"I might be a hero on stage, but off-stage I'm an anti-hero."
I Didn't Get U2 Tickets. What Now?
If you have patience and perseverance, all is not lost.
January 17, 2017
(Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article that originally ran on @U2 in January 2015.)
The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 opener in Vancouver is less than four months away. U2 fans have spent a good portion of this week and last week trying to buy tickets through fan club pre-sales and/or public ticket sales. And more will try again next week when newly-added shows go on sale.
But many fans still haven't found (or won't find) what they're looking for. Namely: a ticket to see U2.
Not surprisingly, The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 is a difficult ticket to come by. You can visit Ticketmaster and the other official ticket sale websites today and you might find tickets are still available for a few shows; but chances are pretty good those tickets will be either more expensive or farther away from the stage than you hope to be.
Meanwhile, ticket agencies and scalpers managed to get their hands on some of the best seats at every venue and put them on sale while most of us were still typing in the letters and numbers of those annoying CAPTCHAs. Frustrating, to say the least.
If any or all of that describes you, grab a seat and keep reading. The situation isn't hopeless. If you've got the persistence and determination to keep trying, you might end up with the tickets you want at the right price for the show(s) you're hoping to see.
What You Need To Know
1.) "Sold out" doesn't mean all the tickets are gone.
Live Nation (and other promoters) like to announce that a show is sold out because that's good marketing. It creates buzz and demand for future shows. When they say a show is sold out, what they mean is that all of the tickets that were made available so far have been sold. But, as I'll explain below, a lot of tickets are held out of the initial on-sale event.
2.) U2 has a history of holding back tickets to thwart scalping.
I've been online since 1994, and every U2 tour since then has played out in a familiar way: As a concert gets closer, U2/the promoter releases tickets in stages all the way up to, and including, the day of the concert. I remember standing near the box office hours before a U2 show in Las Vegas on the Elevation tour and watching as the windows opened and fans started buying newly-released tickets. Check our forum or other online communities and you'll find plenty of similar stories.
3.) Tickets often re-enter the sales system.
Promoters typically set aside blocks of tickets for promotional purposes -- i.e., radio contests, newspaper or magazine giveaways, gifts for sponsors, advertisers and other partners (the venue's season ticket holders, for example). Not all of these tickets get used, and when the leftovers are returned, they'll get put back into the ticket sales pool.
4.) New tickets might be released.
It's also somewhat common for new tickets to become available in the final days before a concert, when the stage has been installed and everyone discovers that it didn't take up as much space as expected, or it fit slightly differently than the drawings said it would fit.
5.) More shows might be added.
Live Nation has already announced additional shows in both Europe and North America. It sounds like the European tour itinerary is "complete," according to an e-mail from U2.com. But there hasn't been a similar statement regarding North America; there's a chance new shows could be announced.
What You Need To Do
Hopefully, I've convinced you by now that not having a U2 concert ticket today doesn't mean you're guaranteed to miss this year's tour. But don't get complacent and hope a ticket falls in your lap. No, there are several things you need to do in order to improve your chances.
1.) Check Ticketmaster (or the official ticket seller) every day.
If you can't check every day, check as often as you can. There's no set day or time that new tickets might get released -- it just happens, and the fans who are actively looking for tickets this way will be the ones who get to buy them. As a show gets closer, like a couple weeks away, it's wise to check several times a day.
2.) Use the @U2 Forum to find ticket sellers.
We have a dedicated section of our forum (registered members only) where fans can buy, sell or trade U2 tickets at face value. No scalpers allowed. And just like I said above in the Ticketmaster section, the more often you check for new posts, the more likely you'll be the first to find a "for sale" post for the show you really want to see.
3.) Watch the secondary ticket market.
Ticket agencies and individual sellers use these sites because they can usually make a profit by selling their tickets way above what they paid for them. Love it or hate it, the fact is that these sites offer another chance to get U2 tickets when you can't get them any other way. Ticketmaster has its own secondary sales sites, and there are also places like StubHub, eBay and craigslist. Prices sometime go down as the show gets closer and sellers start to fear that they won't find a buyer.
Important: In the U.S., Ticketmaster offers the strongest security on secondary tickets because you can't sell tickets there unless you also bought them via Ticketmaster. Once a purchase is complete in Ticketmaster's secondary service, the seller's original order is marked as "sold/resold" and the buyer is now the official owner of the tickets, complete with a new ticket number for scanning purposes. StubHub also offers a ticket guarantee, but it's not quite as foolproof as Ticketmaster's. If you buy direct from an individual via eBay or craigslist, you basically have no guarantee that the tickets you're buying are legitimate.
4.) Listen for radio contests and other sponsor ticket offerings.
There's a good chance your local rock radio station will be getting some tickets to give away in the weeks/months before the concert. Sometimes you'll have to show up at the venue on concert day, find their booth/setup in the parking lot and do something strange to show how big a fan you are. Also, sign up for the mailing lists offered by the venue and/or its sports teams -- they may have special VIP offers or other promotions that involve U2 tickets. And they might e-mail you if new tickets suddenly become available.
5.) Call/Check the box office.
If the show is less than a week away, call the box office at the venue and ask if they have -- or expect to have -- any last-minute tickets. On concert day, if you're still without a ticket, don't bother calling; just go to venue and get in line at the ticket sales window. If that doesn't work, walk around the building and look for fans selling tickets because their spouse or friend got sick or couldn't make it at the last minute. With so many tickets being sold "paperless," this last scenario is more likely to happen.
Bottom line: Yeah, it stinks to be sitting around right now without tickets to that U2 show you really want to see. But don't give up. With patience, hard work and persistence you'll probably find several more chances to score a ticket or two.
(Photo by Bethany Ann Khan used via Creative Commons license.)
(c) @U2, 2017.