Brian Paone

Author // Musician

Internet Killed the Waiting-in-Line Star

I used to be the master at waiting in line for tickets. I camped out for 14 hours to buy Nine Inch Nails / David Bowie tickets back in '95. I slept on the sidewalk in front of the ticketmaster. I had friends randomly bring me coffee and food throughout the night. There was a small group of about 20 of us (al strangers) who were waiting. By 0800 that morning, the line was 1000+ around the block and back. I made friends that night. I played chess with strangers, shared stories, exchanged phone numbers. I got 5th row center for the show.

I made the front page of the local newspaper because me, and group of friends, waited in line for 20 hours just to get tickets for "Star Wars Episode 1" back in '99. We slept in front of the theatre, and even got chased by security at one point, hiding in bushes to not be caught. The newspaper sent down a photographer and interviewed us because we had been waiting for so long. I still have that paper in my attic.

In 2001, I camped out for Electric Light Orchestra tickets. They have been one of my top 5 favorite bands since I was about 6-years old, and this was the first time I was going to see them live. I was first in line and got 3rd row center!

Then something happened to change all of that. The internet. I just bought "Star Wars Episode 7" tickets last wee online for a showing the day before it actually comes out. From the comfort of my home. I didn't even need to put clothes on. Sure, that's all convenient, but there was something magical about waiting in line, meeting new people, and then when the tickets were distributed, you felt you earned it. You went away with tickets and a story to tell (and maybe a few new contacts in your phone.)

It sounds like a lot of trouble camping out for tickets, but there was something very magical about it as well, that the next generation will never experience.,

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