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Tower Records supplies the first batch

It was the 13th of January in Phladelphia, shortly after a savage storm had left the region covered with an icy coat of snow. I was new in town. I still didn't have all my stuff from home. Most importantly, the computer. The 38-pound electronic box, an eye into the world was still on the other side of the Mississippi, 1500 miles away. U2 would tour this year. I knew that. Who in U2-ville didn't? But when, where and when and where would the precious tickets go on sale? That was still a mystery. No one knew in December, the last time I had heard the startup chime from my lime green little friend.

And now I was here. In a distant, strange city without the lifeline the modem provides. And the sidewalks crackled under everyone's feet with salt and ice. Cold water dripped off the buildings but you can't hear the sound when there's so much traffic.

Staples had provided some new masking tape and clear mailing tape so I could get those posters up and make the blank walls a little friendlier at what would be home. There was a Tower Records just a block away. I had never lived in a city with a Tower Records. Even if I don't buy anything, I always go in. So that day, I went down the block the wrong way to go in and peruse their collection of over-priced CDs.

As I opened the front door, a sloppily handwritten sign hung on the door with a single piece of clear tape caught my eye. I don't know why it did. There wasn't anything special about it. Maybe because it was so commonplace. Maybe because it was so ugly. But I held the door open a bit and read it : "U2- Tickets on sale for June 11, 2001 at the First Union Center."

WHAT??? I looked at my watch. It was the same date and an hour since the doors opened to the store. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. I felt through the fleece pocket. Yup, the wallet was there, packed with two little beauties, one platinum, one black. The blonde girl behind me seemed to wonder wy I was just standing there.

I had seen it before. I went to the little Ticketmaster/ Customer Service desk and a gangly fellow who apparently wasn't having a good day (maybe cuz of his acne) was holding the fort. I asked if this was where they sold concert tickets. He said yeah, but I had to go to the other side of the counter so he could get at his little magical ticket-dispensing computer. So

I went. There was no else there. It was only about an hour after ticket sales could have opened. Hadn't they seen the sign. Or was I there on the wrong day? Or was I just imagining things again?

Asked the dude if there were any tickets left. He dared to ask which show I was talking about. Didn't he know? Do people buy tickets for other concerts? I said U2. He typed in a few things, stared at the screen and looked up again. Yeah, some in the back and some side views he said. The back ones were 45 and the other ones were 85. He may have said more but that's all I remember comprehending. Damn, the ticket rumors came true. But it's not like I cared. Tickets at any price were still tickets to see them.

I said I'd take the higher priced ones, acting on the principle that what costs more is somehow better. I wasn't familiar with this arena and couldn't say I knew that the lower priced tix were as good as the others. It was like grabbing a life-preserver, going with something you know in the face of something new and unfamiliar.

Then he asked me how many I wanted. At 85 a pop. I had no idea. What was the limit? How many could you buy? How many could I reasonably afford on this bill along with all the moving expenses? I tried to add 85+85 in my head and came up blank. Sounded expensive but I couldn't go to a concert by myself.

"Two."

He rang them up and must have quoted the total though how much I had just spent didn't sink in until days later. I handed him the silver one and he charged almost 200 bucks on it. I signed the slip of paper, the promise I'd pay them for it. He put a few blue and purple slips into the Ticketmaster envelope and handed it to me.

I felt like I was walking 6 feet off the ground. Haven't felt that way in a long time. When I got home, I stared and stared at them. U2 tickets. Back then, I didn't even know how hot these tickets had been and that a lot of people would be shut out all over the Coast cuz of the U2mania that was suddenly sweeping America. But I had them. And now I realize those were horrible seats to have handed over that much money for. The second show had opened and nearly sold out when I walked into Tower that day. Luckiest of days... almost :)

I saw the same guy walking into Tower a few weeks later. He was talking to a friend. He didn't notice me. But I knew him. He had sold me the U2 tickets. Cuz of him, I'll be there on June 12th in the First Union Center, practically hanging from the rafters in my 85 dollar perch, screaming as loud as anyone else.

 

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