The Eagles play the O2 Dublin in June 2014. This witchy woman – a fan for 40 years – is ‘worrying ’bout this wasted time’.
Something momentous happened today, gentle reader. I’m not saying it was a good thing, but it was certainly a momentous thing and a little sobering. And it makes me kinda sad. I think, you see, that I have finally accepted that I’m a grown up. I did grown-up things today and made grown-up decisions. I spoke words out loud that frightened me. They came out of my mouth. Mine. Me. My mouth.
It’s all to do with the Eagles – Messrs Glen Frey, Don Henley, Timothy B Schmit and Joe Walsh. They’re coming to the O2 in June next year and, when I spotted that bit of news this morning, I got busy trying to organise tickets. The tickets don’t go on general sale until Friday but, as you might know, O2 customers can register for ‘priority’ purchases and buy gig tickets a couple of days before they go on general release. The priority tickets for my beloved Eagles went on sale this morning. Excellent stuff, I thought to myself. I’ll get busy on that and get me two tickets close enough to see their tonsils. I was hugging myself with the excitement of it all.
Before I go any further, I should explain (if you haven’t already gathered) that I’m something of a fan. Everyone has a soundtrack to their formative, adolescent years and the Eagles provided mine. We go back that far. Back as far as vinyl. I remained loyal to them throughout adulthood and missed them when they split up. When they rolled out the ‘Hell Freezes Over’ tour, I was giddy with excitement. They did two dates in Dublin and I went to both. The whole family went on the first night and I went on my own on the second night. It was an indulgence. A ‘just for me’ occasion. It was like getting to spend quality time with a best friend you haven’t seen for ages. I stood on my own on that second evening and fancied they were playing just for me, their most loyal and appreciative fan. I made a banner and waved it. (It said: ‘Joe – update your website). I sang myself hoarse. That was some time in the ‘90s (’97 maybe? The memory cells are creaking).
They came back again some years later, this time to Lansdowne Road, if the creaky memory serves. And, of course, I went to that too. What I remember most about that gig, though, was that it raised the flag of awareness of time marching on. I remember sitting in my seat and observing the crowd filing in around me. Was there, I wondered, a bus in from a day centre or something like that? Was the local care home having a bit of a do? An active retirement group? There were lots of ‘old’ people making their way to the seats around us. The men, balding and ruddy-faced, sporting the middle-aged uniform of chinos and polo shirts; the women in their white trousers, floaty tops and comfy, national-school-teacher Eccos. How, I wondered, did we manage to get seats in the middle of this block booking? There wasn’t going to be much support for my air guitar solo here. I was a bit annoyed that the crowd surrounding us were so sedate and stuffy looking.
Until I looked at myself… in my white trousers and my floaty top with my bald husband at my side. It was as if someone kicked me and reminded me I wasn’t 17 anymore. With the exception of the Eccos (I was in runners), I could have been looking in a mirror. It wasn’t an old folks’ outing. It was just people like me. Teenagers of the ‘70s dealing – each in their own way – with the relentless march of time. The Eagles put on a great show that night but my heart wasn’t really in it.
They’ve been back in Dublin since and, whereas I made sure I had tickets, it turned out I couldn’t go. I passed the tickets on to a pair of grateful souls who enjoyed the gig for me and bought me T-shirts which I still have and treasure.
So you can understand my excitement this morning when I saw the news of the date. Another chance. And, with the priority booking, I’ll get good seats. I logged on to the O2 site and that’s when the whole grown-up thing started to happen.
First of all, I couldn’t remember whether or not I’d registered for the whole ‘priority’ thing. I have two O2 accounts and I fancied I had registered at least one of them but I couldn’t remember which. I tweeted the O2 help people and they identified the account that was registered. Grand. But then I couldn’t find the link to the priority booking area. I tweeted again. They sent me the link. Grand again. Soon… very soon I’ll have tickets to see the old friends that I grew up with. I’ll throw out my white trousers and wear something ridiculous on my feet. Himself will not be in a polo shirt. Soon. Very soon.
Except I couldn’t make my way through the next bit. In fairness, it wasn’t my fault. The process involves texting a number to receive a priority booking code. I have, as stated, two O2 accounts… but I don’t have an O2 phone account. My accounts are for broadband. I texted the relevant number from my Vodafone phone but got a text back saying the priority booking was only available to O2 customers.
The grown-up talk was starting to come out of my mouth at this stage. ‘Honestly, this is most unsatisfactory.’ ‘This website is really very unfriendly. Not at all intuitive. Counter-intuitive, truth be told.’
That sort of prissy, old lady shite. I was revising the plan about throwing out the white trousers. I rang O2 customer care who understood my dilemma and were polite but couldn’t help me. They gave me the email address of the Priority Booking support team. I emailed them. Nothing happened. More old lady talk: ‘Honestly, in these times of economic strife, wouldn’t you think they’d be interested in taking my money.’ And so on.
Then we remembered we do actually have an O2 pay-as-you-go phone that we had to buy years ago in order to get the broadband. Himself dug that out of its hibernation and, some minutes later, we had a priority booking code. Soon… really very soon… there will be brilliant (if expensive) tickets. Don’t fret, Don, Glen, Timmy and Joe… I’m almost there.
I carefully entered the code and all other required information and clicked ‘find tickets’. That generated an offer of two tickets costing €211 and some cents in total… in Block N.
Have you been to the O2 in Dublin? Do you know where Block N is? I do. You need breathing apparatus and a telescope. And tissues for the nosebleeds.
I declined and tried again, this time trying to nominate a specific block. The only blocks selling were N and A. A’s not the best either – very off centre. More tweets. Why can I only get tickets in N or A? They must be sold out, they retorted. Sold out? SOLD OUT? They haven’t even gone on sale! Is that not the whole point of ‘priority’ booking? Then they said that only a ‘specific area’ was available for ‘priority’ booking. Specifically the nosebleed and crick-in-the-neck sections, it seems.
So I didn’t do it. The grown-up me emerged. The prissy, adult, sensible, owner-of-white-trousers me refused to click further. A trip to the O2 for us as a couple involves time off work, the cost of travel, parking, food and drink, maybe staying over and so on. With the tickets coming in at €211 odd, we’d have little change out of €400. To sit and look at a pixelated screen or have a sore neck for the rest of the week?
Nah. Couldn’t do it. When I thought about how hard I work to clear €400, I want a bang for my buck. I want a decent seat at least. God knows, such has been my money-where-my-mouth-is loyalty over the years, I’d almost expect a Triple-A pass and a private audience.
‘Well?,’ himself enquired from across the room. ‘Have you booked?’
‘No,’ I replied. ‘And I’m not going to. Dreadful seats and over-priced for what they are. And I’m so annoyed about the convoluted processes and the lack of support for someone in my situation with two O2 accounts but no text-ability. Honestly, it’s just not good enough. I feel so cheated about all this. So cheated. My whole day is put to loss.’
That, gentle reader, came out of my mouth. Mine. My mouth. That conservative, sensible, grumpy, old-lady rant was uttered by me. The ‘70s me who sat alone on a beach in the middle of the night listening to Desperado and the sound of the ocean is gone, it seems.
I might go back on the site in a few days and see what’s available. I might. But my excitement and my joy are diminished. As the lads in question warbled way back…
‘Time passes and you must move on,
Half the distance takes you twice as long
So you keep on singing for the sake of the song
After the thrill is gone.’
Never, ever buy white trousers.