Yesterday evening around 6 pm, a friend and I arrived at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville to see Beyonce’s Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. To say we were excited would be a huge understatement. After many months of waiting, we were finally in line (and a rather long one) to see one of the hardest-working women in show business.
After standing for around an hour, the doors finally opened and the long line began to snake its way forward. I had purchased two tickets through StubHub (a peer-to-peer ticket portal owned by TicketMaster) the day they went on sale several months ago. Although I was on TicketMaster’s website before tickets even went on sale to the general public, I was unable to get the page to load or order tickets. A check on Twitter confirmed many others were having the same problem. The concert was sold out within 20 minutes, so after reading some reviews and their guarantee, I decided to give StubHub a try.
The two tickets I purchased were for the floor – which was general admission and standing-room only – and they had been marked up from their original price of $85/each to $200/each. I have been to enough concerts to know how this kind of thing works, so I wasn’t surprised at the inflated pricing for a sold out event. I quickly received the tickets via email and printed them.
When we arrived at the door to have our tickets scanned by the attendant, we were informed that they were marked “Refunded” and that we should visit the box office for more information. I immediately understood that this was a very bad sign, so we quickly made our way to the box office inside the arena.
After showing our printed tickets to a rather nice lady inside, she motioned for her manager to come over, pointed to the name printed on the tickets (the original buyer), and the manager donned a headset to explain through the safety glass that our tickets were counterfeit and we were the third group of people to have already been declined entry for this event. She said the money should have already been refunded to my card, but I should contact StubHub for more information. She marked VOID across both tickets several times before handing them back to us.
Needless to say, we were both devastated. I asked about other tickets, and we were told there were only three tickets available – two for $509 near the stage and another one in a section much further away. I was stunned at the price, so shook my head and walked away to call Honey for his opinion.
After reassuring him of StubHub’s guarantee and being fairly certain I could get my money back, we went back to buy tickets. The lady motioned for us to wait a moment, watched another lady typing like mad into a computer, then turned back and said they now had front row seats in the side section nearest the stage available for the same price she had quoted me earlier. I know tickets are often held back by the performer for family, friends, and business associates only to be released to the public at the last minute if they aren’t filled, but I figured “front row” meant something completely different to these box office people than it did to me. Anyway, I bought them and scurried off to find a quiet place to call StubHub.
Because finding a quiet place in an arena filled with thousands of people is next to impossible, I instead called Honey again and asked him to contact StubHub for me. I gave him all of the information I thought he would need before hanging up to find a restroom. We now had assigned seats instead of having to worry about literally standing in a crowded “pen” for the entire evening, so we hung out in the lobby a few minutes before heading inside to see what kind of vantage point we had.
Much to my surprise, our seats were actually on the front row of our section. We were on the left side of the stage, but in line with the people who were at the front of the floor section. Where they were literally penned in, barely able to move, and unable to exit the area for restrooms or drinks, we were elevated, right on the aisle, and able to see the stage much better than many of them. If I was going to have to worry about whether I was getting a refund from StubHub the entire show, at least this would be the silver lining.
A few minutes into the opening act, Honey sent me a text saying StubHub was refunding the full purchase price of my original tickets and they might even offer me extra compensation for my trouble. I was beyond relieved and finally able to relax and enjoy the show.
And what a show it was! The opening act, Luke James, was very good. I had never heard of him, but he had an excellent voice and stage presence. After a 30 minute or so set, the house lights came up and rap music began blaring from the speakers. This combined with the anticipation of Beyonce threw most of the audience into party mode, and we spent the next hour dancing, laughing, and doing the wave. It was simply too much fun.
Beyonce was late getting to the stage, but she was definitely worth waiting for. You simply cannot imagine how loud the crowd screamed when she took the stage (and we pretty much never stopped screaming for the remainder of the evening.) She looked beyond fabulous; just as pretty in person as she is on television. She never stopped singing and dancing for nearly two hours. I don’t know where she finds the energy, but wow.
All in all, this was one of the most enjoyable concerts I have been to so far. Despite the fact that my voice is gone and my ears are still ringing, what could have went so horribly wrong turned out to be almost perfect.
UPDATE: I have absolutely nothing bad to say about StubHub. They were extremely courteous and professional throughout this entire experience, and went above and beyond to make sure I was satisfied. They refunded the full purchase price of the counterfeit tickets and gave me a $200 coupon to use toward a future purchase.