The days of shady scalpers lurking near the box offices at major music venues are largely a thing of the past. As it is, many fans have to think pretty hard about skipping their cell-phone bill or car payment for a month in order to plunk down some cash for premium seats at even the concerts that do not cause the secondary ticket market (as it is now more judiciously called) to shift into overdrive. The ones that do, though, offer some pretty stark lessons in raw capitalism and what the “free” market is willing to bear. Such is the case with Adele, the mega-selling multiple Grammy winner who has ascended into the pop stratosphere since her previous Houston performance, at Warehouse Live in 2009 if you can believe that. She finally returns Tuesday and Wednesday at Toyota Center, and while there may be no such thing as a sold-out show anymore (technically), the only question is how much fans are willing to pay — and, in this case, perhaps why they didn’t think about trying to get tickets sooner. Out of our own curiosity as much as anything else, we decided to do a little research into what might be still floating around out there. (Note: All information is current as of 10 p.m. Sunday.)
TOYOTA CENTER BOX OFFICE
Guess that settles that.
If you’re looking for a special reason to go this route in particular, StubHub is donating a fraction of its cut from the Adele tour to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, which provides musical instruments to economically disadvantaged schools. Given the prices we saw in Houston, those could be some lucky kids.
TUESDAY: About 30 seats in the arena’s rafters, a.k.a. the 400 level, were still available, at prices ranging from $240 to $400. In the first tier (the 100s), about 50 were open, going from $380 (at the back) to $750; about 30 seats were concentrated in Section 107 for some reason. And one lucky high roller still has a chance to snare the pair of floor seats in Section C, priced at a cool $4,900.
WEDNESDAY: Fewer than 30 seats remained for the upper level, priced from $266 to $699. A pair of seats can be had for only $400 in Section 103; true, they are behind the stage. The rest of the 60 or so seats can be had from $450 to $1,000. Sadly, nothing on the floor this time.
Even if you already have tickets, Stubhub is also offering parking passes for both shows. Considering sold-out A-list Toyota Center concerts usually fetch anywhere from $20 to $50 or $100 at nearby lots, that may be the biggest deal of all. Last we checked, about a dozen passes for both Tuesday and Wednesday were available starting at $18.
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We combed the first 500 pages of the “tickets” sub at Craigslist’s Houston exchange, and found nearly 200 Adele tickets on the market. Though a few people stipulated in-person exchanges, most of the tickets were offered via Flash Seats, an app that allows tickets purchased electronically to be transferred via email. (No Houston tickets are available directly through Flash Seats’ website, however.) The price range is largely along the same lines as StubHub’s, although we saw enough intriguing outliers — four floor seats for $250 each, another offer for two up top that simply said “text for cheap price!!” — to probably make spending an hour or two paging through the ads worthwhile for anybody who really wants to go to the show.
Of course the agencies who make their living buying and selling tickets are feasting on the Adele concerts. A number of them, firms like SensationalSeats.com, NoHiddenFees.com and EncoreTicketStore.com, are touting their seats on Craigslist, with ads often distinguishable by the usage of all caps, exclamation points and/or the words “discounted seats.” (Note: Caveat emptor on all these transactions, but here especially.) A representative of another brokerage, Chicago-based Vivid Seats, contacted the Houston Press last Friday, promising that “plenty” of tickets remain, starting at $248 on Tuesday and $242 on Wednesday.
So…there you have it. Go forth and spend wisely.