Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Love from The Congregation

Several months ago I joined The Congregation. I'm not talking about any church, but I am talking about a pretty awesome community of pretty awesome people.

Congregation - 1992
For as long as I can remember, Joe was a member of The Congregation (the name comes from an Afghan Whigs album) via listserv and so he was my constant source of info on everything Greg Dulli. I followed his listserv emails for awhile after he passed, but eventually decided I needed to just join the Facebook group version myself.

Friday was a big day in Afghan Whigs world and I was so glad to be a member of The Congo (as it is affectionately called by members) because a big day in Afghan Whigs world also meant it was an emotional day in Anne world.

It all started earlier that week with the announcement that The Afghan Whigs, who are reuniting after being apart for way too long, will be playing their first show at The Bowery Ballroom in NYC on May 23. The venue was one of my & Joe's favorites and as I've mentioned in previous posts, the music of The Afghan Whigs was a key undercurrent in our relationship over the years. There was a special presale on Wednesday at 10am. I set the alarm on my phone and missed it by a few minutes because I was speaking with a worker on an organizing campaign at LGA at 10am. By the time I got to it a few minutes after 10, the presale tickets were sold out and I joined others in The Congregation lamenting about the tickets we weren't able to snatch up. There was still hope, we said.

A limited number of additional tickets were due to go on sale at noon on Friday. I was doing the Ticketmaster capcha thing starting at 11:59am just to be sure. My emotions were running high as I pictured being at that venue waiting for Greg and John and Rick to take the stage. Again and again, no tickets available. My heart sank as I started to check StubHub and saw prices double that of the actual ticket price. I went to the only place where I knew others would understand and posted in The Congregation.

Almost as soon as I posted others joined my lament and then came the news we were all dreading.


I jumped over to StubHub and started to purchase a ticket. After going through the whole process...that ticket is no longer available at that price. Those damn ticket scalpers knew it was sold out too and the prices started to soar. I managed to get one for just under 3x the ticket price. (The cheapest StubHub tickets are now listed at 4x the face value.)

I had told The Congregation about my emotional connection to the upcoming concert and I was overwhelmed by the support that was shown to me. I even received a private message from someone offering to help pay for one of those overpriced tickets if I hadn't gotten one. Someone from LA offered his extra ticket at face value. (Since I had already gotten one his extra ticket went to another member of The Congregation who had gotten shut out of Ticketmaster.) The comment threads were full of people with kind words who reassured me that even though I only have one ticket I won't be at the show alone.  These are good people. Really good people.

I'm happy that slowly but surely many of those in The Congregation who were unable to get tickets through the evil giant we know as Ticketmaster were able to find tickets through other members. I'm holding out hope that somehow all of us who want to be there will be able to celebrate the reunion of my (our) favorite band together. Maybe Greg will even give us a shout out on one number and say "This one's for The Congregation". It's been a fantasy thrown around on the Facebook group and it would definitely send the night over the top. No matter what, May 23 is going to be amazing.


  1. Great post! :-)

    I'm so tempted to succumb to SH even though I detest the idea of people taking advantage of fans. :-(

    I'm also afraid of getting a ticket then getting shut out at the door. Have you had experience w/ SH?

    1. I've used SH for sports tickets before with no problems. They do have some protections in place, but I would be HORRIFIED if something went wrong at the door. Hope you are able to make it!