Best way to get concert tickets?

I do a search for concert tickets for a show I want to see and there are multiple sites listed. (online scalpers?) I went directly to ticketmaster and then i’m re directed to livenation. Is that ticketmaster? I went to a show back in September and got burned. From a website it had a layout of the arena, you picked the section you wanted and it gave you a price and then you purchased. I bought good seats and then when I printed out the tickets they ended up being crap seats in the nosebleed section. And there was no way to reach whatever shady place sold them to me and the show was kinda ruined by the fact I couldn’t get past feeling I was a sucker.

Is there a direct source for legit tickets anymore or has the internet made it shadier than ever?

Ticketmaster and Live Nation are both legitimate sites. To avoid getting crappy seats I log on at the time tickets go on sale ON THE DOT. If you think the show will sell out and there will be a mad panic at times the show will go on sale then log in early and keep refreshing the page until tickets go on sale. For one particular show I had to keep looking for tickets for nearly 30 minutes until I finally got some, but it was worth it and thankfully that experience has not happened again.

I have no idea how you would select good seats and end up with tickets for seats different from what you selected unless you a) made a mistake and selected crappier seats than you intended or b) selected “best seats available” and those were the best seats and you were disappointed.

I’ve only had to deal with Ticketmaster’s customer service, but they were very friendly and polite and have an 800 number so I’m not sure why you wouldn’t be able to reach them.

I don’t know about Live Nation, but Ticketmaster does have in person locations in some places so you can always search for that if you’re uncomfortable buying tickets online. That won’t guarantee you the best seat necessarily though.

If you like to go to concerts a lot, consider getting a credit card that has an alliance with TicketMaster to offer “pre-sale” tickets. My Citibank card, for instance, routinely allows MasterCard holders to purchase tickets in advance of the public offering date. We got great seats to The Eagles and Cirque de Soleil by taking advantage of pre-sales.

Also, if there are bands you really like, get on their mailing list. Some offer pre-sales to their fans.

Ticket master is the only game in town. Never won tickets, never been closer than 20-30 rows away.

I just walk up to the box office and ask the guy for tickets. Big festivals like Bonnaroo, you gotta buy online, but they’ve been moving away from Ticketmaster to more customized sites for awhile now. Still, if you live anywhere near the venue, walking up and paying cash for tickets you receive right then is the only way to go.

This. Also Amex does lots of pre-sales.

Pre-sales are always good. You don’t even necessarily have to be on a mailing list, you can look on the band’s Facebook or Twitter or just google “band name pre-sale city name” and you might be able to find something.

Buying at the box office is great when possible, since there aren’t the extra fees, and you could probably actually speak to someone who knows the layout of the venue and could tell you a bit more about what the seats are like. But some venues have weird hours. There’s a venue downtown in Houston, the Bayou Music Center, that I go to fairly regularly, but their hours are 12pm-5pm Monday through Friday, or 12pm until the main act takes the stage on concert days. So if I ever wanted to buy a ticket at the box office ahead of time, I’d have to take off work and go downtown. And it wouldn’t be a quick stop since its downtown, and I’d have to search for street parking, or go down into the underground parking garages. It ends up being a lot less hassle to just buy online and pay the crazy fees, even though they drive me crazy.

If you do Ticketmaster, make sure you have an account set up and/or are logged in to your account before you start looking for tickets. I don’t think you can buy without having an account, and they don’t force you to log in before searching for tickets, but you do have to log in to pay for them. I always forget that and then have to scramble to find my TM account info while the clock is ticking down on the tickets I’m trying to buy.

(It’s been a while since I bought from TM. Things might have changed, but I doubt it.)