By Alfred Branch, Jr.
Van Halen may have figured out a way to put the “diamond” into Diamond David Lee Roth’s nickname.
Following the lead of Beyonce and Lynyrd Skynyrd/Hank Williams, Jr., it appears that the veteran rockers may be scalping dozens of tickets for their upcoming 2008 shows, based on a review of Ticketmaster’sTicketExchange website. The band’s current tour, featuring the return of Roth on vocals with Eddie, Alex and Wolfgang Van Halen, has been one of the top-selling tours all year, according to TicketNews’ weekly ranking of leading concerts.
For a March 17, 2008 show at Madison Square Garden, for example, tickets were being offered on the TicketExchange for as high as $2,885 a piece for some premium seats. Tickets went on sale for the show at 10am today, but these seats, and dozens of others, were up on the TicketExchange in less than 10 minutes after the general onsale, which would appear to be impossible unless the tickets were withheld from the public and posted separately. Traditionally, bands, promoters and venues play around with tickets for shows, making them available in waves or withholding them outright for complimentary or other purposes.
“It’s impossible for those tickets to be from anyone but the artist and promoter,” said one ticket broker who observed the onsale. “They were up on the exchange within minutes.”
Since there is no distinction of where the tickets came from, there is no guarantee they were posted by Van Halen, but the quickness in which they appeared on the TicketExchange provides some insight. In addition, most of tickets were listed in pairs, threes and fours, which would indicate they were doled out in blocks.
The tour is promoted by Live Nation, and Van Halen is represented by Front Line Management, which Ticketmaster’s parent company IAC/InterActiveCorp bought a controlling interest in earlier in the year. High Profile Media’s Jamie Liszweski, spokesperson for the band, did not respond to questions concerning Van Halen and the tickets.
“If you’re going to do it [auction tickets], do it, but don’t then claim your seats are only $150,” the broker said. “Just say you’re selling VIP tickets for more and sell them.”