Well, if you're ever in the Annapolis, MD area, check out the Rams Head On Stage at the Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis. Their ticket app shows all the seats and even shows you where the poles are (they're not that big, but they're there). You hover your mouse pointer over a table on the map and it tells you how many seats are available at that table (hint: the close ones sell out quick!). Click on the table and then pick the seats you want. It's a small venue (~250 seats or so as I recall; you can count them for yourself), and you can hear fine from any seat and see pretty good from most. You may want to visit the site just to see the ticket app. Then again, it may depress you too much!
They have folk, blues, jazz, oldies, rock, comics -- a rather eclectic schedule. I usually try to catch Tom Rush (from the 60s -- showing my age) when he swings by on a yearly tour. There's nothing like sitting up close to someone like him playing a slide guitar version of "The Galveston Flood" as an encore. It'll make you swear off large venues forever.
In the Detroit area the original problem was that scalpers would purchase all of the good seats at the time that tickets went on sale, and then charge a "service fee" to sell you any of those tickets. So somehow things changed and instead all of the tickets are sold by the ticket sales companies, who charge you a service fee for the privalege of purchasing an overpriced ticket.
But it does not bother me any more because I have abandoned the whole thing, since the crowd noise at any concert stays well over 100DB constantly, and the music is played loud enoug to sort of be heard over the crowd noise. So the whole thing becomes one very unpleasant experience to avoid. If a group is not able to produce music that is worth hearing with no visuals or concert gimmicks, then they are not worth the effort to see.
The ticketing industry has been been screwed up (corrupt?) since the dawn of time. Many a story has appeared in journals talking about price fixing and manipulation. This is not new.
When tickets go on pre-sale, the amounts are limited and the seating choices are just as bad. In most cases, the tickets available are second level and other non-premium areas. Why? Because the pre-sale buyers are going to buy anyways, it makes financial sense to sell them marginal tickets that might go unsold once available to the general public.
I have found that the ticket companies will hold a block a premium tickets and release them for sale within the last few days before the event. Many a time I've gotten floor seats days before (and day of) the event while my friends sit in the nosebleed section. All because they bought in advance. Patience is a virtue.
While it may not work all the time, it does in most instances. Try it for your next concert and report your success ... if anything, it'll give you a topic for another article :)
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