I'm sure most all of you can sympathize with this. Whenever I go online to get tickets to see Bruce at some arena or stadium, I click the button at precisely the moment tix go on sale, and sit there watching the 'buffering' icon for 20 minutes, a half hour, 40 minutes... There've only been a few times when it worked out otherwise, and that's what I'm writing about here.
As I write this I'm looking at Springsteen On Broadway on Netflix for I don't know, the 6th time? When tickets went on sale for the, as far as I knew, only six weeks of the Broadway run, I registered for the privilege of being a potential buyer. I passed that test, and the next day I went online. Since I live just a couple hours from NYC, I decided to try for mid-week, assuming a certain large number of people would try for the weekend. I also assumed people would want to see the beginning or end of the run, so I chose a Tuesday in the middle. I got in, and found a couple seats near the front of the balcony for $400 bucks apiece, plus Ticketmaster crimes. My dear wife said she would go if I got $75 tix, but beyond that she has more sense than I do. So I got in touch with the couple friends I knew who might actually drop $400 on a ticket, and neither was able to make it. Now I'll go off on a tangent and tell you about another time.
About a year earlier, fall of 2016, I was supposed to have lunch with a friend. But I got him to postpone for a day, because tickets were going on sale for a Bruce Springsteen interview at Town Hall in NYC, an auditorium that holds 1500 people. I remember thinking how useless it was to postpone a lunch just to go online and watch the buffering icon. Got through immediately. It was later revealed that the event sold out in 6 seconds. On the day of the interview I took the train to Grand Central, and walked several blocks to Town Hall. I expected the line to be ridiculous, but it was merely long. I was maybe 4 or 5 hundredth in line. A moment after I arrived, a few other people got in line behind me. There were a couple hours until the doors were due to open, so I got sociable with the guy behind me. His name was Paul, and his interesting accent turned out to be Welsh. He came to the US in the 1960s when he was in his early 20s, and had lived on the lower east side since. We had a great time bullshitting, and the hours flew by. Finally the line started moving, and Paul asked if I wanted to sit together when we got inside (it was general admission). I said sure, and we made our way to the door, where we received our signed copies of the Born To Run book (!!).
The interview was conducted by David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. I'd read an article about Bruce by Remnick, and he revealed himself to be a knowledgeable fan and a good writer. By all accounts, it was the best interview of the several that were conducted on the publicity tour. Great time. As we left the auditorium, Paul gave me his card and said "the next time you're coming to New York give me a call."
A year later, Paul also qualified to try for tickets to the Broadway run, but had horrible luck. For hours he tried various dates and found them sold out. Shit out of luck, his disappointment was profound. The next morning he checked his email and found a message from me. "I enjoyed sitting with you last year at the Springsteen interview. I have an extra $400 ticket for the November 14 show. Are you interested?"
At the same time as the Broadway run, there was an exhibit of photographs of Bruce and the band at a gallery in Greenwich Village. We arranged to meet there. We shook hands and sat down. I said "you know Paul, I often think about luck and coincidence. I took a 2 hour train ride into Manhattan. You took the subway up from the village, and happened to arrive in line at the same moment as me. We got talking, sat together, and a year later I wrote to offer you a ticket for a show that you got frozen out of." He said "Bill, I've been telling friends about this for weeks now. How I was so disappointed about not getting a seat, only to have a guy who's pretty much a stranger get in touch the next day."