy as many as 12 tickets can do what 4,400 DMB fans did four years ago: show up for a lottery at Scott Stadium. That was necessary in 2001 after phone order tickets sold out in 35 minutes.
The venue– expanded in a $100 million renovation completed in 2000– holds over 60,000 people for football. For rock concerts, which require a massive stage at the open end, capacity is around 50,000.
The May 20 ticket lottery is designed to discourage overnight camping since there's no advantage in arriving early. According to a release, lottery numbers will be distributed to waiting fans between 8:30 and 9:30am at the West ticket booth at Scott Stadium. Hopefuls can then buy tickets from 10am to 4pm in the order of their numbers.
If what happened last weekend is any indication, Scott Stadium will sell out quickly. A Clear Channel source says the concert at Washington's MCI Center sold out in 15 minutes, and Rollingstones.com says all available tickets in the first six markets sold out "in a matter of a few hours."
Rollingstones.com was one other early ticket-buying opportunity that began on May 17 and ends at noon on May 19.
But burning questions remain: "Are the Stones too old to tour?" "Will the Scott Stadium be filled with aging rebellious teenagers from the 1960s?"
Mike Friend, DJ at local radio station 91.9 WRNN, calls the Stones "intergenerational" and "an institution." However, he believes most of the crowd will be older than 30, people who "know who they are and what they have done."
Chuck Taylor, general manager of the UVA's radio station WTJU, claims to have heard "jokes about students saying 'Who are the Rolling Stones?'"
With ticket prices starting at $60 and climbing to $95– and as high as $350– the whole enterprise comes down to affordability.
Taylor thinks Charlottesville residents will be competing with fans from all over. He says ardent fans typically target small-town concerts, believing they're easier places to get tickets.
While the Stones might not hold as much appeal for younger generations as, say, the Dave Matthews Band, college students could be enticed to see a band that had so much influence on their parents' generation. Or– as Friend observed wryly– their grandparents'.
Fans may, however, have to forgo the pastel collars and khaki pants. As Mick has shown, leather pants can still look good– even when you're 62.
–Additional reporting by Nora Fleming
The last big wait: Scott Stadium 2001
FILE PHOTO BY JEN FARIELLO