Tickets for tonight's Rolling Stones concert at the 2,000-capacity Warner Theater were officially "sold out" early Tuesday morning, but yesterday the real scramble for seats began.
Jeff Carter, the president's son, was put on hold and is still hoping. Scalpers asked anywhere from $50 to $250 for the $10 tickets. Rumors of counterfeit tickets spread like hot wax.
Sam L'Hommedieu of Cellar Door productions (the concert's producer) said yesterday he had heard the bogus ticket rumors. Precautions have been taken, he said, to insure that "no one who buys a counterfeit ticket on the street will be admitted to the show.
"Without getting specific," he said, "we have ways of identifying the real tickets. We have safeguarded against counterfeit tickets.
As for scalping, John McLynn, owner of Orpheus Records, said the street price yesterday was $50.
McLynn, whose store is one of Cellar Door's ticket outlets, added, "We weren't selling the tickets, but our phones are burned out. We must have gotten 5,000 phone calls."
Carol Benefield, assistant to Rosalynn Carter, said the first family had requested eight tickets for Jeff Carter and his wife, Annette, but as of last night they were still "on hold."
"We're just like everybody else," said Benefield. "We haven't been able to get any tickets."
Ed Stone, a 27-year-old stagehand from Alexandria, drove up to the Warner Theater Tuesday morning just in time to see the last ticket sold. So later in the day, he placed a small ad in a local newspaper offering $25 for a ticket. The response was a shock.
"I had people calling all day, and the prices they were quoting for tickets were outrageous; $150 for a fifth-row seat, $100 for a seat in the 20th row." The highest Stone is willing to pay is $50, five times the original cost of the ticket.
Two classified ads placed in The Washington Post yesterday offered Rolling Stones tickets for sale. Two of the tickets were sold yesterday for $200 each, said one advertiser, who added that afterward he got offers of up to $1,000 for the pair.
"The question is," says Ed Stone, "what's it really worth? The Rolling Stones are good, but they're not that good."