My husband HATES going to concerts. Hates em’. He has a wonderful time during the show, but before one? Forget it. It would be more comfortable having one’s testicles pounded flat with a wooden mallet than to get him to go to a concert in a good mood. So, my birthday gift this year was a ticket to see legendary director John Carpenter perform a concert in downtown Detroit. My husband would not have to accompany me. Nope. That honor was left to Little Brother.
Now here’s the kicker. I’m of the age where if there are really good seats available, I will attempt to swing the cost for one. My youth was full of nosebleed section seats—yes, I can hear you crying for me now about how awful my teen years must have been since I actually went to concerts—but stay with me for a moment. There were general seats available for John Carpenter, but then there were three levels of VIP. The third level included a closer seat to the stage, and a few goodies. The second and first levels included the chance to get to meet the man, have a picture taken with him, plus have him sign two items. Very cool! The only difference between those two levels is that the first level had a seat in the first row.
The second level was sold out when I went online to buy a ticket, so I seriously splurged for the first level. That was a $325 splurge. Not cheap. Not cheap by a longshot. And the way Ticket Master worked it out, I had to buy two tickets in order to buy any at all. Fortunately, Little Brother was more than game to go with me.
We arrived at the Masonic Temple at the appropriate time, met John Carpenter, got our bag of goodies, got our tickets, and walked up to an usher, who escorted us to our seats. Or, rather, escorted us to Row M, then motioned with her hand and informed that our seats were somewhere in that row. Okay, that was a simple mistake. We were in Row A, but it was dark, there was an “M” next to the seat number, and there were many other people waiting to be shown where their seats were. We politely informed the usher we were in Row A, and she walked us down to the front.
Our seats were 11 and 13. Apparently, the left side of the row had the even numbers and the right side had the odd. I’ve not run into this before and it doesn’t make sense to me, but, really, it doesn’t matter. What did matter is that the seat order went 1, 3, 5, 13, 15, etc. There was a section missing. Little Brother had seat 13, so I made sure he sat down, and when I asked the usher about why there was a missing seat, she looked at the ticket, the seat, the ticket, and had this to say to me: “They didn’t put enough seats here. You’ll have to figure it out.” And then she walked away.
I don’t mean to be rude, but really? My seat is missing, so I’ll have to figure it out?
So we sat and waited for the inevitable. That’s when we noticed that the air conditioning was either broken, not turned on, or barely working. It was, in two words, extremely uncomfortable, and we weren’t the only ones commenting on it. Then the inevitable did happen. Several other people showed up in the first row only to find out they didn’t have seats. Another usher managed to snag a supervisor, and they tried to puzzle where to sit the 7 of us who had missing seats.
Their first response was to suggest “We may have to seat you elsewhere.” To which we all agreed “As long as it’s in the first row, we’re good with that.” The supervisor or whoever he was who was in charge of the ushers didn’t seem to appreciate that. We weren’t being flippant, but the 7 of us made it clear that unless they were willing to reimburse us some of the cost to move us farther back, then no. They needed to figure this out. We paid $325 for a front row seat and our expectation was for the theater to make good on that.
A couple of workers showed up a few minutes later with folding chairs. The other folks were seated on the ends, one ended up in front of Row A a foot from the stage, and can you guess where they put our chairs? Directly in front of Seats 5 and 13, which remained empty. We sat in front of our original seats.
Had this been an inexpensive event and we’d only paid $20 or $30 for a seat, I realize I’d sound like a complete ass for venting about the venue. But this is a show I really wanted to attend for an artist whose work I’ve been watching for over thirty years. We paid $325 for a seat, which is not cheap. There is an expectation that there will be a certain level of quality from a venue, as well as heat or, in this case, air conditioning.
John Carpenter’s performance? Spectacular! He deserved better than the Masonic Temple, though. We all did. Lesson learned.