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"One of the reasons we wrote our own songs was because we couldn't play other peoples'. We were worse than your average wedding band. But we could do our thing better than anyone else in the world." — Bono

$2,000 for Nothin': Cyberscalpers Leave U2 Fans Out in the Cold

Boston Herald
Instead of rocking with Bono and the Edge, hundreds of U2 fans were forced to "walk away, walk away" from the sold-out FleetCenter show Tuesday night when their scalped tickets proved bogus.

Some heartbroken fans broke down in tears as they were turned away clutching worthless pieces of paper they shelled out as much as $2,000 for. "There was a number of people that were just crying," recalled Matt Whelan, the FleetCenter's director of ticket operations. "There were people that didn't know what to do. They were stunned. They had come from all over the world." It took Whelan and his staff a while to figure out what was going on, but a pattern soon emerged. The counterfeit tickets mostly were computer printouts bought online from cyberscalpers. "They were devastated," Whelan said. "They have a tremendous passion for this band, and they just wanted to go in and see the show. It was really tragic for a lot of these people. They were taken advantage of." Ticketmaster's ticketFast technology allows online buyers to print out a ticket on their home printer with a unique bar code. The system is credited with helping to stymie scalpers because who in his right mind would hand over $1,500 to someone he doesn't know for a sheet of paper printed from the Internet? An unscrupulous scalper could print the same ticketFast sheet 100 times or just slap it on a decent copy machine. But the bar code scanners at the venue doors will only accept each bar code once. "I wouldn't buy a print-your-own-ticket from a stranger for 10 cents. You have no proof of anything," said U2 fan and ticket veteran Jim Holzman, president of Ace Ticket Agency in Brookline. FleetCenter spokesman Jim Delaney agreed. "On an average concert night we have zero, zilch, zip problems with counterfeit tickets," Delaney he said. "Apparently, U2 has whipped this city into such a frenzy that people are willing to take a risk." Boston police reported no scalping arrests outside the arena, and Delaney said only a handful of turned-away fans called yesterday to complain. "Sadly, I think the people that had these illegitimate tickets realized they've been had," he said.



© Boston Herald, 2005.