My thoughts on the scalp-proof system at Rams Head
First off, I want to give credit where credit is due: Landing a surprise Beastie Boys show was huge for Rams Head Live.
The Beasties are only playing two of these club shows (the other one is in Asheville, N.C.) before Bonnaroo. It's a score for Rams Head -- the Beasties are one of the biggest groups to have ever played there.
Now, a little criticism: It's obvious the club's Web site was totally unprepared to handle the volume of traffic it received when Beastie Boys tickets went on sale.
I'm sure there are ways to avoid this (Midnight Sun commenter Abject Disaster had a good point about renting space on outside servers to insure smooth ticket buying)
I'm intruiged by the "scalp-proof" ticket system Rams Head Live instituted for this show ...
Tickets could only be bought online -- not over the phone or at the ticket window.
More importantly, tickets could only be picked up at the will call window the night of the show. At Rams Head, the will call window is inside the club -- and the night of this show, there is no re-entry.
Got all that?
In theory, this makes it pretty close to impossible to scalp tickets. The downside is, if you bought tickets for this show but then something came up and you couldn't go, you couldn't scalp them on Craigslist. You'd have to suck up the cost of the tickets.
The scalp-free policy gives loyal Beastie Boys fans a chance of seeing one of their favorite bands at a reasonable price (tickets were about $40 each). Ticket scalping sites such as StubHub couldn't swoop in, snatch up tons of tickets and re-sell them for three times face value.
Of course, other loyal fans who couldn't get tickets don't have the option of buying a scalped ticket -- even for three times the original face value. And as you can see, more than a few fans are looking for tickets.
I think this is an interesting little experiment. I have no problem with scalpers (I've bought my share of scalped tickets in the past), but scalping sites like StubHub have gotten out of hand.
Rams Head's scalp-free system seems a little extreme -- especially for the average show. But for special shows like this one, I understand it.
I'm going to the show tomorrow, and I'm interested to see how the ticketing system goes. I'll check back in on this topic Wednesday.
(At top, Sun photo by Christopher T. Assaf. Bottom photo by Getty Images.)