After frantic ticket sales for concerts last quarter, the box office booths in the Louis Room at Norris were surprisingly quiet Thursday morning. Students trickled in and out to buy tickets for A&O Productions’s last concert of the year, the A&O Ball, featuring Counting Crows and Wild Sweet Orange.
About half of the tickets for the April 10 event — more than 850 — had been sold as of 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, according to A&O Chairman Alex White. Barring a surge of interest before the Norris Box Office closes at 6 p.m., the $15 tickets will still be available Friday.
Weinberg senior John Szostak said he had expected more people to be there.
“I got here around 8:45. I just picked up a voucher though, and came back, because I realized the line wasn’t going to be that long,” he said.
Wendy Culp felt the same way.
“I’m really surprised they’re not sold out already,” the senior said while waiting in a fifteen-person line at 11 a.m.
During Winter Quarter, tickets for shows by B.J. Novak and Flight of the Conchords sold out within an hour. For the A&O Ball, each student was allowed to purchase up to two tickets, instead of the four or eight allowed for this year’s other shows.
The ticket includes transportation to Chicago’s Riviera Theatre, where the show will be held and which holds more people than Cahn Auditorium or Tech Auditorium.
“It’s so hard to predict beforehand how ticket sales are going to go, and so we learned from the past few months that it’s always better to be overprepared,” White said. A&O also set up more ticket booths this time and opened 30 minutes early.
For the Flight of the Conchords show in March, some students complained that people took advantage of the four-tickets-per-WildCARD rule to scalp tickets.
“We’re trying to cater to the student body. We thought we were acting in the students’ best interest to let one WildCARD buy four tickets, because then only one person has to go to Norris and wait in line,” White said. “But after people got kind of upset, we decided the people who want it most will wake up early and buy two tickets, and that will reduce scalping and ensure that the people who most want to go will go.”
White said A&O has been considering an event with Counting Crows for a while. A survey done by A&O two years ago showed that students were very interested in the band. Counting Crows recently released their fifth album, Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings, making the concert even more timely.
Landing the Counting Crows had a price. Although White declined to say how much it had cost A&O to secure the band, he said that this was A&O’s “second-biggest show after Kanye West, in terms of cost of the band and name recognition.” The money that A&O had saved with good deals with OK Go and Ben Kweller went toward the Counting Crows concert.
White said he was “thrilled” by the attention that has surrounded A&O events this year.
“A&O’s purpose is to unite the Northwestern community and the Northwestern campus. We’re having two opportunities to unite them, first through ticket sales, and then two weeks later, at the event itself, and there’s so much hype around the tickets that the event seems that much more special,” he said. “I’m proud of all A&O has done this year.”