Saturday, June 19, 2010

James Taylor and Carole King in Concert - June 10, 2010, part 1

The Troubadour Reunion Tour, Wachovia Center, Philadelphia

If Amparo were to draw up a list of concerts she would like to see, I think that James Taylor would probably be number one on that list. So, when the Troubadour Reunion tour was announced with both James Taylor and Carole King, and with Mother's Day fast coming up on the calendar, getting a pair of tickets seemed like a good idea.

Well, Mother's Day came along and it turns out that getting these tickets really was a good idea. Mom was thrilled.

The stage set up was in the round, and knowing the Wachovia Center very well from our days as Flyers season ticket holders, I was pretty sure that being 11 rows back, lower level, on the curve would be good seats. That would certainly prove to be true.

In the weeks leading up to the show, I took some time to acquaint myself with some of Carole King's music. This was helped immensely by the release on CD and DVD of the actual reunion show at the Troubadour theater in LA that gave the tour its kickoff and its name. James Taylor needed no refreshing necessarily, but King's music did. I always knew she was one of these singer/songwriters who had written lots of familiar music even if her name was not perhaps as well known as it should be (at least with younger post-60's and 70's generations), but I had no idea the exact degree to which this was true. It turns out I barely knew the tip of the iceberg of what there is to be known about her. If you want to be impressed, go to King's wikipedia page and prepare to be blown away. She has countless awards, records and accomplishments to her credit, perhaps the most impressive of which is having had a hand in writing 118 Billboard top 100 hits. Yes, 118.

Soon enough, the night of the concert arrived, and with another 40,000 expected for a home Phillies sellout, along with 20,000 or so for the concert, we left plenty early. Traffic wasn't bad, and we were in our seats at 7pm for a 7:30 show. Our seats were excellent, although Amp would've liked to be in the cafe seating surrounding the stage. Hey, who wouldn't?

At about 7:30, which was billed as showtime, it was obvious that they weren't going to be quite on time, as there were stagehands still getting the instruments ready and milling about doing various things. Then something very interesting and unexpected happened: a man and his wife showed up with tickets in our row. In fact, they had tickets for our seats. The exact same seats we were already sitting in. Oops. I had my pdf printouts of my tickets. He had his pdf printouts of his. Same night. Same section. Same row. Same 2 seats. We chatted a bit, obviously confused. I was sure my tickets were good, as I had bought them myself direct from the ticket service overseeing the tour, and having gotten the email of the tickets direct to my home email. He said he had bought his tickets through a ticket agency downtown (it is a big-name reputable place whose name isn't important). I think I heard him say that he that he had paid twice face value for his tickets, which would have put his at $250 each. He went away for a little while and came back with an usher who checked our tickets, and then left, returning a few minutes later with a customer service supervisor.

So, unfortunately, with the show due to start any minute, Amp got to stay in her seat while the rest of us trudged off to the main customer service station to clear things up. I was never worried whether our seats were genuine because I had bought them from the tour's ticket vendor, but I was concerned how long and complicated figuring it all out would be. Luckily, within a matter of a few minutes, the ticket manager was able to verify through their website purchase records etc that my tickets were genuine and that the other unfortunate gentleman's were counterfeit. Apparently his were good enough fakes that he and his wife were able to get into the building. His other friends couldn't get through the main entrance with theirs...

As the sounds of the artists taking the stage reverberated through the building, I was happy to be on my way back to my seats, but sorry for the guy who paid $1,000 for 4 seats only to find out that they were fakes. As I made my way back to my seats, I overheard the ticket manager explaining to the other couple that they would have to leave the building, as they had gained entry via tickets that were now known to be counterfeits, but that they could go to the main box office and buy tickets for the show, if any were still available. be continued (with the actual show)...

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