As I recently posted on Facebook, I won tickets to see Muse and 30 Seconds to Mars at the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, NC.
When I first heard that Muse would be coming to Charlotte, I was excited. Sure, 30 Seconds to Mars is cool and all, but I’m a much bigger fan of Muse. I’ve always heard that they put on probably the best live show that anyone has ever seen. Touring so close to home, it would be a shame to have to pass them up.
However, to see a band play, you have to have tickets to the show. General Admission tickets are $30 a pop just to get inside, on top of gas, food, etc. As much as I wanted to see the show, I generally have a hard time justifying the cost of a concert. Considering how many shows I see with suite tickets in the Bon Secours Wellness Arena from work, paying more money for worse seats usually doesn’t sit well with me. I’m spoiled, I know.
Ultimately, I wrote it off. I would like to see the show, but that money would be better spent towards bills, groceries, and other necessary expenses. I could just keep an eye out for the next time they might tour nearby, and try to go then. Until then, listening to their studio music would have to do.
Fast forward a few days to February 15, I’m driving home with the radio tuned to 93.3 The Planet Rocks. Between songs, they announce a contest for Muse tickets. Hey, awesome! Can’t hurt to put in for them, even if I know I won’t win. At 9:35 PM, I text the code word “Super” to 72341 for my contest entry. (Yes, I texted while driving. It’s dangerous, I know, but cut me some slack.)
I get the return text, “You’re entered, but have you done all you could do? Text as many times as you want before 8:30. Winner will be chosen at random.” Wut. I can keep texting in, and each one counts as a distinct entry? And even though the message said 8:30, the host mentioned 10, so I assume he’s right and they just didn’t update the auto-response. Surely, there’s some sort of limit to that. Just to test it out, I text “Super” in 2 more times. After those messages, I receive, “Thx, u can keep entering, but WTPT-FM will not send u any more messages unless u’ve won or the contest has ended. Msg&Data rates may aply-STOP 2quit-8775710774” Dis gon b gud.
I’ve got unlimited text messages, so I just start spamming “Super” over and over again. Plenty of other listeners are probably doing the same, but I figure I’ll at least get a decent shot at winning if I send in enough messages. I swipe it on the keyboard so much that it becomes muscle memory. I’m entering the word and hitting send without even looking at my phone. Consequently, I send a couple of messages with “Zooey” or some other word that is similar in input to “Super.” Whenever I enter something besides “Super,” I get the generic response of “*gets fat so I can enjoy heavy petting* – Diesel” and keep on going.
After 94 “Super” messages (and yes, I counted them), I decide that I should throw in some placeholder messages to keep up with it later. Texting “Rock” to 72341 will give the last 3 songs played on the station, and I can do that between each song played to keep up with my progress. I’ve got it down to a system.
When 10 PM rolled around, I started getting the generic response for “Super” messages. Guess that means the contest is over. All in all, I texted in… 94+53+49+71+16… 283 entries, plus 2 messages that arrived after the contest was over. It helps to realize that a full page of “Super” texts on my phone is 11 messages. Getting the generic response for “Super” and no message about winning, I figure somebody else got the tickets. Cool story, bro. It was fun to try.
After just a few moments, I get another text. I look down at my phone and see, “SUPER!!! You just won 2 tickets to see Muse 6/15 in Charlotte!!! Please reply with your full name and address. Promotions will call when tickets arrive.” Wut. Surely, I didn’t just… Did I read that right? I was filled with an odd combination of excitement and disbelief. I’ve never won tickets to anything, besides the suite drawings at work. There’s no way I just got tickets to a Muse concert.
Half expecting that the whole thing is a big prank, I text in my name and address. Receiving the generic response again, I figure it would be cool, but I’m not banking on going to the concert. Until I have tickets in my hand, I refuse to get any more excited.
I went several days in a state of moderate disbelief. I tried to push the tickets out of my mind, but the idea was always there. Did I really win tickets? Is 93.3 just trolling people? I got the text message, sure, but I’m still not convinced.
Then, on February 23, I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize in the 864 area code. Is this it, are they calling me about tickets, or is this just a bill collector or spam call? I answer it, and lo and behold, it’s Entercom. “Hey, just wanted to call and let you know that we have your tickets for the Muse concert. Just come by our office and you can pick them up.”
Unfortunately, Entercom’s office is only open on weekdays from 8:30 to 5:30. There’s no way I could get there and back during an hour lunch break, and leaving right when I got off work wouldn’t get me there before they close. Oh bother.
I clear it with my supervisor to leave a little early one day and skip lunch, so I can beat rush hour traffic and hopefully get there in time. I roll up in the parking lot, buzz the doorbell, and step inside. If they don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m going to look like a complete tool.
I walked up to the front desk lady and said, “Hey, I’m here to pick up some tickets I won.” She asked, “What station are they for?” I respond, “93.3. They’re for Muse and 30 Seconds to Mars.” She got my ID to check that I was indeed the winner, and stepped away to go get the tickets.
For just a minute or two, I meandered around the small lobby area. When she returned, she had the tickets in hand. This is it! I had to sign a paper indicating that I had received the tickets, and she gave me the tickets with my license. I had honest to goodness won Muse tickets from a radio station. It wasn’t a prank, I actually got tickets for free.
Admittedly, I was a little disappointed to see that the tickets were general admission lawn seats. But hey, it gets me in the door for free, so I can’t complain. One way or another, I will finally get to see this supposedly fantastic show that Muse puts on. The tickets distinctly say “No Cameras / No Video,” so that kinda rules out bringing the GoPro like I was planning on doing. Even if I can’t put the concert on YouTube, though, I’ll get to see it in person.
All in all, I’m still surprised I actually won the tickets. I never win anything, especially something I was already really interested in seeing. Hopefully, the lawn seats will be better than I’m expecting, and maybe I can sneak the GoPro in without anyone noticing. If not, at least I’ll get to see a band I really like, and experience something I otherwise would’ve had to forego.
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