Never Look Back (Except Now)

How to Buy Concert Tickets From a Scalper
February 21, 2006

So I'm in the Japantown parking garage, on my way to see Fort Minor in concert at the Fillmore. My friends know that I have this thing where I only listen to white rap (Eminem, The Streets), but I am branching out. Fort Minor is fronted by Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park fame—I think he's half-Japanese—and their debut album, The Rising Tied, features such catchy and confrontational tracks as "Remember the Name" and the WWII-Japanese-internment-history-lesson-disguised-as-a-hip-hop-song, "Kenji." They also have an amazing string section (!). That's right—aggressive hip-hop complemented by guys on violin and cello. I saw them blow away the audience at the MySpace Anniversary Party at Dodger Stadium in L.A. last year before anyone knew who they were. Three frat-ish guys park next to me, and one of them decides to take a piss behind a pole.

I get to the box office to discover that the show is completely sold out. Shit. And I ask myself, "How do I buy concert tickets from a scalper?"—especially since the Fillmore staff guy near the door knows that I don't have a ticket (I kept asking him about it). What would happen if I showed up at the door again with a ticket—would he bust me? But I don't even know if I would make it that far because my parents never taught me about the art of scalping.

I know enough to know that the middle-aged black men in hoodies and/or beards with signs that say "I NEED TICKETS" do not actually need tickets. I know that they are my scalpers. But how does it work? Are some of them undercover policemen? I'm scared!

So the question "How do I buy concert tickets from a scalper?" continues to burn in my mind. I need an answer, and I need it now because the show starts soon. I call Loren. No answer. I call Rica. No answer. I call Thomas. No answer. I call Gabriel. No answer. I call Brent. No answer. My friends have unwittingly let me down.

I wander back toward the parking garage, and I see an Asian dude negotiating with one of the scalpers. The Asian dude is trying to sell his extra ticket to the scalper, and they cannot agree on a price. At that point, I should've injected myself between them and said, "Hey, Asian dude, help a brother out. I need me some Fort Minor action tonight." But before I can assert myself, their deal is done. Now I wonder if I should just approach one of the "I NEED TICKETS" guys and see what happens. Police cars start to circle the block. I decide to leave.

In the parking garage, the frat-ish guys are still there, and they are just now leaving their truck. The entire garage smells like pot.

I go home. I watch the video for "Remember the Name" online, and I make it so that you can too by posting it here. I'm nice. And a little high:

[Commentary 08.07.08: I still don't know how scalping works. Anyone? Anyone?!]


  1. Some chick named Magenta wrote this in 00...

    * Don't buy from someone who looks too shady. They probably are.

    * See a copy of an actual ticket. They usually have some kind of coupon or advertisement on the back, or particular colors. A lot of the fake scalped tickets won't have the same markings because someone just made it up on their home computer, without even a prototype in front of them.

    * Wait until the last minute. You do run the risk of not getting in, or not getting the best seat. However, the scalpers are getting nervous at this point that they will not break even. They are more likely to cut you a deal.

    * Find a drunk guy who has no friends. This one worked for me one time. He was waiting for his friends who weren't showing up. He ended up selling us his Jimmy Buffett tickets for $25.00 less than he paid for them.

    Buyer Beware

    Scalping is illegal. Not only can the scalper get in trouble for selling the tickets, but so can the buyer. I have never seen this happen, but I guess it can.

    Also, it is very easy to make a fake ticket these days. If you buy a scalped ticket that is fake, no place is going to take pity on you and let you in anyway. You might have just purchased a very expensive piece of useless paper. And yes, they do check for fakes, and yes, I have seen people sent away at the gates.

  2. Mike Shinoda . . . Doug Robb of Hoobastank . . . and now, Justin Nozuka . . . damn, I missed my rock musician calling by being born two decades too soon.
    And I don't know nuthin' about how to scalp no tickets. I'm a GOOD half-Japanese boy.

  3. Jessie, thanks for the info. I think I'm still to scared to do it. I'm a good little Asian boy--unlike what Peter claims to be.