Last Friday, one of my favorite musical artists of all time made a shock announcement: she was going to perform live, in a string of concerts at the Apollo Hammersmith in London.
KATE BUSH IS PERFORMING LIVE.
Other than a few rare guest appearances, Kate Bush has not performed live since her six-week tour in 1979. That’s thirty-five years ago, people! This is basically the Second Coming for those of us who memorized all of Kate’s lyrics decades ago. (Well, except for Aerial and 50 Words for Snow. I haven’t memorized those.)
Upon reading this earth-shattering news, I marched into our living room and informed my wife that I wanted Kate Bush tickets for my birthday. Being the perfect wife that she is, she did not hesitate to say okay.
Tickets went on sale at 9:30 this morning. I had put reminders and alarms in my computer days before, established a login name and password for Eventim, the ticket seller, perused the easyJet flights to London, and discussed flight costs and teaching schedules with my wife. Between those two parameters, the only concerts we could attend were on the last Friday and Saturday of September.
I tossed and turned last night, and was up half an hour before my alarm went off this morning. By 9:25 I was in front of my laptop with the Eventim site open in one tab, the easyJet site in another, and my 1Password credit card info ready to go.
Here is what happened.
9:29 — One minute until the tickets go on sale. My blood pressure spikes.
9:30 — The Eventim ticket site goes blank except for an image of a stage curtain and a countdown: “You are in the Eventim waiting room. You will be able to proceed in 30 seconds. 29. 28. 27…”
9:30:30 — The countdown reaches zero and…restarts! Damn, I knew it, the crush of fans has broken the ticket site. Hell, they probably broke the British Internet.
9:31 — The countdown reaches zero and…restarts again. What?!
9:31:01 — I open a new tab, quickly log in to Eventim again and finally see the list of concerts. This time the “On sale soon” lines have been replaced with green squares and the very welcome “Available starting at…” lines. I click on the concert I want, then on the ticket price I’m willing to pay, then on the seating chart. I am met with a whirling circle as the seating chart loads. And loads. And loads.
9:32 — I go back to the first tab, which has finally decided to work properly and is now showing the concert lists. I click on Page 2 to get to the concert I was trying to buy tickets for. The green square is now red, and the dreaded words “Currently not available” appear. In two minutes, that concert has sold out.
9:32:01 — I back out and go for my second choice. This one still has a green square and available tickets. I click on the concert. When the the ticket prices load, all of the cheapest ones are gone, but my price range is still showing as available. Until I click on “number of tickets,” that is, and find that my choice is — one. There is one ticket left in my price range.
9:33 — Even as I stare at this travesty, my price range blinks out and now shows as unavailable. The next cheapest tickets available are £105. That’s €126 (and $174 for US readers). I give it some thought and shake my head. Between the flight costs, the hotel costs, and now the ticket costs, that’s just too much. I love you, Kate, but I can’t be Running Up That Bill.
9:40 — Except for the supremely expensive “Hospitality” packages, the ones where you get champagne, strawberries and naked massages before being floated on a private cloud to the theatre, all 22 concerts are sold out. (The Hospitality package starts at £424.50, in case you’re interested. I really can’t figure out what the fifty pence are for.)
9:41 — The inevitable flood begins on Twitter. My favorite tweet: “Congratulations to all those who successfully got #KateBush tickets. If anyone wants me I’ll be sobbing in the greenhouse.”