September 13, 2017 Katie Gainer
When Bruce Springsteen announced his residency at the Walter Kerr Theatre this winter, playing shows for the smallest audiences in decades, fans of The Boss were elated. When tickets went on sale through Ticketmaster’s tricky “Verified Fan” program and still sold out immediately, fans were furious. Those who failed to get in to see their hero in action on a Broadway stage have a lot to say about the way ticket sales went down. The following are two letters that dedicated fans sent in to the editor from the Asbury Park Press, right in Springsteen’s back yard.
“Regarding the recent ticket sales for Bruce Springsteen on Broadway (“Springsteen tickets on secondary market minutes after onsale,” Aug. 30), a big thanks to Springsteen and Ticketmaster for squashing my dreams, and the dreams of many other shut out fans.
Like so many other dedicated Bruce followers, I have been a Springsteen fan since I turned 13 years old, having attended countless shows at different states throughout the U.S. And I have been fortunate to spend summer nights at the Stone Pony when Bruce would show up and play with whoever was on the bill that night. I have also chatted with him on the streets of Red Bank, and have enjoyed a great fan/rock star relationship for more than 40 years.
Fast forward to 2017 and the announcement of his new show on Broadway. How exciting! Yes, exciting, indeed, until I have to be confirmed as a “verified fan” by Ticketmaster. Then, be put on “standby” for both rounds of ticket sales — not even given a chance to buy tickets. Isn’t not giving someone a chance to achieve their dream against the principles which guide Springsteen and which he preaches in his songs? And then to find tickets are available on third-party sites for exorbitant prices. Sorry, but some of us have mortgages to pay.
I understand the protocols were put in place to discourage scalpers. And I also understand that the theatre is small and demand is high. But not giving someone a fair chance to be part of something so spectacular has left me disillusioned and brokenhearted.
“I’ve spent almost 40 years in Springsteen fandom. Not simply a fan of the music, but just as importantly, the man, the band and the message.
These are a group of musicians that have made the bulk of their catalog with songs that pertain to the Everyman. That wasn’t what drew me in, but its most definitely what kept me there.
From what I understood, the venue for these shows was rent free/concessions to the house. Not a huge overhead compared to arena shows, so why the steep prices? I was willing to spend more; as it is a ‘unique’ experience, but it seems that the bulk of the tix fell into the $400-800 range.
We are not poor, but with a few kids in college and a full house, $1,000 is just too steep for us. Forget about bringing the kids, who are now fans in their own right.
The times are hungry for music that reminds us of our commitment to each other and reminds us that this country was built strong on the backs of the working class.
What a really crappy time for Springsteen to seemingly align himself with the small percentage of Americans that can easily afford these prices. Is this what Woody would have done? Pete Seeger? It just feels a bit disingenuous and for the first time in almost four decades, I can honestly say I’m disappointed in my guy.
You can read more about the Verified Fan program and how Springsteen handled ticket sales for this exclusive string of shows here.