Today’s memory comes to us from David-James Figueroa, who headed security at Metro for over two decades. As you can imagine, he has a LOT of stories, and we’ll be featuring several of his favorites throughout the year on this blog.
Today he shares a memory many Metro security staff have experienced - what it is like to work the line for an on sale date for a super hot show. In this case, the year was 1997 and the show was the one and only, Bob Dylan. For any “hot” show, scalpers often attempt to buy up the tickets and sell them at a profit, and Metro employees try to discourage that from happening so that real fans all have a fair shot at getting tickets. David-James shares one of his favorite memories of how scalpers were handled that day -
Tickets were going on sale, a two ticket limit. It was 40 degrees outside and the line was all the way around the block, up Clark Street, down Racine, and around the corner of Waveland. Grandparents, moms and dads, the age range was mostly people in their 30s to 60s. The line was calm and collected. We offered coffee to the people in line, since it was so cold out.
Joe [Shanahan, Metro’s owner] says to me - “here’s a few people in this line that don’t look right”. He walked up and down the line like it was Studio 54, eyeballing people, trying to sniff out the scalpers. We knew that scalpers had hired people to stand in line and buy tickets, so they could resell them for higher prices later.
He saw one guy who looked like he was a stand in for a scalper and asked him what his favorite Bob Dylan song was. The guy said he didn’t have one and Joe kicked him out of the line.
He came to another guy and asked the same question, and he also didn’t have one, so Joe kicked him out of line too.
Finally, he came to a young kid, much younger than the rest of the line, probably late teens or early 20s and asked him, hey, what’s your favorite Bob Dylan song. The kids says “I don’t have one, buy my grandparents do, it’s called Like A Rolling Stone.” Joe asked him “why are you here” and replied “My parents got me to wait in line for them and my grandparents.”
Joe just smiled and kept walking. He turned to me and said “If that kid is BS-ing me, he got me.”