Seeing live music used to mean listening to the radio to find out when tickets were going on sale. You could look in the paper, but radio was much faster, since we were always listening to the radio anyway.
This was a cash economy. No teens I knew had access to a credit card (!!). There were no phone order, no secure websites. You had to go and buy the tickets at the arena. For a big show, you had to camp out.
If it was a Dead show, you’d see DeadHeads from hither and yon (mostly New Yon) a few weeks out. Outside of the Dead, though, lines would form a few days, maybe a week before tickets went on sale.
In fairness, there were ticket limits. Each buyer could purchase like twelve or twenty tickets. This created a fairly small aftermarket.
If you didn’t get your tix on the day of sale, you could scour the classified section of the local paper and call The Guy on his landline listed in the ad in the paper that you had to buy from the store. Last option, you could go day of the show and usually get tickets from a scalper. There could be a big or a small markup. There had to be a physical exchange of paper cash for paper tickets. No Venmo. No PDFs.
I got my Eagles tickets using this last method. I was poor and pretty scheduled with school and work, but concert tickets were more like a necessity than an extravagance. I was limited by the money I had in my pocket. Definitely kept me on budget.
Scalpers were easy enough to find within a few blocks of the venue. Nobody would bother you–despite the illegality of the transaction–if you were decently subtle.
We stopped and furtively spoke with a few “vendors.” We found A Guy with tickets in our price range and, surprisingly, in a lower tier. Made the exchange and went into the arena.
Our seats were not obstructed view. Except they were behind the stage. In dozens of shows, I’d never seen seats sold with a view of the asses of the band. The norm was a wall of speakers behind the band and 60 or 80 foot long drapes billowing from the ceiling.
I felt so stupid and so conned. UGH! And bad word. There were no jumbotrons for The Long Run tour. At least the stage was clear, and we could make out the backs of the musicians.
About 2/3rds into the show the band stopped and, jumping in unison, turned around to perform Take It Easy for us. Best. Song. That. Night. After performing two songs for us suckers in the bad seats they turned their backs on us.
That’s rock ‘n’ roll.
Yes, I’m already gone
And I’m feelin’ strong
I will sing this vict’ry song
‘Cause I’m already gone
Yes, I’m already gone
All right, nighty-night