I am a huge P!nk fan. I love her strength and her powerful voice. So when I heard she was coming to Vancouver in May 2018, I was really excited! Tickets from the venue would be $60 to $260 and would go on sale this week.
Verified Fan Presale
Ticketmaster planned a presale using their new Verified Fan system which per their website “was designed to separate actual, human fans from bots and scalpers… who are in the business of taking away tickets from fans just so they can resell them. Our technology analyzes every registrant to make sure they are real people interested in going to the show.”
To become a Verified Fan, you sign up using your Ticketmaster account and corresponding email address. The hope is to get a code in advance to buy up to 4 tickets during the October 10 presale. I dutifully signed up and received a confirmation email. Apparently, though, demand exceeded presale supply, and I was not randomly selected to receive a code. Not to worry, I thought. There would still be the actual ticket sale on Friday the 13th.
The New Album
In the meantime, I found out that P!nk’s new album, Beautiful Trauma, would also drop on October 13th. As soon as I woke up that morning, I bought it on iTunes. By 2:15 p.m., Beautiful Trauma was #1 on the Worldwide iTunes Album Chart according to Pop Crave. I love this album, and it has been on continuous play for me since I downloaded it! I find myself getting lost in her beautiful voice and honest lyrics while moving to the beat.
P!nk’s last mainstream album was 2012’s The Truth about Love, which was disappointing compared to the earlier I’m Not Dead or Funhouse albums in spite of the popular “Try” single. 2014 saw her releasing a folk record, You+Me, with Canadian singer-songwriter Dallas Green of City and Colour (former singer for post-hardcore band, Alexisonfire). That album was okay, but even for someone like me who really likes the folk genre, it was kind of missing something.
So, needless to say, P!nk’s new album has been greatly anticipated. The October 13 album release was preceded by three singles, including the hit, “What about Us”, released in August. That song is a heartfelt plea that can be interpreted as being about something as focused as the state of a relationship or as broad as the state of the world in today’s political climate.
P!nk’s songs for the album were co-written with a variety of writers and involved a number of producers. Still, Beautiful Trauma has a cohesive feel. P!nk brings an intensity of emotion to the lyrics and the soaring vocals, with many of the songs honestly questioning the ups and downs of a marriage or one’s place in the world. Her trademark and sometimes crass humour makes an appearance in “Revenge”, a rap with singing, which features Eminem.
Songwriter and pop singer Julia Michaels (“Issues”) co-wrote two songs on the album. “Barbies” is reminiscent of the wistful feel of some of Funhouse‘s songs, with the wish to be back “playing Barbies in my room” instead of dealing with increasingly adult responsibilities. The other Michaels collaboration, “For Now”, is more pop and in it, unfortunately, P!nk uses some of the vocal tricks demonstrated in Michael’s recent hit “Uh Huh”, instead of relying on her own unique stylings. To me, the weaker songs on the album are the straight pop/dance songs that have little more than a catchy beat and a hook, such as “Secrets”. The more powerful songs are the ballads over simple instruments or orchestration (but still with a beat) or the torch-type song, “You Get My Love”, which closes the album by showcasing P!nk’s range over simple piano.
Friday the 13th Ticket Sale
So getting back to my attempt to buy concert tickets, Friday rolled around and I opened my Ticketmaster app, automatically accessing my account and my Visa card details. I searched up P!nk and got myself all set up and ready to go. As 10 a.m. approached, my excitement rose as Ticketmaster’s digital display counted down the minutes and then seconds to the on-sale time for P!nk tickets. At 10 a.m., the display requested that I “Please wait while the screen refreshes”. After a few seconds, I was prompted to put in my request for 2 tickets of “best available”.
Lo and behold… there were absolutely no tickets available from the venue! Only “verified resale” tickets, ranging in price from $350 to $1,700+ per ticket, were available! And in fact, as of today, there are even tickets showing at over $10,000 apiece — good luck with that!
How does this happen? Do scalpers set up a whole whack of Verified Fan accounts and buy up all the tickets during presale? That’s my guess. Because, truly, I don’t understand otherwise how all tickets can be gone when the app refreshes at 10 a.m. I also discovered that I am not the only person upset about this. According to The Vancouver Sun, during P!nk’s Twitter Q&A on Friday, many Vancouver fans tweeted her and asked how this could have happened. To be fair, this is not in the artist’s control, but perhaps the fan outrage will prompt some action in case a future show is added. According to radio station News 1130, “promoters of the Beautiful Trauma tour are suggesting all the best seats were snapped up because there’s ‘high demand.’” Hmm. I don’t think so.
The Good Old Days
I remember back in the good old days, we would sit with landline phone in hand, with all but the last digit of the Ticketmaster phone number dialed up, ready to press the final digit at 10 a.m. Then we would keep pressing redial until we finally got a Ticketmaster agent. My husband and I got 8th-row floors to a Stones concert during their Steel Wheels Tour that way. Would it help to go back to the old-fashioned methods? It would certainly create more jobs, although it might raise ticket prices to cover the wages. And what do you want to bet that the scalpers would figure out a robo-dial scheme that would still get them all the tickets.
So I guess I will have to content myself with listening to the Beautiful Trauma download and watching videos of TV performances like this one of “Glitter in the Air” from the 2010 Grammy’s. If you haven’t seen this, it is a Cirque du Soleil style performance of singing while suspended and spinning water through the audience. Magical!