That band you’ve followed for so long, the ones that have finally made it – you know, the ones that even people who have no interest in music whatsoever have now picked up on, despite you singing their praises for years – have announced their biggest show to date. They’ll be playing arenas and stadiums across the country and everyone will be after a ticket. Having been a fan since the beginning, it is only right that you will be there to share this glorious moment and celebrate their rise to the top. Or so you thought. Firstly, it may seem a long way off but the dates have been announced six or seven months in advance and are going on sale at 10am on a Friday – just when you and all your friends are at work. You’re going to have to hatch an elaborate plan to get these as everyone’s going to want them. Your job will be a secondary requirement as you logon to various ticket sites on many different windows. Make sure you have all those passwords handy for each ticket agent site. What comes over the next three or four hours is going to be amongst the most frustrating moments of your life, so prepare yourself. You will spend what seems like an eternity looking at screens saying they are unable to connect, and will probably wear out the F5 button with the constant refreshing. If you’re mild mannered and rarely lose your temper, that will soon change. Trust me. When you eventually do get to the purchase tickets page, you’ll go white at the price of the extortionate booking fee (per ticket!) and the ‘secure’ postage. However, you’ll fill in your details regardless, click the ‘confirm’ button and will come across a blank, white screen. Have you bought the tickets? Has the money been taken from your account? Are you actually going to do any work today? You give it another 45 minutes trying for tickets “just in case”, and breeze through this time, to order those tickets again. Now, go back to work. When you login to your emails at lunch, you’ll have two confirmation messages – a quick check of your bank account and indeed you have been charged twice, and are now deep into your overdraft. You go back to the ticket site to find a contact number to cancel one order and are confronted with a range of ticket plus coach travel deals. These were not available earlier, and there’s a bus leaving from your nearest city – it all would have been so convenient. You eventually cancel your second order and when you mention the price of tickets to all those mates who were so keen to go before…well, put it this way, you’re going to need to find richer friends. You’ll forget about the gig until the summer when it is coming up and inevitable arguments break out about how you’re going to get to the venue, some people want to drive and some want to get the train. You’ll make sure you get to the stadium or arena early (they’re rarely in central places) and be confronted with an enormous queue that stretches round the advert-heavy block, it will show no sign of moving and you’ll be penned in there like human cattle. Despite arriving at such an early time and foregoing dinner, you hear the distant noise of the opening act starting up through the wall of the venue. It is 6.45pm. They’re playing their final song by the time you have made your way through the airport-style security checks. After such a hectic time getting to the venue, you’ll head to the bar to calm down a little, and are amazed by just how many adverts can adorn one foyer. You get to the front and go to pay for your drinks only to be told: “We don’t accept money, only tokens.” Despite this bizarre policy, you reluctantly accept to join yet another queue and just hope you won’t still be there by the time the main support comes on. You’re told you can only buy a minimum set amount of tokens, which is far more when you were planning on spending tonight. Although with even watered-down soft drinks approaching the £3 mark, you’ll be surprised how quickly you get through these adult Disney Dollars. Nature may call, but one look in the overflowing gents will put you off. As you make your way back to the auditorium, you eye up the food stalls offering ‘meal deals’ but then realise they’re selling Fish and Chips for almost a tenner! There is even a stall hiring out binoculars. Fucking binoculars. Now it depends on what section you have bought tickets for. If you’re standing: you will get crushed, some of the people I mentioned in last month’s article will be around you (link) and a horrendous array of liquids will be thrown above your head. If you’re sitting: there will be no legroom, the person sitting next to you will be up and down like a yo-yo and your seat will probably be facing in a different direction than towards stage, meaning you at least get the chance to try out all sorts of new and uncomfortable yoga positions. Finally, after an extended break soundtracked by a variety of big-screen commercials for things you would never be interested in, the headliners will come on and start playing. But what’s that? You can only hear a distant muffled noise, a load of bass and a lot of audience singing at the top of their voices, but where is the band? The cavernous surroundings have swallowed the sound – not that that matters to the people all around you, they’re all having the greatest time, and surely will tell everyone who cares to listen about it on the next day. As you try and listen to the faint echo of some of your favourite songs, it becomes clear you’re one of only a handful of people to even own a copy of their debut – this made even more abundant by the fact people start to leave during the final note of that song that really made them the breakthrough last year. The band will play old songs in the encore to a rapidly decreasing and increasingly indifferent audience, and everyone else will appear to leave as one. Radio 1 doesn’t play these songs, so surely they’re not any good. As you make your way out desperate to get home, you realise the fun is only just starting. You have to get home but the car park is static, fake merchandise sellers are rife and if you’re considering public transport, my advice would be learn how to live without breathing.