Hey, what are you doing July 13-14, 2013?
Nothing, that’s what you’re doing. Even if you have a wedding that weekend, you may not even know about it yet. Save-the-dates for July 2013 won’t be out for months. The only event you could schedule right now is One Direction’s performance at First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, for which tickets to the July 14 show go on sale noon Saturday. (The July 13 show is on sale now.) Uh, surely these dates have been announced very, very early simply because promoter LiveNation doesn’t want you to unwittingly book something that would conflict with an appearance from your new favorite band, featuring the Dreamy One, the Shy One, the Bad Boy and whatever other boy-band formula has been entered into the supercomputer to spit out the British sensation.
For the record, the band’s neither the best nor the worst thing ever. They’re just the latest in a long line of products engineered for massive teen girl consumption, and the only thing they ever did to bug me is putting zilch effort into their “Saturday Night Live” performance. Um, guys, you’re a boy band. You’re supposed to dance.
What’s more interesting about the well-planned One Direction 2013 tour (FYI: The band also croons June 2 at Allstate Arena) is the creeping suspicion that the adults who make the decisions for these guys realize they’ve got a hot commodity, and the time to strike is now. You don’t heat something in the oven and eat it a year later. Right now, One Direction has somehow become one of the biggest groups in the world, and anyone involved with them would be foolish not to want to capitalize in every way possible, as soon as possible. For every Justin Bieber who appears and doesn’t go away, there are dozens of Asher Roths or Duffys or Teddy Geigers—granted, none of whom made the impact of One Direction—who are a big deal today, a punchline tomorrow. If anyone even remembers them.
Would this approach work in other arenas? What if you could buy movie tickets immediately after seeing the trailer, five months before the release? I try to avoid trailers in an effort to make every moment of a movie feel fresh, but I wonder if buying a ticket well in advance would increase or decrease the anticipation. Yes, you’d guarantee that you don’t get to the theater and find that it’s sold out, but you also minimize the rush that comes from counting down to a movie, arriving early for tickets and seats and feeling like a film really means something to you, at least beforehand if not afterward.
Arriving a few minutes early with tickets in hand would turn breathless excitement into a casual experience, which resembles the practice (at theaters like the Icon in the South Loop) of picking your seats before you get there. Sure, it assures you of good visibility, but I’m still in favor of arriving early and staking your claim, not buying your seat and booting people who got there first.
Of course, concert tickets are a different breed; you always have to buy those long before the show. It will, however, be amusing to watch in the next year to see how many people who love One Direction now opt to sell their tickets later on. Or is the latest fad impervious to the distance established when a Spice Girls fan grows one year older and wiser?