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Fan buys 67 tickets for show at 2005-04-13: Casper, WY, Casper Events Centre - with the Imposters
Casper Star Tribune, 2005-03-09
Brendan Burke

What's so funny about peace, love and buying tickets?

Star-Tribune staff writer

In this world, there are fans and there are fanatics.

A fan owns his favorite team's jersey. A fanatic has his favorite team's logo tattooed upon his flesh.

A fan has a poster of her favorite singer. A fanatic builds a shrine to him.

A fan buys a ticket to see an artist they like live. A fanatic, fearing that artist may cancel his show, spends about $2,000 on dozens of tickets and gives them away.

When it comes to all things Elvis Costello, Casper man Thomas French falls into the latter category, as the 67 tickets he bought and gave away for Costello's April 13 show at the Casper Events Center prove.

"A couple of weeks ago, I heard there were rumors that there were problems up there, like they weren't selling enough tickets and stuff like that," French said. "And maybe there was going to be problems and maybe they were going to have to cancel.

"And I just decided that I could not let that happen."

"I thought about it for a couple of days," French continued. "And I just decided that I was just going to buy all these tickets and give them to pretty much the coolest people I could find and tell them they don't owe me anything for the tickets, just tell everybody that it is going to be a cool show and you should go and check it out."

It took about two hours to give the tickets away, he said.

According to Casper Leisure Services Director Max Torbert, there is no truth to rumors that Costello's show in jeopardy of being cancelled.

Because the show is well over a month away, ticket sales for the concert have not been great, he said. But as April 13 approaches, Torbert said sales should pick up as they always tend to as the show date approaches.

Ticket sales for the Bone Thugs-N-Harmony show on March 28 have been more brisk than Costello sales, Torbert said.

French says it's too bad sales have not been better for Costello.

"It seems like a shame that a relevant artist like Elvis Costello, who just got nominated for an Academy Award and just got nominated for Grammys and just got inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame can hardly find an audience here," he said.

French has seen Costello three or four times before and saw him most recently a few years ago in Denver, he said.

"He played, like, three hours straight, just nonstop rock and roll," he said. "It was one of the best shows I had seen in years."

It is not unusual for one person to buy tickets for an event when they first go on sale, Torbert said. Sometimes ticket brokers will come in and buy them by the bundle. Other times people will just be so excited that they will buy enough to cover all their friends and family, he added.

But having someone buy a mass of tickets weeks after they go on sale is something Torbert had never seen until French appeared at the Events Center Box Office last Friday, he said.

"I don't remember that ever happening. That is a cool deal," Torbert said. "We did provide him with a couple of additional complementary tickets just as a thank you for what he did."

In order to buy the 67 tickets he gave away, French, who works as a driver for a gas company, said he had to increase the amount of a loan he had planned on taking out for other reasons.

"I'll have it paid off in six months," he said.

According to Torbert, there are still plenty of good seats available for the Costello show.

But there are few left in Section J.

"My people will be in Section J," French said.

However, French himself will be sitting in the front row, the spoil of camping out for tickets the night before they went on sale.

"I have a personal motto," French said "'An unexplainable willingness to do something stupid is half the battle.'"

"My life is not boring," he added.

And thanks to his generosity and enthusiasm for Elvis Costello, the night of April 13 won't be boring for a bunch of people.