Phish at Red Rocks sells out in minutes; fans call bullshit

It's not exactly a surprise that Phish's four-day stand at Red Rocks sold out in minutes, but there are elements of the whole thing that smell, well, Phish-y (sorry, I couldn't resist). At least one hard-core fan (the one I live with, to be specific) was online within seconds of the tickets going on sale, had several friends at different locations coordinating efforts to get tickets and ... still failed to get even a single seat. Yet somehow, minutes after the event sales opened, some guy had four four-day passes up for sale on eBay, with a buy-it-now price of a cool $10K. It's since been taken down by the eBay cops, but still, WTF, right?

This seems to suggest some serious shenanigans on someone's part -- or the worst luck in the world on my brother's (that's the fan I cohabit with) part. At the very least, it suggests that scalping has gotten incredibly out of hand for in-demand shows. Seriously, if the tickets are going to go for that much, the bands themselves might as well auction the tickets off and be the ones making the money on them, if you ask me. And it's not like there aren't solutions. At least one high-profile act -- Nine Inch Nails, specifically -- has worked out a system to end scalping, by selling his pre-sales with a name printed on them and requiring ID to use the ticket. An imperfect solution, but it should mean his fans will be able to catch a show without selling a kidney. Maybe the Phish dudes should borrow a page from Reznor's playbook before they alienate the rest of their fan base.

Update: Here's a link to a 2005 story about roboscalpers that might shed some light on the situation. And if you like robots, check this out.

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