Thursday, February 15, 2018

ROCK AND ROLL IS INDEED A VICIOUS GAME (with credit to Myles Goodwyn)

When it was announced by a local live music venue (The Brass Monkey) in November 2017 that British classic rock band Uriah Heep would be doing a live performance there on February 8/18, a friend of mine happily purchased (through ticketZone) two online tickets for this event, which quickly 'sold out' to the point where an additional appearance was announced for February 6.

Eagerly anticipating an excellent performance that night (particularly after hearing rave reviews of the previous show), we headed over to the nightclub and arrived just before 8 p.m. (an hour after the doors were slated to open at 7). Surprising enough, there was a line-up of people stretching towards the back of the building (we had not witnessed a line-up when attending packed shows there by The Blushing Brides and Lee Aaron on previous occasions). We didn't mind waiting in line at first, despite the cold weather and my own somewhat ill-health, but we were wondering what the delay was. An hour later (and after the opening band was already playing), we finally got inside the packed tiny foyer, which leads to the stairs going down into the bar. It was plainly a chaotic scene, with no clear direction where to stand. My friend handed me over print-outs of the online tickets and receipt, as I was closer to one of the people who was checking them.

Apparently, there was no device on-hand to actually scan them, so they were manually checking the e-tickets against photo IDs. I have no idea why they were doing this, as it could have been an instance where a third friend (not attending the show) had bought the tickets on our behalf, and their name would have been on the receipt, not ours. In this case, however, the friend attending with me had bought the tickets, and her name was displayed on the receipt as the purchaser. When the ticket-taker asked me for photo ID, I produced my driver's licence. Then he asked me if I was the one who had bought the tickets. I said, 'No, my friend here did.” She then showed him the credit card with which she purchased the tickets, but that was not accepted. She was asked for her driver's licence, but, as she does not own a vehicle and does not drive, it had been left at her home in Beacon Hill. She was told by the owner that she would have to go back home and get it. She then mentioned that she had a photo ID card from her federal government employer in my car. Again, she was told that was not acceptable, and we were both told to leave 'to allow the people waiting to come in'. My friend suggested that the police should be called since they were not going to honour our ticket purchase. The owner told us to 'go ahead and call them' and proceeded to force her towards the door, using his physical bulk (he's much bigger than either of us). We left the premises, and I convinced my friend to get her photo ID out of my car to bring back and show it to the owner, but she was too badly shaken by his threatening demeanour, while I was feeling angry (but too physically ill) to get back in line and try to get in again, so we just went home, minus $100+ and not having seen the show we paid for.

I would like to add that my friend and I (as were the majority of the people in attendance) are well over 50 years of age. This was not a case of possible 'under the legal drinking age' scenario, and we were not in any way, shape or form, intoxicated or belligerent in our demeanour.

I am well aware that owners of drinking establishments in Canada are within their rights to ask for ID, from anyone and everyone. In fact, it is routine procedure in the U.S., as I was asked for it at a bar in Seattle, WA, in 2009, when I was in my early 50s. However, not everyone was asked for proof of age identity cards at the club that night; the owner was simply using this ridiculous method to check the online ticket print-outs, as they couldn't actually scan them. Neither my friend nor I has ever been asked to prove we were the actual purchaser of tickets bought online and then printed out to present at any event, here in Canada or elsewhere.

It's a lesson learned for my friend to always bring some form of ID proving she is old enough to enter a bar, but I was not even granted entrance to this show myself, and I DID produce my driver's licence AND the ticket that I bought (however indirectly), which was not returned to me by the bar.

Two other people, who had driven in from Constance Bay, showed up at the event with tickets bought online but had to forego their entry, as one of them was physically incapable of standing in line for an extended period of time.  They, too, were out the money they had spent for this concert.  ticketZone offers no refunds whatsoever, nor does the Brass Monkey.

Diane M. Wells


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