Thursday, August 07, 2008

Neil Diamond Concert Review: A Strange Craigslist Experience

There’s some type of saying involving a journey and destination. That the journey is more important or something. I’m not exactly sure. Anyway, here’s a story about both.

Earlier this week, I pleaded with anyone out there to give me free or reduced tickets for Neil Diamond’s DC concert. Shockingly, there was no response. However, my wife decided that it would be her mission to try to find me tickets. Enter Craigslist. After several inquiries, she arranged to purchase tickets through someone named Adam. (This is not his real name; actually, it is his real name). Although the face value of the two tickets was $85 each (not including the almost $15 each in Ticketmaster fees), we reached an agreement on Monday evening to buy them for $50 each.

This is where things get strange. On Tuesday morning, Adam sent an e-mail to my wife stating that he received a bid for the tickets for $56 each and wanted us to go higher. He also offered us an alternative: we could get tickets for different seats for free. Adam wrote, "The only catch to it you have to get me messy. Saturday or Sunday and you pick a location." This is/was extremely disturbing. Was this something sexual or illegal? Four minutes later, he wrote my wife again. "Ignore the messy part but you have to toilet paper my house if you want the J tickets it is free this mean tickets are free. If you are going to do it." It was at this time that I decided to call Adam to let him know that we already made an agreement for Row G tickets for $100. I had no idea what I would say about toilet papering his house, but figured that I wouldn’t say anything if he didn’t say anything. Fortunately, I got his voicemail and left a message.

About 20 minutes later, Adam e-mailed my wife apologizing for the confusion and confirming the $100, row G seats. Adam and I actually talked around lunch, and although he wanted me to meet him outside of Will Call around 5:00 (since he works down there he said), we decided to meet at 7:00. My wife sent me an e-mail with only three words: Was he normal? I replied that he sounded a little odd but that we had a deal.

Fast-forward to around 7:00. I called Adam to let him know that I was on the Metro and would be a few minutes late. He then proceeded to call almost every two minutes asking for a status report. I finally approached Will Call having no idea what to expect. In my mind, I was prepared to punch him if he tried to raise the price. Plus I was curious what kind of person wants someone he doesn’t know to get him messy or toilet paper his house. As I arrived, I called Adam to see where/who he was. After 20 seconds, I found him. Adam is a kid. He couldn’t have been older than 13 and his parents were standing right behind him. Why was he odd on the phone and in e-mails? Because he’s a kid. I still don’t understand the toilet paper thing, and I wasn’t going to ask. A few questions did pop into my mind. Why is a 13 year-old selling tickets on Craigslist? What kind of job does he have since he’s clearly under 16? Regardless, the fact that he was a kid, was probably using the cash to supplement his Bar Mitzvah money and was with his parents alleviated my concerns.

As for the concert itself, I enjoyed it. It was vintage Neil Diamond. There were no pyrotechnics; just Neil and a 14-piece band. The Washington Times has a full review of the show, but here are a few notes:

- When The Washington Times writes in its review, "Good as they were - and they were superb - the new songs met with only polite applause; the audience really was there for the favorites," they are being nice. Since there was no intermission, many people used the new songs for a bathroom break.

- Cherry, Cherry, Cracklin’ Rosie, Forever in Blue Jeans and, of course, Sweet Caroline were the highlights of the show.

- I wish I could pull off wearing the shirts that Neil wears.

- You Don’t Bring Me Flowers was a show-stopper and not in a good way. I believe Neil performed this immediately after Sweet Caroline when the crowd was at its loudest. The place got quiet quickly. The only way to make Flowers good would have been to have Barbara Streisand come out or for Neil to have said, "Ladies and Gentlemen: Avril Lavigne" or "Beyonce" or "Alanis Morissette." Instead, it was one of the back-up singers who Neil is probably sleeping with.

- After over 40 years in the music industry, Neil Diamond still has an amazing voice.

- Neil also has an extremely deep catalog. Even by performing many of his biggest hits, he did not sing Red, Red Wine, Heartlight, or Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon.

Overall, great show! If you don’t believe me, check out these blogs: Come on Elleen, Life and times of Me and Angelica of Shifting Winds

Update: The Washington Post also has a review of the concert.

Photo by Katie Falkenberg/Washington Times


Anonymous said...

This is a hilarious story!!! I'd love to know what he meant when he wanted you to get him messy? Also, you should have told his parents that the kid was trying to strike a deal to have their house toilet papered!!!

lacochran said...

Great story! You are braver than me. As soon as he started talking about getting messy I would have been out of there. How strange that a kid had Neil Diamond tickets to begin with. Good for you for seeing it through and getting to the show!

Julia said...

omg that's hilarious.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing, messy means drunk.

Sean said...

Marc - I was so surprised that it was a kid, I didn't even think about asking his parents about the toilet papering offer. Personally, I felt uncomfortable handing the kid $100.

lacochran - I did consider bailing and actually sent a few messages to other folks selling tickets on Craigslist. However, I heard back from Adam before I did from any of the e-mails.

Thanks for stopping by Julia!

Messy meaning drunk actually makes me feel better than any of the other alternatives.

Gilahi said...

Did he do any of the tunes that he wrote for The Monkees?

Mexico said...

Haha! Time to get messy! I guess he wanted you to play with his cars and toys and then paint :D.