How to dismantle a U2 fan: ticket presale overview

A day after ‘Bloody Tuesday’ (as our friends at atu2.com have named it) the start of U2 tickets presales for U2.com members has turned out disastrous for many of U2’s hardcore fans. Initially it seemed the EU subscribers were hit hardest, but U.S. fans fared no better in trying to obtain the ‘hottest ticket’.

We’d like to go back in time a bit and sum up pretty much everything that has happened so far, and explain why some fans have now dubbed the official U2 website “U2.con.”


The current incarnation of U2.com was initially scheduled to launch on the first of December 2004. Prior to this, various high profile U2 fan sites were contacted by Universal Music and instructed to either take down the U2 lyrics they featured on their site or face legal action. Webmasters were later told they would be able to obtain a license to publish lyrics on their sites, but so far nothing has been arranged.

The initial launch deadline was missed. When the site finally opened, fans experienced huge problems signing up for membership.

Former suscribers of Propaganda, U2’s official magazine, who were told they’d receive a 50% discount never got it and got signed up for a full $40 membership. Others got charged twice. (Fanfire, the company hired by U2 to deal with their webshop and memberships, is reportedly now succesfully addressing these issues.)

A lot of fans became members of U2.com solely because membership includes the chance to buy premium tickets during presales.

On Friday the 21st of January, Irish radio DJ Dave Fanning responds to an article in the Irish Mirror on membership problems with U2.com in his show on 2FM. He asks Sebastian Clayton (Adam’s brother who has overseen the launch of U2.com) to clarify a few things. Sebastian’s response:

“We’re still providing a really good service for free for fans, they’re getting all the news, they’re getting all the latest videos, audio, that kind of stuff. But if they (fans) want extra stuff, they can pay for it. We’re not trying to rip them off. We’re providing extra content and extra stuff. There is a cost to us, and we’re passing it along.”

“There have been a few technical problems purely because it’s been so popular. But we do have a support team online 24 hours a day, and we have been getting through all this backlog of problems people have been having.”

That same Friday, emails were sent out to all U2.com members to inform them dates would be announced that following Monday, with presales following on Tuesday the 25th of January.

In this email, it became clear the ticket presales would be limited to four tickets for any outdoor EU show, or two tickets for any indoor U.S. show, despite U2.com’s claim:

Priority Ticket Sales for the 2005 Tour // The 2005 Tour is being announced soon. It’s no secret that U2 tickets usually sell out in hours but we have secured agreement for U2.Com members to be provided with an advance window when they can buy U2 tickets at all venues before they are offered to the general public.

The e-mail also included the following:

Q – Will I get better seats than the general public? // A – U2.com have secured some of the best available tickets for U2.Com Subscribers.

D-Day arrived on January 25 10 am GMT, with European sales going belly up pretty much straight away. U2.com members who paid $40 for their priority ticketing and “guaranteed the best seat in the house” find out their presale codes are rendered invalid, thanks to timeouts on the Ticketmaster sites. Ticketmaster initially reactivates some codes, but apparently gives up at some stage (number of emails too overwhelming?).

Six hours later, tickets for gigs on the East Coast of the United States go on sale. This initially seems to be going more smoothly, until it becomes clear there are practically NO general admission tickets available at all, and the tickets that do become available are nosebleed seets at about $150 or more a pop. Some are even situated BEHIND the stage.

To make matters worse, Ticketmaster changes the floorchart while the sale is going on, so that people who think they’ve got a good view now end up having paid $300 for seats so far removed from the stage they’ll need binoculars.

Each following hour is marked by U2.com downtime from there on, and more disappointed fans around America. When the West Coast of the United States goes on sale, including the tour opener San Diego, the Ticketmaster site goes completely belly up. Users that have placed orders get server configuration errors when they want to finalise their sale.

The presale to the only Canadian date, Vancouver, seems to have been cancelled altogether without anyone getting ANY detail as to why. So far there has been no information forthcoming concerning this issue.

Pretty much immediately after each presale, tickets start appearing on Ebay at exuberant prices (over $1000) for all shows.

Later in the day, Ticketmaster Europe issues an apology to Euro fans, which can be read on U2.com. The cancelled code issue is fixed the following day, but presale general admission tickets for Brussels as well as London have now sold out. So far, Ticketmaster in the United States has not issued any statement.

An “Open letter to U2” site is put up within hours of the presales. Fans vent their frustration on our own site U2log.com, on @U2.com, but also on U2.com’s Zootopia forums. People demand their money back and some threaten to take legal action against U2.com for not providing services promised.

A number of questions arise:

  • What will be done for fans who missed out on tickets?
  • What will be done for fans who were forced to either buy crap/overly expensive tickets because they couldn’t get the tickets they wanted?
  • What will be done for people who, to their horror, found out their carefully selected overpriced “at least they’re close to the stage” tickets are now at the back of the arena, thanks to Ticketmaster changing the floor plan during the day?
  • How come general admission tickets are offered all over the place on eBay for silly money? How did these brokers manage to get tickets that were completely unavailable to the fans? What will U2.com do to fight eBay brokers?
  • Why are general admission tickets in the United States about $45, whereas they are about EUR85 in Europe and up to 85 POUNDS for the Glasgow people?
  • Will a refund be available for people who want their U2.com membership fee back?

At the time of writing this article, exactly 24 hours have passed since the presales started. It appears codes have been reset, but there is no information regarding this matter on U2.com or the Ticketmaster site.

We assume people behind the scenes must be as frustrated as we and every U2.com member out there are. The underlying problem is one of communication: promises were made that shouldn’t have been made. It should have been more clear from the outset that demand, even for presale tickets, would be far greater than supply.

We hope a workable solution to answer most people’s problems can be realised as soon as possible.

Here’s a selection of quotes from emails sent to us by fans affected by the current situation:

vik
I was a member of Propoganda since the 80’s and the service they provided was fantastic. I actually miss the paper form they sent us.

I still love U2 even though today has been a day of despair and heart break. I just hope I can get a ticket soon.

Stephen
I’m a huge fan of the band…have been for a very, very long time. Own all the records, singles, bought the freakin’ U2 iPod (when I already owned an iPod). To not be able to get even remotely decent seats on the paysite is nothing less than disheartening.

Kaitland
I’ve stayed up til 4am now (Im in Japan at the moment) trying to get tickets for the LA show and I just keep receiving a message that says “Internal system error” when I put the request through… what’s going on??

denis
[I] appreciate the European info, but about North America, we have been kicked out after 3 – 15 min getting error messages: like “bad socket” “no connection made” “internal error” since 10 am.

Morgan
In our time of need us folks here in Vancouver have been left in the dark as to when our presale has actually been slated to start. It sure isn’t 10AM local time which is at u2 have told us. Could you please post anything you know as soon as you know it because the fan site u2.com has left us out in the cold.

Nate
Your problems are not confined to Europe. There are many Southern California Members who have had problems. You can see many of there problems at craigslist.com, where they have resorted to looking for tickets from scalpers. I paid for my membership hoping to have a first crack at tickets, and I logged on at 10pm local time with my “code” and information for purchasing tickets. I proceeded to receive error messages for over an hour. Yes, I was doing everything right, and ended up finally getting tickets. I spent over $400 for 2 tickets which appear (from the venue map) to be a far distance from the stage. I have been a long time fan of U2, and am feeling very sore from the experience. U2 and U2.com OWE their fans more than this. I understand what happened this mornning was clearly unintentional. However, now is your opportunity to correct the situation. Ticketmaster has equal share in blame if not the full blame. However, simply pointing the finger at ticketmaster or ignoring the problem would be a great dishonor to the fans. Don’t forget we bought the membership from U2.com.

Jim
I can’t even tell you how much of a nightmare this is … The thing is I’m an old Propaganda person who never got the discounted code. I forked out the $40 because I want the same great seats I got with Propaganda. I just feel scammed … I love this band and have followed them for a long time. This just pains me to no end.

54 thoughts on “How to dismantle a U2 fan: ticket presale overview

  1. This is an excellent run-down of the problems. This goes to prove how much better U2log.com is than u2.com.

    Perhaps we will see a response from u2.com and ticketmaster.

  2. This is an excellent run-down of the problems. This goes to prove how much better U2log.com is than u2.com.

    Perhaps we will see a response from u2.com and ticketmaster.

  3. Not to diminish what has happened, but seriously did we expect any better? This exact same level of incompetence happened on Elevation. Does no-one remember Slane? I know this time it’s different because people paid $40. But honestly it shouldn’t have surprised anyone given U2’s appalling track record on the web.

    As for all the tickets that instantly appeared on eBay, well that happened before too. No fans managed to get GAs on Elevation and yet straight away they were being scalped.

    It’s all terribly sad and annoying that U2 didn’t learn lessons from 4 years ago. However the cold fact is that they don’t actually care. The venues will sell out regardless and they don’t care whether the audience is made from long time Propaganda fans or new Vertigo fans.

    If anything, (and I whisper this for fear of upsetting sensitive souls) they’d rather an audience full of new fans. What could they possibly gain from helping long term fans into the venues? Other than a dent in their street cred?

  4. Not to diminish what has happened, but seriously did we expect any better? This exact same level of incompetence happened on Elevation. Does no-one remember Slane? I know this time it’s different because people paid $40. But honestly it shouldn’t have surprised anyone given U2’s appalling track record on the web.

    As for all the tickets that instantly appeared on eBay, well that happened before too. No fans managed to get GAs on Elevation and yet straight away they were being scalped.

    It’s all terribly sad and annoying that U2 didn’t learn lessons from 4 years ago. However the cold fact is that they don’t actually care. The venues will sell out regardless and they don’t care whether the audience is made from long time Propaganda fans or new Vertigo fans.

    If anything, (and I whisper this for fear of upsetting sensitive souls) they’d rather an audience full of new fans. What could they possibly gain from helping long term fans into the venues? Other than a dent in their street cred?

  5. They should consider the fact that some of us long-term fans now have teen-aged kids that also want to get in to see a show! How else are these kids going to get there unless a) we buy the tix for them on ticketmaster or b) we simply don’t allow them to go by boycotting!

    Just my opinion…

    Lisa NJ makinit66@U2.com makinit66@yahoo.com

  6. They should consider the fact that some of us long-term fans now have teen-aged kids that also want to get in to see a show! How else are these kids going to get there unless a) we buy the tix for them on ticketmaster or b) we simply don’t allow them to go by boycotting!

    Just my opinion…

    Lisa NJ makinit66@U2.com makinit66@yahoo.com

  7. I’m sure they considered that. I’m also confident that both U2.com, the band, their management and Ticketmaster were fully intended to get fans the tickets they wanted in presales.

    I’ve seen enough of U2 to know they do actually go a long way to please their fans. I think we really need to keep perspective here. People on the U2 team are undoubtedly working their asses off to come up with a solution, but it won’t be easy to find one that’ll please everybody.

    General sales haven’t even started, and the eBay offers aren’t even tempting at $500 a pop. Don’t panic and rush buy tickets you don’t really want.

  8. I’m sure they considered that. I’m also confident that both U2.com, the band, their management and Ticketmaster were fully intended to get fans the tickets they wanted in presales.

    I’ve seen enough of U2 to know they do actually go a long way to please their fans. I think we really need to keep perspective here. People on the U2 team are undoubtedly working their asses off to come up with a solution, but it won’t be easy to find one that’ll please everybody.

    General sales haven’t even started, and the eBay offers aren’t even tempting at $500 a pop. Don’t panic and rush buy tickets you don’t really want.

  9. i second e´s comment.

    but i understand many fan´s absolute frustration over the chaos of the last 36 hours or so. it´s justified.

    i remember having severe problems with fanfire myself, it´s a pain in the ass how they communicate with costumers. sometimes such things reminds me of the earlier times of intetnet commerce, but well….

    same goes for the policy on U2.com. the new site is a joke, honestly. it´s well designed, but that´s it more or less. the old u2.com had a lot more to offer, the things it now offers for free (30 second video clips…!), i can do without most of it…and the argument of passing cost´s along to customers, i get a good laugh out of that. as if they wouldn´t have the means to maintain a better standard for non members.

    but again, and here i absolutely second e´s comment from above, i believe people on U2´s team are working very hard for the fans, i believe they do care, and i hope they will learn something fundamental for their organisation process from the situation right now, not only the ticket chaos, but also the website and fanfire.

    cheers, bernhard

  10. i second e´s comment.

    but i understand many fan´s absolute frustration over the chaos of the last 36 hours or so. it´s justified.

    i remember having severe problems with fanfire myself, it´s a pain in the ass how they communicate with costumers. sometimes such things reminds me of the earlier times of intetnet commerce, but well….

    same goes for the policy on U2.com. the new site is a joke, honestly. it´s well designed, but that´s it more or less. the old u2.com had a lot more to offer, the things it now offers for free (30 second video clips…!), i can do without most of it…and the argument of passing cost´s along to customers, i get a good laugh out of that. as if they wouldn´t have the means to maintain a better standard for non members.

    but again, and here i absolutely second e´s comment from above, i believe people on U2´s team are working very hard for the fans, i believe they do care, and i hope they will learn something fundamental for their organisation process from the situation right now, not only the ticket chaos, but also the website and fanfire.

    cheers, bernhard

  11. I was lucky and got GA to Philly but feel for all the fans that got screwed. I dont know why they couldnt release more GA with all the complaining since the real sale date is not till saturday. This is a misrepresentation especially to the Propaganda members who paid for a full membership before it was discontinued and never got their subscription filled and then had to pay 20 bucks more for this. So how long must we sing this song……….
    Wish they talk to Pearl Jam about the right way to do tickets for their fan club. And membership is only $15 and you get a vinyl single each year.

  12. I was lucky and got GA to Philly but feel for all the fans that got screwed. I dont know why they couldnt release more GA with all the complaining since the real sale date is not till saturday. This is a misrepresentation especially to the Propaganda members who paid for a full membership before it was discontinued and never got their subscription filled and then had to pay 20 bucks more for this. So how long must we sing this song……….
    Wish they talk to Pearl Jam about the right way to do tickets for their fan club. And membership is only $15 and you get a vinyl single each year.

  13. I’ve totally given up on U2.con (I like that). I’m cancelling my membership. I’ll email FanFire and tell them I want a refund, and after they don’t reply (Does FanFire even check their emails?) I am going to contact my credit card company and cancel the payment. I feel that I am well within my rights to do this as U2.Con has in no way delivered on what they have promised. I would do the same thing with any other company that took my money and did not deliver the product.. Don’t see why U2.Con should be any different. If I decide to go to a U2 show this year I will take my chances with the general public onsale.. The U2 FanClubbing is an absolute waste of money and time. U2.Con is vastly overshadowed by dozens of excellent U2 Fansites that provide fantastic content and somehow manage to do this even without having to pass along the hosting costs to their fans at $40 a pop. One thing is for sure, I will never, ever join another U2 FanClubbing. They burned me with my Propaganda membership and they burned me with this ridiculous joke. I hope U2 enjoys playing to a front row full of wealthy businessmen who managed to pay for the scalped tickets on eBay and will likely leave halfway through the show. And Bono thought it was bad when people were buying popcorn and t-shirts in the middle of PopMart shows…

  14. I’ve totally given up on U2.con (I like that). I’m cancelling my membership. I’ll email FanFire and tell them I want a refund, and after they don’t reply (Does FanFire even check their emails?) I am going to contact my credit card company and cancel the payment. I feel that I am well within my rights to do this as U2.Con has in no way delivered on what they have promised. I would do the same thing with any other company that took my money and did not deliver the product.. Don’t see why U2.Con should be any different. If I decide to go to a U2 show this year I will take my chances with the general public onsale.. The U2 FanClubbing is an absolute waste of money and time. U2.Con is vastly overshadowed by dozens of excellent U2 Fansites that provide fantastic content and somehow manage to do this even without having to pass along the hosting costs to their fans at $40 a pop. One thing is for sure, I will never, ever join another U2 FanClubbing. They burned me with my Propaganda membership and they burned me with this ridiculous joke. I hope U2 enjoys playing to a front row full of wealthy businessmen who managed to pay for the scalped tickets on eBay and will likely leave halfway through the show. And Bono thought it was bad when people were buying popcorn and t-shirts in the middle of PopMart shows…

  15. Judging from past experience with Propaganda, etc, I doubt the fan community as a whole has ever been high on U2’s agenda. As people, the band are courteous and exceptionally friendly towards fans they meet on the road or outside their studio, but as a business, I don’t think fan relations are regarded top priority. There’s a lot of things this band does well, making great records for example, and not posing for Hello or leading a tabloid life. But fanclub stuff? Was crap, is crap, will always be crap. I guess we’ve got to live with that and accept that being fans for 20 odd years does not and will not ever mean we have a right to tickets or any other favours more than other fans. Maybe this band should just shy away from the whole fanclub, membership and presale idea.

  16. Judging from past experience with Propaganda, etc, I doubt the fan community as a whole has ever been high on U2’s agenda. As people, the band are courteous and exceptionally friendly towards fans they meet on the road or outside their studio, but as a business, I don’t think fan relations are regarded top priority. There’s a lot of things this band does well, making great records for example, and not posing for Hello or leading a tabloid life. But fanclub stuff? Was crap, is crap, will always be crap. I guess we’ve got to live with that and accept that being fans for 20 odd years does not and will not ever mean we have a right to tickets or any other favours more than other fans. Maybe this band should just shy away from the whole fanclub, membership and presale idea.

  17. I guess I’m just ignorant on my U2 history. I keep reading posts about Propaganda being rubbish as well, and I find it suprising. My only complaint with Propaganda is that U2 killed it before completing my subscription and didn’t offer a refund or anything decent like that. I thought the magazines, cds, and tour ticket handeling were fabulous and I never had a problem with them.

    I was wishing that they’d just bring Propaganda back, but maybe I agree with you Caroline.. Perhaps they should just avoid FanClubbing all together.. I know I’d be a much happier U2 fan right now if I had never signed up for their fanclub.

  18. I guess I’m just ignorant on my U2 history. I keep reading posts about Propaganda being rubbish as well, and I find it suprising. My only complaint with Propaganda is that U2 killed it before completing my subscription and didn’t offer a refund or anything decent like that. I thought the magazines, cds, and tour ticket handeling were fabulous and I never had a problem with them.

    I was wishing that they’d just bring Propaganda back, but maybe I agree with you Caroline.. Perhaps they should just avoid FanClubbing all together.. I know I’d be a much happier U2 fan right now if I had never signed up for their fanclub.

  19. what i want to know is how are people getting and selling tickets on ebay for shows that have not even had their presale yet, mainly Phoenix, AZ…i thought u2.com members had priority. i guess we dont. what a rip off.

  20. what i want to know is how are people getting and selling tickets on ebay for shows that have not even had their presale yet, mainly Phoenix, AZ…i thought u2.com members had priority. i guess we dont. what a rip off.

  21. Dear God. I have just received confirmation that my code has been reset, only to find that the ticketmaster site is STILL not working!!!
    If I access the site following the links on the ticketscamster notification email, I am directed to the same page I accessed before, telling me that I have not come to that link via the correct url !!! Therefore still unable to purchase tickets….
    No doubt my access code will be invalidated as soon as I try to re-access the ticket page.
    Words fail me…

  22. Dear God. I have just received confirmation that my code has been reset, only to find that the ticketmaster site is STILL not working!!!
    If I access the site following the links on the ticketscamster notification email, I am directed to the same page I accessed before, telling me that I have not come to that link via the correct url !!! Therefore still unable to purchase tickets….
    No doubt my access code will be invalidated as soon as I try to re-access the ticket page.
    Words fail me…

  23. Sarah, did you turn off any firewall software you may have? (Norton?)

    And yeah, Caroline hit the nail on the head with the band being great for fans as people, but the dealing between, say, Principal Management and the fanbase as a whole always seems to have been difficult, with a certain level of paranoia that’s just slightly odd.

    For the record, I’m not saying fans have no right to complain… God, no, of course you do. But at the same time, I’m willing to give these chaps a chance to make it better.

    As for eBay, I think a few of these scammers are just trying it on, without having actual tickets in their hands. Not sure if that’s true, but that’s just the way I see it. They’re just confident they’ll get tickets anyway. Even if they have tickets though, if no one buys them (and who would at $500), demand will go down, and so will the ticket prices. On the day itself there’s always tickets available from fans who bought too many… just trust me on this one.

  24. Sarah, did you turn off any firewall software you may have? (Norton?)

    And yeah, Caroline hit the nail on the head with the band being great for fans as people, but the dealing between, say, Principal Management and the fanbase as a whole always seems to have been difficult, with a certain level of paranoia that’s just slightly odd.

    For the record, I’m not saying fans have no right to complain… God, no, of course you do. But at the same time, I’m willing to give these chaps a chance to make it better.

    As for eBay, I think a few of these scammers are just trying it on, without having actual tickets in their hands. Not sure if that’s true, but that’s just the way I see it. They’re just confident they’ll get tickets anyway. Even if they have tickets though, if no one buys them (and who would at $500), demand will go down, and so will the ticket prices. On the day itself there’s always tickets available from fans who bought too many… just trust me on this one.

  25. Caroline and Tacoma are both completely right. I’ve been a fan of / involved in one way or another with this band for 19 years. I’ve seen it all. When I was 14 I thought their fan policies were swell ’cause I’d never been that big of a fan of another band before to compare. When I was in college and I started to see what accommodations Aerosmith, Pearl Jam, Springsteen and later DMB and Smashing Pumpkins make for their fans, I realized U2 was barely saving face with their offerings.

    The truth here is Bono is self-admittedly “like a preacher stealing hearts in a traveling show.” He DOESN’T WANT us in the front anymore, because we are the ‘already converted’ ones. He, and the band, and management, are counting on the idea that we diehards will love them and buy whatever they sell no matter what or where. Who they want down front are those casual fans you mentioned above — the ones who like the band alright, but haven’t quite been indoctrinated enough yet to buy ALL the CDs, DVDs and merchandise… those who have some interest in the band but aren’t fully converted yet. The thought there is if they can get hold of their hearts and minds the way they’ve gotten hold of ours already, all the better for U2.

    They think the newer/younger their audience is, it will be like a fountain of youth for the band itself. Do you (speaking to my fellow fans en masse) not get that? Bono is always on about being the “biggest band in the world.” Well they/he can’t be the biggest if they just keep proselytizing to the same crowd that already believes in the gospel of U2. To be the biggest you must keep growing beyond the rest. In order to grow you have to reach new converts/casual fans and solidify them. It’s self-serving beyond belief. And that wouldn’t be so bad, in the context of rock’n’roll, if it weren’t for the fact that this band built their reputation on not being completely self-serving, but on actually caring about people as individuals. It seems now to them fans are just sales figures, and that is a very sad development.

    No, the days of Bono sleeping on the hotel room floors of U2 fans couldn’t last forever. But there’s no reason that the benefits of Propaganda/the fan club/U2.com (whatever you want to refer to it as today) couldn’t remain as high quality as the original Propaganda concept (where you could at least get 4-8 tix and they were almost without fail in the first 10 rows from the stage) was in 1984 and indeed all the way through the Zoo-Tv tour. When the quality of the Propaganda membership benefits starting taking a serious hit was in 1997 — the same time that U2 decided to take the step of selling off ownership of their entire tour. (For what other reason than financial security, of course.)

    Does no one here make the connection between what happened in Boston (screwing over the most diehard fans who’d waited in the queue all night, in favor of more casual fans from the back of the line) – and the fact that the diehard members of the fanclub have been given access to almost none of the closest tickets (the GAs) and that even when the tix sale software worked well enough to offer us seated tix, they were generally in the upper bowl and/or back of the arena?

    This is not rocket science people. This is very obvious. It’s just that on June 6, 2001 in Boston it happened to a handful of diehards. On January 25, 2005 it happened to 95% of us electronically.

    ~Patty

  26. Caroline and Tacoma are both completely right. I’ve been a fan of / involved in one way or another with this band for 19 years. I’ve seen it all. When I was 14 I thought their fan policies were swell ’cause I’d never been that big of a fan of another band before to compare. When I was in college and I started to see what accommodations Aerosmith, Pearl Jam, Springsteen and later DMB and Smashing Pumpkins make for their fans, I realized U2 was barely saving face with their offerings.

    The truth here is Bono is self-admittedly “like a preacher stealing hearts in a traveling show.” He DOESN’T WANT us in the front anymore, because we are the ‘already converted’ ones. He, and the band, and management, are counting on the idea that we diehards will love them and buy whatever they sell no matter what or where. Who they want down front are those casual fans you mentioned above — the ones who like the band alright, but haven’t quite been indoctrinated enough yet to buy ALL the CDs, DVDs and merchandise… those who have some interest in the band but aren’t fully converted yet. The thought there is if they can get hold of their hearts and minds the way they’ve gotten hold of ours already, all the better for U2.

    They think the newer/younger their audience is, it will be like a fountain of youth for the band itself. Do you (speaking to my fellow fans en masse) not get that? Bono is always on about being the “biggest band in the world.” Well they/he can’t be the biggest if they just keep proselytizing to the same crowd that already believes in the gospel of U2. To be the biggest you must keep growing beyond the rest. In order to grow you have to reach new converts/casual fans and solidify them. It’s self-serving beyond belief. And that wouldn’t be so bad, in the context of rock’n’roll, if it weren’t for the fact that this band built their reputation on not being completely self-serving, but on actually caring about people as individuals. It seems now to them fans are just sales figures, and that is a very sad development.

    No, the days of Bono sleeping on the hotel room floors of U2 fans couldn’t last forever. But there’s no reason that the benefits of Propaganda/the fan club/U2.com (whatever you want to refer to it as today) couldn’t remain as high quality as the original Propaganda concept (where you could at least get 4-8 tix and they were almost without fail in the first 10 rows from the stage) was in 1984 and indeed all the way through the Zoo-Tv tour. When the quality of the Propaganda membership benefits starting taking a serious hit was in 1997 — the same time that U2 decided to take the step of selling off ownership of their entire tour. (For what other reason than financial security, of course.)

    Does no one here make the connection between what happened in Boston (screwing over the most diehard fans who’d waited in the queue all night, in favor of more casual fans from the back of the line) – and the fact that the diehard members of the fanclub have been given access to almost none of the closest tickets (the GAs) and that even when the tix sale software worked well enough to offer us seated tix, they were generally in the upper bowl and/or back of the arena?

    This is not rocket science people. This is very obvious. It’s just that on June 6, 2001 in Boston it happened to a handful of diehards. On January 25, 2005 it happened to 95% of us electronically.

    ~Patty

  27. I dont think we can make too many excuses for U2 here. I dont believe the members were directly responsible however. Management is greedy, and we all know that McGuinness is a successful (i.e. shrewd) businessman. I remember at Perth Popmart Bono was complaining about the A$160 ticket prices in the press conference. He said the real fans missed out on the front row seats, and he had to reach out to the upper levels that were going off. It was as if he wasnt aware of it all till after the gig when the questions were asked. Considering the massive operation that staging a tour is, the band can only ‘react’ to things they see done that they dont approve of. And I bet they didnt expect this travesty. I do think the band members should comment on this issue however to gain some faith back in their disheartened fans. U2 is a big empire, and its easy for the band members to lose control of what is going on below them. After all they are not managers, but simply Rock and Roll doggies!! (Although Adam did consider himself the manager in the early days, using fancy words like ‘gig'”

  28. I dont think we can make too many excuses for U2 here. I dont believe the members were directly responsible however. Management is greedy, and we all know that McGuinness is a successful (i.e. shrewd) businessman. I remember at Perth Popmart Bono was complaining about the A$160 ticket prices in the press conference. He said the real fans missed out on the front row seats, and he had to reach out to the upper levels that were going off. It was as if he wasnt aware of it all till after the gig when the questions were asked. Considering the massive operation that staging a tour is, the band can only ‘react’ to things they see done that they dont approve of. And I bet they didnt expect this travesty. I do think the band members should comment on this issue however to gain some faith back in their disheartened fans. U2 is a big empire, and its easy for the band members to lose control of what is going on below them. After all they are not managers, but simply Rock and Roll doggies!! (Although Adam did consider himself the manager in the early days, using fancy words like ‘gig'”

  29. “have you ever had the feeling that you’ve been cheated?”

    First, I guess I have to apologize for being so non-trendy and unhip that I care about seeing U2. I had gotten worn out with the hype, but then I went to Brooklyn, for old times’ sake, and it was…

  30. “have you ever had the feeling that you’ve been cheated?”

    First, I guess I have to apologize for being so non-trendy and unhip that I care about seeing U2. I had gotten worn out with the hype, but then I went to Brooklyn, for old times’ sake, and it was…

  31. Eamonn, the reason that everything in the U2 business process takes so long is because nothing happens without all four band members signing off on it. That is one of the reasons that Mother Records eventually folded. They (U2) wouldn’t even let one of the baby bands signed to the label release a single without all four members of U2 signing off on the artwork for the baby band’s single. The baby band’s artwork would end up chasing the mega band around the world via FedEx and this caused great delays to the release schedule for Mother Records, etc.

    If the members of U2 micro-managed the artwork for a baby band’s single (for a record label that was essentially just a tax write-off for U2, Inc. anyway) — you can bet your arse that they were completely involved in Propaganda and what Propaganda has become. [And the words I would use to describe what Propaganda has become are not suitable for all ages, so I will refrain from typing them here.]

  32. Eamonn, the reason that everything in the U2 business process takes so long is because nothing happens without all four band members signing off on it. That is one of the reasons that Mother Records eventually folded. They (U2) wouldn’t even let one of the baby bands signed to the label release a single without all four members of U2 signing off on the artwork for the baby band’s single. The baby band’s artwork would end up chasing the mega band around the world via FedEx and this caused great delays to the release schedule for Mother Records, etc.

    If the members of U2 micro-managed the artwork for a baby band’s single (for a record label that was essentially just a tax write-off for U2, Inc. anyway) — you can bet your arse that they were completely involved in Propaganda and what Propaganda has become. [And the words I would use to describe what Propaganda has become are not suitable for all ages, so I will refrain from typing them here.]

  33. Boy am I glad I didn’t pay the $40! Hopefully we’ll be able to get some GA tickets when they go on sale to the general public. In the mean time DON’T ANYBODY BUY SCALPED TICKETS!!!!!!
    If we all refuse to pay for them, there will be no market. NOBODY SHOULD EVER HAVE TO PAY EVEN ONE PENNY OVER FACE VALUE FOR A TICKET! Please, tell everyone you know not to support scalpers. We are the greatest fans in the world, we have the ticket exchange (which worked wonders for me on the last tour) and if we all work together and help each other out we should all be able to see a show, and have good seats.
    Sidenote: anybody know why the North American dates are so spread out? Are they planning to fill in those holes with additional shows, or does Bono actually need 8 days in between shows to rest his voice?

  34. Boy am I glad I didn’t pay the $40! Hopefully we’ll be able to get some GA tickets when they go on sale to the general public. In the mean time DON’T ANYBODY BUY SCALPED TICKETS!!!!!!
    If we all refuse to pay for them, there will be no market. NOBODY SHOULD EVER HAVE TO PAY EVEN ONE PENNY OVER FACE VALUE FOR A TICKET! Please, tell everyone you know not to support scalpers. We are the greatest fans in the world, we have the ticket exchange (which worked wonders for me on the last tour) and if we all work together and help each other out we should all be able to see a show, and have good seats.
    Sidenote: anybody know why the North American dates are so spread out? Are they planning to fill in those holes with additional shows, or does Bono actually need 8 days in between shows to rest his voice?

  35. 1) U2 AND PRINCIPLE SHOULDER SOME OF THE BLAME.
    IN THE PURE BUSINESS SENSE, U2 IS A ‘BRAND’- THE
    BRAND GETS TARNISHED IF IT IS NOT PROPERLY TAKEN CARE OF.

    2) EDGE’S KID IS SICK. THE TOUR DATES HAD TO BE
    CHANGED. THAT’S WHERE THINGS MIGHT HAVE GONE WRONG LOGISTICALLY, WHERE THE ‘PARASITES’ (SCALPERS) PROBABLY TOOK ADVATAGE.

    3) LET’S HAVE SOME PERSPECTIVE. GIVE THE BENEFIT
    OF THE DOUBT… WOULDN’T IT BE NICE TO
    MAKE UP AT A U2 GIG?

    4) U2.COM NEED TO ACCOUNT FOR THEMSELVES AND BE
    CLEAR- JUST WHAT’S THE $40 NOW WORTH?TICKETMASTER ARE THE ONLY LARGE-SCALE DISTRIBUTION GAME IN TOWN AND ARE CLOSE TO MONOPOLY STATUS. THEY DON’T CARE.

    5) IF YOU ARE UPSET, DO NOT PREACH TO THE CHOIR.
    SIGN A PETITION OR COMPLAIN TO THE RIGHT
    OUTLETS. BONO SAYS WE WOULD TELL THEM TO
    FUCK OFF, AND HE USES THE FAN BASE AS HIS ONLY
    LEGITIMATE REASON TO RAP WITH THE POLITICIANS. AND WHAT KIND OF A FAN BASE IS IT IF WE DON’T ACTIVELY DO SOMETHING TO VOICE OUR DISAPPROVAL ANYWAY??

    6) ARE YOU REALLY UPSET? THAN DO SOMETHING!

    7) THINK POSITIVE. WHO IS TO SAY THINGS WON’T
    WORK OUT?

    8) EDGE’S KID IS SICK. AUNG SAN SUU KYI IS STILL
    UNDER HOUSE ARREST. DARFUR. DEATH OVER CHEAP
    MEDICINE. YOU MAY STILL GET YOUR TICKETS, ONE
    WAY OR ANOTHER ETC…ETC…ETC..

    9) WHAT’S UP PAT LYNCH FROM ARTANE, DUBLIN 4!

    10) I HOPE U2 DOES NOT CHOSE SPONSORSHIP ON THIS TOUR. I HOPE EDGE’S KID GETS BETTER, AND I HOPE THEY DUST OF THE ELECTRIC CO. BECAUSE MY TV IS SHOWING THE WORST THINGS I HAVE EVER SEEN…

  36. 1) U2 AND PRINCIPLE SHOULDER SOME OF THE BLAME.
    IN THE PURE BUSINESS SENSE, U2 IS A ‘BRAND’- THE
    BRAND GETS TARNISHED IF IT IS NOT PROPERLY TAKEN CARE OF.

    2) EDGE’S KID IS SICK. THE TOUR DATES HAD TO BE
    CHANGED. THAT’S WHERE THINGS MIGHT HAVE GONE WRONG LOGISTICALLY, WHERE THE ‘PARASITES’ (SCALPERS) PROBABLY TOOK ADVATAGE.

    3) LET’S HAVE SOME PERSPECTIVE. GIVE THE BENEFIT
    OF THE DOUBT… WOULDN’T IT BE NICE TO
    MAKE UP AT A U2 GIG?

    4) U2.COM NEED TO ACCOUNT FOR THEMSELVES AND BE
    CLEAR- JUST WHAT’S THE $40 NOW WORTH?TICKETMASTER ARE THE ONLY LARGE-SCALE DISTRIBUTION GAME IN TOWN AND ARE CLOSE TO MONOPOLY STATUS. THEY DON’T CARE.

    5) IF YOU ARE UPSET, DO NOT PREACH TO THE CHOIR.
    SIGN A PETITION OR COMPLAIN TO THE RIGHT
    OUTLETS. BONO SAYS WE WOULD TELL THEM TO
    FUCK OFF, AND HE USES THE FAN BASE AS HIS ONLY
    LEGITIMATE REASON TO RAP WITH THE POLITICIANS. AND WHAT KIND OF A FAN BASE IS IT IF WE DON’T ACTIVELY DO SOMETHING TO VOICE OUR DISAPPROVAL ANYWAY??

    6) ARE YOU REALLY UPSET? THAN DO SOMETHING!

    7) THINK POSITIVE. WHO IS TO SAY THINGS WON’T
    WORK OUT?

    8) EDGE’S KID IS SICK. AUNG SAN SUU KYI IS STILL
    UNDER HOUSE ARREST. DARFUR. DEATH OVER CHEAP
    MEDICINE. YOU MAY STILL GET YOUR TICKETS, ONE
    WAY OR ANOTHER ETC…ETC…ETC..

    9) WHAT’S UP PAT LYNCH FROM ARTANE, DUBLIN 4!

    10) I HOPE U2 DOES NOT CHOSE SPONSORSHIP ON THIS TOUR. I HOPE EDGE’S KID GETS BETTER, AND I HOPE THEY DUST OF THE ELECTRIC CO. BECAUSE MY TV IS SHOWING THE WORST THINGS I HAVE EVER SEEN…

  37. You guys make very good and well-articulated points about old fans vs. new. So the question becomes…what do we as hardcore U2ers do? I’ve lived and breathed this band for 11 1/2 years and seen them at least 10 times over the course of the last two tours. But at this point, I question if I’ll even attend any shows this time around. It stuns me that I could feel that way, but of course I’m not alone.

  38. You guys make very good and well-articulated points about old fans vs. new. So the question becomes…what do we as hardcore U2ers do? I’ve lived and breathed this band for 11 1/2 years and seen them at least 10 times over the course of the last two tours. But at this point, I question if I’ll even attend any shows this time around. It stuns me that I could feel that way, but of course I’m not alone.

  39. icantstandupyouwontsitdown, nice points, but we can hear you, dude, what’s with the shouting?

    The two mantra’s of painless fandom:

    1. “Heroes always let you down”
    2. “Trust the art, not the artist”

    Both of these were taught to me by a hero and an artist. They have served me and still serve me well. It means I can enjoy the music, and can believe in it, without ‘believing’ in its makers. (Maybe it helps I’ve never met the band and let their sweet Irish boy manners beguile me)

    With respect to tickets: technically presales were crap, but they are working out now. Ticketmaster fixed the codes for us Euros and now at least some and hopefully a lot of us have got enough tickets for ourselves and to swap around. Personally, I’m sorted for two shows now and know there will be more. Mantra number 3, which I taught myself:

    3. “There are ALWAYS tickets”

    People, fans, don’t rely on the band to help you out with tickets. Rely on each other, and your own resources. We’ll see what we can do in setting up a place to help each other and swap tickets. There’s also ETS! They sell ticket + accomodation + transportation package deals. Hang in there and see what they’ve got on offer.

  40. icantstandupyouwontsitdown, nice points, but we can hear you, dude, what’s with the shouting?

    The two mantra’s of painless fandom:

    1. “Heroes always let you down”
    2. “Trust the art, not the artist”

    Both of these were taught to me by a hero and an artist. They have served me and still serve me well. It means I can enjoy the music, and can believe in it, without ‘believing’ in its makers. (Maybe it helps I’ve never met the band and let their sweet Irish boy manners beguile me)

    With respect to tickets: technically presales were crap, but they are working out now. Ticketmaster fixed the codes for us Euros and now at least some and hopefully a lot of us have got enough tickets for ourselves and to swap around. Personally, I’m sorted for two shows now and know there will be more. Mantra number 3, which I taught myself:

    3. “There are ALWAYS tickets”

    People, fans, don’t rely on the band to help you out with tickets. Rely on each other, and your own resources. We’ll see what we can do in setting up a place to help each other and swap tickets. There’s also ETS! They sell ticket + accomodation + transportation package deals. Hang in there and see what they’ve got on offer.

  41. IT GETS WORSE….

    LOOKS LIKE IVE BEEN DOUBLE CHARGED ON MY VISA… THATS 2 sets of 4 tickets when I bought one set. 600+ pounds!!!

    We can see the charging mechanism on ticketmaster still works

  42. IT GETS WORSE….

    LOOKS LIKE IVE BEEN DOUBLE CHARGED ON MY VISA… THATS 2 sets of 4 tickets when I bought one set. 600+ pounds!!!

    We can see the charging mechanism on ticketmaster still works

  43. I had no trouble getting through to Ticketmaster but the only tickets offered were behind the stage in either the lower or third tier. However, after one and one-half frustrating hours, I was finally given the chance to buy 2 lower tier tickets near the side of the stage. This was after Ticketmaster claimed that lower tier tickets were no longer available. Since there was only a two minute window in which to buy them, I rushed to finish the process, only to find that I had to have a Ticketmaster account. Arghhhh. I don’t think I ever typed faster, as I hurried to create the account in time. Did they warn us that a Ticketmaster account was necessary? I’m also worried because I’ve been reading that the maps of the stage at different venues have been changed. I relied on the event map provided at the site and will be very angry if the tickets turn out to be turkeys after all that effort.

  44. I had no trouble getting through to Ticketmaster but the only tickets offered were behind the stage in either the lower or third tier. However, after one and one-half frustrating hours, I was finally given the chance to buy 2 lower tier tickets near the side of the stage. This was after Ticketmaster claimed that lower tier tickets were no longer available. Since there was only a two minute window in which to buy them, I rushed to finish the process, only to find that I had to have a Ticketmaster account. Arghhhh. I don’t think I ever typed faster, as I hurried to create the account in time. Did they warn us that a Ticketmaster account was necessary? I’m also worried because I’ve been reading that the maps of the stage at different venues have been changed. I relied on the event map provided at the site and will be very angry if the tickets turn out to be turkeys after all that effort.

  45. I was thoroughly pissed on Tuesday when I ended up with 2 upper tier nosebleeds in Philly for $120 but after hearing other horror stories I am happy that I got ANY tickets.

    I am willing to give the band the benefit of the doubt to some extent if the fiasco was indeed caused by technical issues with the Ticketmaster site.

    However, unless Ticketmaster and U2 find a way to make this right (at minimum a refund of the fan club fee and a free T-shirt voucher) I think a little organized retaliation is in order. Here are a few ideas:

    1. All fan club members who were lucky enough to get tickets should refuse to buy any concessions or tour merch at the show. Hit them in the wallet as hard as they hit us.

    2. A “BOO U2” campaign. Get large groups of fan club members to loudly boo the band during the show.

    3. Take large posters to the show with messages like “Screwed by U2.com”.

    I expect to get ripped off by scalpers and Ticketmaster, but not directly by the band I have loved for years.

  46. I was thoroughly pissed on Tuesday when I ended up with 2 upper tier nosebleeds in Philly for $120 but after hearing other horror stories I am happy that I got ANY tickets.

    I am willing to give the band the benefit of the doubt to some extent if the fiasco was indeed caused by technical issues with the Ticketmaster site.

    However, unless Ticketmaster and U2 find a way to make this right (at minimum a refund of the fan club fee and a free T-shirt voucher) I think a little organized retaliation is in order. Here are a few ideas:

    1. All fan club members who were lucky enough to get tickets should refuse to buy any concessions or tour merch at the show. Hit them in the wallet as hard as they hit us.

    2. A “BOO U2” campaign. Get large groups of fan club members to loudly boo the band during the show.

    3. Take large posters to the show with messages like “Screwed by U2.com”.

    I expect to get ripped off by scalpers and Ticketmaster, but not directly by the band I have loved for years.

  47. I’d personally feel like a right plonker doing any of the above. I mean, I already feel like a plonker over the way ticket sales are happening, but actually admitting to it is another thing altogether.

    Nah, I’ll just wear a Bowie shirt or something and pretend I know nothing of ticket sales trouble. Keep my cool 😉

  48. I’d personally feel like a right plonker doing any of the above. I mean, I already feel like a plonker over the way ticket sales are happening, but actually admitting to it is another thing altogether.

    Nah, I’ll just wear a Bowie shirt or something and pretend I know nothing of ticket sales trouble. Keep my cool 😉

  49. How does general admission work? We are going this weekend at the Key Center in Seattle. What time should we get on line to get decent floor seats???

  50. How does general admission work? We are going this weekend at the Key Center in Seattle. What time should we get on line to get decent floor seats???

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