On Thursday, September 19th, hundreds of fans of The Black Keys went to attend their show at The Wiltern in Los Angeles–only to find out that their tickets were not valid. These patrons paid well over the initial ticket listing price to pay up to $800 a ticket through third-party ticket sites such as Stubhub. As it turns out, Ticketmaster utilized a system where bar-codes on the initial tickets as soon as they are moved outside the Ticketmaster system, thus preventing third-party sales.
It appears that the band signed off on this, but with apparently good intentions. It was their first concert performance in four years and the intimate venues (with a capacity of roughly 1850, whereas The Black Keys typically plays arenas) show was meant to be a warm-up gig ahead of their world tour in support of their newest album. The idea was to make the tickets available to members of their fan club for a set price and the band was upfront about the tickets only being available through Ticketmaster.
Those that bought the tickets through third-party sites and the sites themselves claim that neither the band nor Ticketmaster did enough to ensure that it was clear that tickets purchased through other means would not be honored. As far as fans and the reseller sites were concerned, these were perfectly legitimate tickets and not forgeries.
In a sense, they are absolutely correct. These were genuine tickets at the time of purchase. Ticketmaster has developed a rotating bar-code system for tickets that are for shows with a “no-transfer” policy. This makes tickets no longer capable of being scanned once they are taken outside the Ticketmaster system. The problem is, according to the secondary markets, that it was not clear that this was the case and they were not deliberately swindling the ticket buyers that were going through them once the initial $25 tickets were no longer available. As a show of their honorable intent, most of the third-party ticket purchasers have been refunded by the companies they purchased the tickets from. The venue did what they could do about letting in as many as they could, within reason.
The Black Keys rode to prominence in the early 2000s with their blues-infused and stripped-down rock. Over the years, their popularity increased with every album until their commercial breakthrough Attack & Release which was released in 2008 and went gold. Every album released since has gone on to achieve platinum status. The Wiltern show was in advance of their world tour in support of their ninth album ‘Let’s Rock’.