At the end of the line was a Train concert

Ten minutes before the on-sale time of 9 a.m. today. and the 25 or so folks are ready at the gate of the New York State Fair.

Ten minutes before the on-sale time of 9 a.m. today. and the 25 or so folks are ready at the gate of the New York State Fair.

I thought my days of standing in line to buy concert tickets were decades in my rear view mirror.

Then the announcement that Train was coming to the New York State Fair Grandstand this August flashed before us. And I saw the look in my dear wife Karen’s eyes.

I was No. 3 in line when I arrived at the fair box office at 7 a.m. this morning, two hours before the tickets to see rock band Train and a pretty fair opener, The Wallflowers led by Jakob Dylan, went on sale.

First in line to buy Train tickets was the daughter-mother team of  Elisa Fasulo, left, and Elisa Morales.

First in line to buy Train tickets was the daughter-mother team of Elisa Fasulo, left, and Elisa Morales.

Three people were already ahead of me.

We’ll call the mother-daughter combination of Elisa Morales and Elisa Fasulo Nos. 1 and 1A because they would be going to the ticket window together. The pair from the Syracuse-flanking village of Solvay said they’d been sitting in their portable chairs, blankets ready, since 5:30 a.m.

Elisa Jr. will be graduating from high school this spring.

Yes, the 17-year-old is into the music of Train, a band that’s been around practically her whole life.

“She’s an old soul,” Elisa Sr. says with a big smile.

Also ahead of me was Midge Jaquays of nearby Lakeland. She lives so close to the fairgrounds, she said, that yes she may be able to walk — or be ferried by neighbors — to see the Train show come August.

Today, though, Midge had driven. And when she pulled in at 6:30 a.m., she was plucky enough to have pulled right past the guard telling drivers that parking was across the street.

Across the busy boulevard. Over the bridge. That's where ticket-buyers were told to park today.

Across the busy boulevard. Over the bridge. That’s where ticket-buyers were told to park today.

The rest of us who followed instructions were told by the man in the heated booth guarding the fair-side entrance to turn around, drive a tad, turn right, and go up and over to the Brown lot.

That’s the lot the fair grants media parking passes to, the lot I ended up parking in during two decades of reviewing fair concerts. When the boulevard is heavy with swarming passenger cars, the Brown lot is extremely convenient, a couple or three football fields worth of walking over a bridge to the fair gates.

When a line to buy concert tickets maxes out around 25? When hours are spent watching the dozen or so cars being turned away from an empty lot right there?

Not so much.

I know, how are the fair people to know how long the line will be? Tickets for the Jason Aldean concert went on sale already, and the place was jammed with people wanting to make sure they got theirs for the country star, whose show was a sure sell-out.

A couple dozen people this morning decided that being at the gate in person would be better than going online at 9 a.m. to buy tickets.

Midge Jaquays, right, uses a column for comfort and wind barrier as Train fans arrive around 8  a.m., an hour before on sale time.

Midge Jaquays, right, uses a column for comfort and wind barrier as Train fans arrive around 8 a.m., an hour before on sale time.

Why, you ask, would I choose to come two hours early and stand outside for hours on a 40-degree, windy day rather than purchase the tickets online from my recliner?

No service fee at the box office, for one.

No worrying about the system timing you out before you can type in all of your address and appropriate credit card information.

I didn’t know how long the line was going to be, either, but I suspected that getting there by 7 a.m. would get me near the front.

I didn’t want front-row tickets, or any seats on the floor. Been there. In row one, you have to look up high at the stage. Strain in the neck. On the floor, all 20 or so rows of look-at-how-great-our-seats-are fans can be expected to stand up the entire concert. Done that.

My preference was in the second row of the blue, elevated seats. They’re close to the stage. They’re raised, almost to stage level. They’re high enough that you’re above people walking in the aisle between the floor seats and the elevated seats.

And Karen loves sitting there.

The folks ahead of me were hoping for front row.

The pair behind me, Robin Kline and Sarah Colseo of Baldwinsville, were hoping for three up close, too, including a ticket for Kline’s 13-year-old daughter, Samantha.

We would see.

Natalie Pepin was married on stage during Train's 2012 concert here as the band played, naturally, "Marry Me."

Natalie Pepin was married on stage during Train’s 2012 concert here as the band played, naturally, “Marry Me.”

Besides, you don’t meet interesting Train fans in person waiting for 9 a.m. to arrive with your fingers ready to type at home.

No. 7 in line, Natalie Pepin, arrived about 90 minutes before 9 with her aunt.

Yes, Pepin had experienced a Train concert up close before.

In 2012, Pepin won the online video contest to secure the slot to have a marriage performed on stage as Pat Monahan sang “Marry Me.” Natalie found out she won the contest 10 days before the concert.

Surprise, Brandon Pepin!

“We had been engaged for years, but with no plans for the wedding,” Natalie says. “I had to go out and buy a dress.”

She also had to make sure she had enough tickets to meet the needs of family and friends who wanted to see her get married.

The contest delivered two tickets in the eighth row. She’d won two already in a radio station giveaway. The fair folks gave her seven more for the big day.

“Oh, yes, we are happy,” Natalie declares about she and Brandon, who will celebrate their second wedding anniversary two days after this August’s concert.

Sarah Colseo, left, and Robin Kline, of Baldwinsville will be going to the show along with Kline's 13-year-old daughter.

Sarah Colseo, left, and Robin Kline, of Baldwinsville will be going to the show along with Kline’s 13-year-old daughter.

It was windy and a few snow flurries flew.

Midge was shivering. Then her friend David arrived with a cup of hot chocolate. Good man.

About 10 minutes before the golden hour, two security guards took spots ahead of the ticket buyers.

They smoothly pointed at 9 a.m. to the Elisa and Elisa team, Midge and David, and I.

We walked up to the three ticket windows.

We relayed our needs.

I heard whoops after the women behind me replaced the mother and daughter at window one.

They’d all gotten front row tickets.

Midge got eight tickets in the center of the fifth row.

I got my second row tickets in the first elevated section, center cut.

Then Midge offered to drive us in her car over to the Brown lot.

We made plans to visit at the Train show. We all knew where each other would be sitting, after all.

43 thoughts on “At the end of the line was a Train concert

  1. Love this! Not only did you score great seats and a wonderful gift for your wife, you met some really nice people along the way:). I love Train–I hope you enjoy and shake what your mama gave ya’.


  2. I haven’t camped out to get tickets since the Australian Made concert in 1987,it was the forerunner to the Big Day Out Concerts – wow I’m sooo old now [crap mortality went and snuck up on me]. I did however sneak out of boarding school on a regular basis to see the Hoodoo Gurus play at the Uni Rec Hall [Stone Age Romeos days way before Mars Needs Guitars]. Enjoy the concert!!


    • Last time for the big wait outside for me was for a Springsteen show in 1984 or so, Jenni. I know exactly how you feel. Go to a concert down there and write about it for us all!


      • Noooo I’m really old – new music scares me!!!

        That comes from the girl who loved Alien Sex Fiends and Toxic Garden Gnomes not to mention Hieronymus Bosch (dated the drummer so kinda had to follow the band)


      • Bite your tongue – never ready to stop but come on tell me the truth does the Mosh Pit hold ANY appeal to you at our age? I always liked pub bands etc anyway but just to prove that I am not as derelict as I fear I will have a scout around about what is coming to Mackay in the next months.

        If it is anything country – WILL NOT be attending as I’d prefer to drink drano but if something or someone decides to visit us up north then Yay. I did just remember that my sister just went to the Springsteen concert in Victoria and she said it was about 40 mins too long – great but needed to be cut a bit so it didn’t lag. The pics she took were great. Might see if she has time to write up something for U&U.


      • No, no mosh pits for me anymore, Jenni. At a Metallica set at Lollapalooza in the ’90s I got a boot to the head, and I was trying to stay on the outside ring of the action.

        Yes, I would love to see sis’s Springsteen shots and prose on U&U!


  3. Mark, I hade to google Train- never Heard of…
    BUT I found them on Youtube! WOW- great Music! ( I’m listening to them now! )
    This is one of the things that I just LOVE with Internet, blogging and all this! You get to know so much you wouldnt have known otherwise!
    So thanks for sharing your story about the tickets! I found i new Group that I do like!
    Hope the conert will be great!
    Have a fab sunday!


    • That’s how I feel when I see your photos, Anna. I love to learn about a country where I’ve never been. The colors where you live are so vibrant!

      I’m glad you like the music of Train. They have a great sound.

      Have a wonderful Sunday!



  4. It’s wonderful to get exactly what you want–and meet double Elisas. Someone’s got to ask: I know it was cold, but did you get drops of Jupiter in your hair, waiting in line?


  5. this is a wonderful post and a huge victory mark. have a great time at the concert. i love how you bonded with the people in line, exactly as i love doing, they are my partners after just 3 minutes.


  6. I love stories ‘peopled’ with great persons! I enjoyed this musical and interesting story of how you arrived at 7 am and learned some stories to share with us! This is exactly how I would have handled this opportunity! Great job getting tickets for one of your wife’s favorite groups, Train tickets!


  7. Woo! I’m so envious, I was jumping up and down while reading your post. I fully expect an obscene amount of photos. I saw them in Nashville two years ago and it blew up a brief storm during the first part of the show and they didn’t reschedule. Can’t wait to hear about it.


    • I was at the 2012 show when the woman I wrote about got married on stage. Yay! Train opened for Maroon 5 that night and I thought Monahan blew Adam Levine’s vocals away when all was said and done, PLGCM. I will be posting after this August’s show, yes, indeed.


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