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Bob Dylan's Ticketless Warfield Show Finds Underwhelming Support

America's favorite old man/recording artist Bob Dylan tried to stick it to the man this past Wednesday night at San Francisco's Warfield Theater.

The 69-year-old folk legend decided he was going to rebel against Ticketmaster and surplus ticket charges and nix issuing tickets to his show altogether.

It's a noble experiment in a town in San Francisco that's more than up to it, yet Wednesday night at the Warfield fell flat on its face.


Why did Dylan's ticketless gamble ultimately fail? For starters, the 2,250 capacity Warfield Theatre was visibly undersold -- perhaps due to the fact it was the middle of a rather slow week. Admittance to the show was $60 cash -- a fee many concert-goers were more than willing to pay.

After all, Bob Dylan is an icon, and $60 is more than reasonable to see Bob Dylan at a somewhat intimate venue, especially a venue he hasn't played in over 20 years. However, that $60 didn't guarantee fans admittance to the show -- they still had to arrive somewhat early (doors were at 5:30 pm) in the hopes of gaining admittance to the show. There were absolutely no paper tickets -- no tokens of guaranteed admittance -- issued for this show.


So how come Dylan's show at Oakland's Fox Theater the previous night sold out in less than an hour -- even if tickets were well over $60? Fans were guaranteed their tickets -- their place at Dylan's show.

Now, not every single one of Bob Dylan's fans have grandchildren, but its safe to say that a good amount of them -- especially the ones that pay to see him live -- do. Those same fans aren't really in the mood for some sort of experiment/gamble when it comes to seeing Bob Dylan live. They want to pick out their seats beforehand and take the time to go to the selected venue -- which could take a couple of hours, in certain instances -- knowing that they have guaranteed admittance.


Dylan really did all he could to try to garner support for his Warfield experiment, but it seems Dylan and his promoters' eyes were bigger than their stomachs this time around. In all honesty, had Dylan's experiment worked well, I wouldn't be writing about this. There's nothing that interesting about a sold-out Bob Dylan show at the Warfield -- in the year 2010, at least. Some of the things Dylan does (Christmas albums, ridiculous Rolling Stone biases) tend to irritate me, but this experiment was a rather noble cause. Certain factors could have helped things go a little bit better than they did Wednesday night, but certain other factors doomed the experiment before it even started.

The times might be a-changin', but someone needs to let Bob Dylan know that he doesn't have to be the one to try and change them himself.

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