Monday, 24 February 2014

First time in a Springsteen lottery?...

You've got nearly 400 hungry hearts waiting to be first in line for the next Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band show and somewhere among them all is the person who will be let in first and have a split second to pick the best position in the crowd.

Previous shows started their lines days in advance with the established, tried and tested (and sometimes detested) roll call. Normally started or kept in line by a few New Jersey accents to add to its Springsteen-fan authenticity.

But for tonight, in the middle of fucking nowhere, to keep people lining up for days you're in a lottery waiting to see if the digit printed on your wristband will be first, last or anywhere in between.

For the first time on the 2014 tour of Australia, the line for a GA ticket has seemed reasonably stress free. 

Any need to get to the venue as early as possible and get a number, followed by roll call, after roll call, after roll call, has gone. Replaced by the knowledge that no matter how soon or late you join the line you could still be last in. Or first. Or second. Or Johnny (99).

So you invest a couple of hours, get what could be a middle range number in the hope it will be drawn, but safe in the knowledge that if your elbows don't rest on a barrier in six hours time, at least you had a lie in this morning.

But then comes the call.

You're told to line up in order. Soon - an hour if you're lucky - after, you hear the total number of people competing for the number one slot is 380-something. And with 329 you're hoping that if anyone else gets it other than you, they have a number higher than 250, and lower than 328.

In other words, number 330, the person behind you has - potentially - just become a total fucking bastard.

You smile at them, make a joke about how they're in for a great night if THEY get in first and you'd be OK because it's not that big a deal. But secretly you're planning on finding out which car they arrived in and letting down the tyres so at the end of the night they have more than just a bottle-necked car park to fight on the journey home.

It's when you start having these dark thoughts that you realise how stressful the Springsteen lottery has become. Despite being friendly, happy even, to people with a better number than you at dozens of roll calls on the tour, you know you would be so much happier if they were for once stuck at the back while you were front in line to strum that guitar during Born To Run and hold up an obscure sign request that blocked their view. Yeah! Fuck you Mr 6ft-4-long-haired-melonhead-in-a-cowboy-hat. Fuck you. And fuck your giant Outlaw Pete sign.

You of course try to calm yourself as the number is being drawn, and you tell yourself that the girl chosen to plunge her hand into the bucket of numbers really isn't a stupid dumbass who just wants to get on stage during Dancing In The Dark with no real appreciation for decades of great music.

She could be the greatest person alive, with a fantastic knowledge and appreciation of the Tracks boxset that you've always wanted in a woman. She could turn round and pull out your winning number, and in the victorious glow be so beautiful you ditch your real life plans and commitments to take her out, become the man of her dreams and live happily ever after with a great wedding day anecdote. Afterall, from behind she kinda looks like she's-...

Oh, there's the number. It's 350-something. You're back in a field getting sunburnt, the person several rows away is now a total bastard and the number-picker really is a Courteney Cox-wannabe dumbass. 

Meanwhile you've wasted at least 3 hours, risked the early stages of skin cancer and could really do with a drink but won't have one due to having to leave the line later to take a piss.

But it doesn't matter, right? Because at least you didn't line up for days on end in a roll call getting tense and the view will still be great, right? And of course you're here to enjoy the show and not take any of this ridiculous, immediate surge of pressure too seriously, right? 

And you're happy that another fan will get to be an active front row, centre-mic participant of the show who may have been waiting more than 30 years and hundreds of shows to be in that spot and may even have a great sign planned like Prove It All Night '78 or Incident... or maybe even Lost In The Flood, or....

- wait, is that Outlaw fuckin' Pete?!... 

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