xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Yeah. Good Times.: A post about pure bliss; with a history lesson for you younguns

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A post about pure bliss; with a history lesson for you younguns

For those of you who are relatively new here to Y.GT. you might not know about my overwhelming and all-encompassing love of the Avett Brothers. In fact, in my early days of blogging, when I had first discovered them, I used to write about them all the time.  I wrote about the first song of theirs that I heard, I wrote about a song whose lyrics I wanted to analyze, I wrote simply because the beauty of their music fucking blew me away. And almost every time I said I wish I could see them live.

They've never been here, though; at least, I've never known they were coming before they actually got here. Grrrrrrr. I've fanned their Facebook page and have been bitterly watching as all these status updates go by, announcing tour dates for everywhere except near where I live. It's been rather frustrating.

I knew it would happen eventually, though, so I waited. Impatiently.  And then.... on March 28th.... I went to Facebook... and there it was....

Am.... am I dreaming? Mark Zuckerberg wouldn't try to cheat me, would he?


Actually, that was the comment I left on that very same status update.

The next step was to sign up to their email list, because people on their email list would get a secret code so they can get tickets before they actually went on sale. FUCKING SWEET. So, I did that, and I waited for my email with instructions on how to get my tickets....

.... which arrived 2 days later and told me that tickets would go on sale at 10:00am the next morning.

So the next morning, there I was refreshing and refreshing the page (because I started too early because I'm compulsively punctual) waiting for the ticket sale to start. While I was refreshing and refreshing, I noticed this:


Was this show General Admission or Reserved Seating? I actually didn't know, but I figured I would find out when it came time to pick out some seats, right? Finally the tickets were on sale and I very quickly made my purchase and my sale was complete before I even realized they hadn't asked me to pick a seat.

My email confirmation arrived at 10:01, and informed me that tickets were general admission and were available only at Will Call. I don't know if I was one of the first 30, but I had bought the damn tickets within the first minute after they went on sale, so the chances are probably pretty good, right? I'll find out a week before the show when they email with instructions on how to get inside early.

The whole thing, from start to finish, from finding out the show date to getting my ticket confirmation, took about 72 hours, and for that, I have only one thing to say.....

Child 2 was able to read this to me. THANKS, TEACHERS, FOR TEACHING HIM TO READ. NO REALLY. THANK YOU.

Now, you whippersnappers out there are probably thinking to yourselves right now "so fucking what? What's the big deal?" My god, do you have to have such a fucked up attitude? I swear.... kids these days. AmIRight????

Well, rugrats, let me tell you about how it used to be. When we had to walk to school 4 miles every day in the snow.... with open toed sandals.... and paper bags for pants.... Let me tell you how it was when I was your age.....



So, back in the day.... the late 1980's and early 1990's.... I was in college in Santa Barbara and all I was really interested in was going to Grateful Dead shows. I had a car but not a lot of money and even though they played all over the country, I was in school and could only see them when they were in California, which was maybe 6-7 times a year. This was before the internet, of course. Try to imagine a world without the internet. Go ahead. I'll wait.


So, the only way to find out when they were playing next was to call their not toll free 900 number; they had these handy dandy fridge magnets so you wouldn't lose the number. I still have mine:

Duuuuuuude. Is this, like, a collector's item now?

You would just have to keep calling and calling and calling, at 79 cents a minute, to find out when their next show would be. There was never any notice, unless somebody you knew had a friend who knew a friend who once got high with the dude who wore that shirt at that one show and did that thing for Phil, remember that? Man, that was so funny. Was his name Dave? Or I think it was Bob. Or wasn't it something weird, like Sylvester? Anyway, unless you knew Steve, you had no idea when the next shows would be announced, so you just had to keep calling.

So, they would announce these tour dates 3-4 months in advance, and then they would have mail order tickets available before Ticketmaster had them on sale, and there was this major process involved in order to get your mail order tickets. And they were very strict. Unless you followed their instructions to the letter, they would return the whole thing to you and you would have NO tickets. That's would be, like, the worst thing ever. Luckily I'm good at following directions.

First you would need 2 #10 size white envelopes. Then you would need one 3 x 5 index card. These sizes were critical, your paperwork could be no larger and no smaller.

I thought I should put a graphic here to break up the text. This is what an index card looks like, kids!
Then you would need a postal money order.... no cash... no checks..... for the exact amount of the tickets you wanted (you were limited to 4) plus whatever their service charge was. One penny too much or too little? The whole thing comes back to you.

One of the #10 size white envelopes was to be a return envelope to you, should you be lucky enough to get tickets. You had to write your name and address and nothing else. Shit, I can't remember if you needed to put stamps on it or not. You know, I'm sure you did, and more than just a first class stamp, too. Anything more or less than this? NO TIX FOR YOU!

On the 3 x 5 index card you were to put your name, your address, your phone number, the location and date of the show you wanted tickets for, how many you wanted, and how much money you were enclosing. (Do I need to say again you weren't allowed to put anything more or less than that? I think you're getting the point by now).

The whole package: index card, self addressed stamped envelope, money order... went into the other #10 sized envelope, and you had to mail it off to their PO Box in San Rafael (you were allowed to request a return receipt, at least, so you knew it actually got there).

And it was all just random chance, apparently, the way they chose who would get tickets or not. There were some rumors, like if you had a return address in the Bay Area you would have a better chance of getting your tickets. Also, if you decorated the outside of your envelope, which you actually were allowed to do, that would make it stand out in the pile and also give you a better chance of getting tickets. This wasn't necessarily important most of the time, but if it was a popular show, like New Year's Eve shows, we did everything we could to make sure we got those things!!

A sample I found online. Having no artistic ability of my own, I probably just wrote "OH MY GOD PLEASE GIVE ME TICKETS OKAY THANKS" on mine.

And then? You would wait. Check your mail every day. Wait some more. Smoke some pot and check your mail again? Wait some more. I think it took about 6 weeks and if I recall correctly (HA! Not very likely) I got my tickets every time. I think it was just luck, though.

These are the only ones that seemed to have survived the years

So now you see why the 72 hour process of today is so fucking cool? I hope you young people appreciate what you have!! A paper bag for pants is all I had.

By the way, while I was looking through my old crap, I found this picture of me from my senior prom, taken in 1988. I don't look like this anymore:

Nuthin but hair and boobs. And attitude. And alcohol. Okay, those things are still the same.

image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net