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Tickets sell out; students sold out
By Anthony Lederman
The Independent Florida Alligator — Thursday, January 11, 1990
The waiting is the hardest part for those camping out in the cold.
Although the 9,100 tickets for this month’s Tom Petty concert sold out within five hours Wednesday, a promise to give students the best seats fell through.
Graduate student Lindsey Reider, the first person in line at the University Box Office, waited almost 20 hours for tickets — only to get 21st-row seats.
Just before the tickets went on sale, Reider, an exercise physiology major, said the wait for Petty was worth it.
“I have never seen him before and I really wanted to see him — and I wanted to do it right,” he said before he got his tickets.
But after leaving the box office with seven tickets, Reider was livid.
“It doesn’t make any sense. That’s ridiculous. That’s bullshit!” Reider said.
Reider didn’t get front-row seats before there was confusion at the box office about how many tickets he wanted and where he wanted to sit, Student Government Productions Chairman Raul Mateu explained. During those few seconds of discussion, other TicketMaster outlets in the state began selling tickets.
Mateu promised Sunday that students would get “premiere” seats if they bought tickets through the box office at Constans Theatre in the Reitz Union.
“We heard that the Constans Theatre was the place to get good seats,” law student Chris Puleo said. “I don’t think they know what the hell they’re doing.”
Students didn’t get the best seats because the contract between SGP, the University Box Office and TicketMaster calls for tickets to go on sale at the same time throughout the state, Mateau said. Shows usually aren’t so popular and SGP can start selling tickets earlier than other outlets in the state or reserve good seats for the students and “no one would fuss,” Mateu said.
SGP announced Sunday that tickets would go on sale on 10 a.m. but Mateu said it decided to move the time up an hour Tuesday because he anticipated a long line.
Since the box office is a TicketMaster outlet, the company wouldn’t allow SGP to sell tickets earlier without telling all state outlets, Mateu said. So every outlet started selling tickets at 9 a.m.
UF sophomore Shira Friedman, who was about 30th in line, said her friends at the front of the line got bleacher seats and she couldn’t believe the floor seats were gone so quickly.
“People were waiting all night with TVs and VCRs, and I even brought doughnuts and hot chocolate,” said Friedman’s friend Jeanette Li. “For what?”
“I camped out here since 10 p.m.,” said English senior Elicia Geller. “We did not get good seats. It sucks.”
Petty can take some of the blame. Mateu said the Gainesville-grown rocker got 300 tickets to sell or give away. Also, Rock-104 received 20 seats to give away as part of a promotional deal. SGP will also get an undetermined number of floor seats, Mateu said.
While many students left the box office complaining, some students did not mind the wait or the poor seats.
“It was worth it,” business senior Donna Johnson said. “We’d do it all over again. We consumed beverages, played our guitar and sang songs.”
Mateu to happy to have the first sellout in SGP-concert history. Comedian Eddie Murphy came close a few years ago and last February, country singer Randy Travis sold out the O’Connell Center, said Mike DeLorenzo, the center’s associate director. But that concert wasn’t SGP-sponsored.
Petty’s 8 p.m. concert is scheduled for Jan. 27 at the O’Connell Center. Rock singer Lenny Kravitz, whose current single “Let Love Rule” is playing on MTV, will open the show. Kravitz is also married to Lisa Bonet of “The Cosby Show.”
SGP is sponsoring the concert which Mateu said he strongly negotiated for a lower student ticket price and persuaded TicketMaster to hold off ticket sales until Wednesday — instead of during the holiday break or the first day of classes.
“We did everything possible for the students,” Mateu said.
But many students were unappreciative.
“I could jump out of this seat and kill myself,” marketing junior Britt Rothman said, complaining about his seat. “I wouldn’t have bought these tickets except my girlfriend really wants them.”
Extra tickets available
Gainesville native Tom Petty have decided to release roughly 2,000 additional seats for his upcoming campus concert, with tickets going on sale at 9:30 this morning at the Reitz Union’s Constans Theatre and other TicketMaster outlets, said Raul Mateu, chairman of Student Government Productions.
The seats are obstructed view and located either behind or two the side of the stage. Ticket prices are reduced to $12 for students and $15 for the general public, plus a service charge.
“The seats right behind the stage are pretty close,” said Mike DeLorenzo, the O’Connell Center’s associate director.
“I’m sure (Petty will) turn around and face them,” he said. “Plus, we’ll hang some speakers facing the fans behind the stage, so it should sound good.”