Three things you need to know about me: I love VR, I love food, but man do I love Pearl Jam. Probably (definitely) a bit too much. If you’ve spent any time with me in the flesh then I apologise about how much I’ve probably raved about them to you.
This week frontman Eddie Vedder announced he was touring Europe, including two shows in London. Naturally, I desperately want to go to both, and I was lucky enough to get tickets to the first night in a pre-sale. For the second night, however, I wasn’t so fortunate. Despite sitting on Ticketmaster and watching the countdown for sales tick down, seats were gone in less than a second.
In a fit of unnecessary panic I did something I’m not proud of; I turned to ticket scalping sites.
Now I hate ticket scalping more than anyone. I find it amazing that in 2017 people are still allowed to purchase tickets at face value and then prey on the less fortunate concert goers, selling them on at a much higher price. It’s an incredibly infuriating practise that, if we all showed a bit of restraint, we could put a stop to by just simply refusing to buy second-hand tickets. But I’m a fan, and I’m all too familiar with the stubborn denial that comes with missing out on tickets; you’d pay anything to be in that room on that night.
Well, fortunately for me, I was able to snap out of my crazed desperation at the last possible millisecond; I cancelled a $500 order for two tickets as my card was being verified. I decided that food for a month might just be a little more important then two hours of music one evening.
I’m bummed I probably won’t be at that show, but I can’t support scalping of that magnitude. And that got me thinking; maybe with VR I won’t have to.
As it currently stands I’m not crazy about the idea of 360 degree concerts. Just like most 360 videos I find them kind of unengaging mostly because of poor picture quality and the overall after thought nature of most shoots. Production quality has to come a long way before I would genuinely consider paying for a virtual ticket to watch a show. But I found myself thinking that, in this situation where I wasn’t able to get tickets to the second night, I’d quite happily pay to virtually sit there if it meant scalpers didn’t get any of my money.
But there’s a long way to go before that happens. One of the most exciting things about gigs is the way sound hits your body and vibrates through the entire room. There’s also no replacement for meeting real people and other fans and making friendships with them. We may not ever get VR to a point where these kinds of experiences feel truly real, but we might get to a point where they’re a great alternative to spending untold sums of money that goes to the greedy.
VR means so many good things for so many industries, but if it meant the death of the ticket scalping trade I’d consider that one of its greatest achievements.
(P.S.: If anyone has a spare ticket to the second London gig, let me know)