On Saturday, August 3rd at approximately 9:20 p.m., the physical embodiment of the Beyoncé concept, Beyoncé, took the stage for the first of three consecutive performances at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. On Saturday, August 3rd at approximately 8:20 p.m., two Gawker bloggers covered in body glitter (in hindsight: why?) concocted an iffy plan to make it onto the floor of the area, without purchasing floor passes for a thousand dollars.
But let's start at the beginning.
Caity: 2 MIN
Leah: I'm scared the site is gonna crash
Caity: Me too. I guess I'll start refreshing like 3 sec before
Leah: uh oh its crashing
Caity: I PUT BUY 10
THAT FEELS EXCESSIVE
Leah: Me too! It took me back to the start
Caity: WAIT IT SAYS NONE AVAILABLE WTF
Caity: That was our Gchat way back in February, when all the Beyoncé tickets available for her August 3 show at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn somehow sold out before they even went on sale. Immediately (seconds) after failing to procure our seats through the legitimate channels, we logged on to StubHub where we paid a king's ransom for what I'm pretty sure were the actual worst seats in the Barclays Center.
Like, ushers LAUGHED at our tickets when we presented them.
Leah: Confirmed. When I took my kid sis to a Postal Service concert a few weeks earlier as a favor to my mom and for no other reason, I scoped it out. The worst seats. Not no way we were seeing Beyoncé that way.
Caity: Right, I remember you talking about that show and how you were literally moved to tears by the music of the Postal Service and how you had never previously believed that the beauty and poetry of love could be successfully committed to lyrics and how I should seriously listen to this song because it will change my life, and also you said the seats weren’t good.
Leah: Who is this?
Caity: SO, we came up with a game plan for getting better seats.
And that plan was basically: Just ask people nicely to give us better seats
Leah: FLIRT GIRL FLIRRRRT.
You were wearing a beautiful white dress and sparkly earrings. And I was wearing all BLACK like a real "punk." It was like Mary-Kate and Ashley from New York Minute.
Caity: We were an angel and a devil. Actually, we ended up presenting an interesting variation on the Good Cop/Bad Cop theme, which was Black Cop/White Cop.
Leah: We found two fantastic security guys—MEN really—and without realizing or really understanding what was happening to me, I did Liz Lemon moves. And you did…well you were charming and normal.
Caity: You were in fine form. (Fine as in extra fine granulated sugar, which is starkly white.) At one point you said something like "Does that mean I'm down?! [arm flail]"
Leah: I DID NOT.
Caity: It was something along those lines. And you did a move. And the security guards and I all shook our heads both literally and in the SMH sense.
But it was great! It was endearing. You and I were basically fun house mirror versions of ourselves (and probably terrifying to these poor, very normal security guards.)
Leah: I did do a move. I "busted" a move. Is that right, sweetie?
Caity: "Busted" is a great way to describe what that was.
Leah: I don't know why we thought our new boyfriends would get us to better seats.
Caity: Gotta start networking from the ground up! I remember telling them “If this goes south and they call you in, please go easy when you escort us from the venue.”
So after you were done being Liz Lemon at them (successful come home life, successful work life — CAN I HAVE IT ALL, guys, and also am I down???), we told the fellas our goal: "We have the worst seats in the stadium...We would like to have better seats in the stadium.”
Leah: They laughed. Multiple times.
Caity: They also used the phrase "Mission Impossible" multiple times.
Leah: And asked "So what are you doing later?"
Caity: We kind of danced around that, though I'm sure the truth ("Putting on jammies and having a snooze") would have been the most off-putting answer of all.
ANYWAY, they ended up giving some very valuable pieces of advice.
Leah: Was it that valuable? "Find the ushers. You will know them because they are the ushers."
Caity: I think it was. Kind of prophecy-esque. What they actually said was:
1) "Find the guys in the grey vests."
2) "You'll have to catch one of them slipping."
3) "I've seen it done. It can be done. But it's not easy."
So armed with this information (and the really nice business card that one of them gave you)…
Leah: ...We set off to answer the riddles.
Caity: [Click for soundtrack]
Leah: One entryway looked especially crowded with several people going to their seats, so we walked in and slipped right behind the usher. And just kept RUNNING.
Caity: We ran frantically, which is also hilarious because there's nothing wrong with being in the wrong section. "Ladies, you used the wrong entrance. YOU'RE GOING TO JAIL."
Leah: No not at all. But we were really afraid. We had a lot to lose. What if they kicked us out?
Caity: So you pointed out a stretch of seats a few aisles away that was almost completely empty…
Leah: You were really worried, rightly, that people were coming to boot us out.
Caity: …And we sat down there because those were totally our seats, right? I mean unless we're reading the tickets wrong which is NOT ILLEGAL, IT'S NOT ILLEGAL TO READ THE TICKETS WRONG.
Leah: Then we wanted to get even closer. Greedy.
Caity: And we saw the storied man in gray that the Keepers of Security had told us about. A Gandalf-type figure.
Leah: So we went down to him and told him our plight, but he was not receptive at first.
Caity: There was a lot of "It can't be done. There's no way. One does not simply walk into Mordor."
Leah: AND THEN the Witches Three came to our aid.
Caity: Three lovely middle-aged women with killer seats.
Leah: And the biggest piece of cake I've ever seen.
Caity: RIGHT. Huuuuuuge piece of cake; amazing seats at a Beyoncé show. It's fun to look at someone and realize you are appearing in a supporting role in the greatest moment of their life.
Leah: Totally. It was as though they were saying to us, "Here it is. This is as good as it gets. And it gets pretty damn good."
Caity: So they started pleading our case. "Oh, let them in! We won't tell!"
Leah: One offered to show her friend's boob.
Caity: "Just one though!"
Leah: Well, we're strangers.
Caity: That is very WWJD. Jesus would have bent over backwards—taken his boobs right out of his shirt—to get us better seats.
Leah: And after that it looked like he was softening. You guys really clicked.
Caity: Eventually I said something along the lines of "Obviously, we're not going to try to get down onto the floor, because we would never try to do that and we're not going to ask you to help us do that. But hypothetically, if someone were to attempt that, how might they go about it?"
And Gandalf said, "Maybe if they had some money and came back when the lights went down..."
Leah: The whole place was only about 2/3 full at this point (20 minutes to showtime). So the mission seemed possible!
Caity: So when he said that we gave him the stagiest of stage winks. Finger to the nose. Tug on the ear. “OK…Well, see you around ;D!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Leah: Then we fled to other empty seats that weren't ours and began collecting money for our bribe.
Caity: I had $40. You had $10, $5 of which was in $1-bills (great effort, Leah). So together: A respectable $50. If that $50 somehow found its way into Gandalf's hands...well, wouldn't that be an interesting evening?
Leah: Interesting how life just works out. Interesting indeed.
Caity: I bound the money up with a hair tie and held it in my sweaty palm for the next 20 minutes.
Leah: At one point this new Bar Mitzvah jam started playing. That, more than anything, was a real barometer for how fun the crowd was. EVERYONE got up to groove. Except for us because we 1) didn't know the song, so embarrassing 2) were so afraid we'd be caught in not our seats and miss our shot with Gandalf.
Yes, I think I was freaking out more than you were because I'm not a rule breaker, in general.
Leah: You texted me: "What section are you in? I think I might be wrong."
Leah: In case what? They snatched you and your phone? Proof!
Caity: So that if security came we could say "Oh, we're trying to find our friends! We think we're in the wrong section." Never hurts to have more proof.
Another idea I had was to make our own wristbands.
Leah: This was the best thing you've ever done. Part of the problem with Gandalf was that we did not have wristbands…
Caity: …But luckily I had a vintage red-orange lipstick in my purse. (A lipstick from the 1960s, $40, and my Pennsylvania driver's license were the only things I brought.) And we drew our own wristbands. I think they actually looked great. Thick, clean lines. If you had glanced in the dark, they would have passed.
Leah: I think mine only just came off me today.
Caity: So, after about 20 minutes of agony, during which time we were literally praying outloud for the lights to go out (TURN OUT THESE LIGHTS TURN OUT THESE LIGHTS PLEASE GOD LET THESE LIGHTS GO OUT), the lights went dark and we BOOKED IT into the aisle—only to see Gandalf running past us up the steps!
Leah: I was on overload. Beyoncé had started singing "GIRLS (WHO RUN THE WORLD)" and we were just running around in circles like chickens with our heads cut off.
Caity: She looked PISSED too, which was hilarious. I guess she was being a diva. She looked really mad at everything that wasn’t a diva.
But it was fantastic. We were screaming and grabbing one another. You pointed out that her costume made her look exactly like an ice-skater wearing flesh-colored skates, which was correct.
Leah: Hands down the best show I've ever been to.
Caity: She just instantly began killing it. The slaughter proceeded until the final note of the night. A real bloodbath of success. Beyoncé Murders Thousands with Greatness.
Leah: 19,000 Ghosts Seen Emerging From Barclays Following Massacre of Perfection.
Caity: She wouldn’t even be surprised or excited to know it was our favorite show ever. though. “Yes, I know it was your favorite show ever. It was my show. I did the show.”
Leah: So a couple of songs in, we saw Gandalf return to his post and bounded down with the $50.
Caity: "SO....WE FOUND $50 ON THE GROUND," I (quietly?) yelled.
Unfortunately, right at that moment, some BASIC BITCHES with NO SENSE and NO KNOWLEDGE OF THE RULE BREAKING ARTS bumbled down the steps and started unsubtly pleading with Gandalf to let them pass. (But like.)
I have never seen such a perfect game get so thoroughly fucked up so quickly.
Leah: SO quickly. I was so upset. And so was Gandalf! They wouldn't stop talking to him even though it was obvious he wanted them to go away. The fair witches were getting mad. Understandably, because we were blocking their view.
Caity: Yes, they turned on us, probably thinking those FOOLS were in our group. You and I obediently crouched down. But the blondes, lurching all over the place, did not get the memo. When God was handing out memos, the blondes thought he said “Mentos” and they were like "What do we need with Mentos?" so they did not get it.
Finally, those girls staggered back to Hell or whatever wretched place they came from.
Leah: To be fair, we were all in the same boat. I don't know why we felt so entitled, but we did.
Caity: 1) The wine we had beforehand. 2) We were entitled because there’s an etiquette to rule breaking that they were violating. They were blowing up Gandalf's spot and clearly had no plan—It's like an elegant bank heist in which no one is injured (us) vs. two morons running into a SunTrust, guns blazing, with stockings on their heads, killing hostages (them). Just beause you're breaking the rules doesn't mean you don't have to follow the rules!
So after they teetered off (A/N: Beyoncé was backstage doing a costume change at this point, so we weren't missing anything except a weird video about being a woman and owning your sensuality), Gandalf leaned in to me and whispered, smoothly but urgently, “It's too hot right now. They're watching. Come back later. It's too hot right now!"
Leah: Which relegated us to the aisle a few rows up. My face was pressed into a guy's thick neck while he concert-hugged his girlfriend.
But, throughout it all, so much screaming and singing and dancing.
Caity: Yes, we really didn't miss a beat or a scream throughout this whole ordeal. It's difficult to convey the adrenaline. If we had been taken out, sniper style, by Beyoncé's manager at that point so that she could feast on us after the show, the meat would have been VERY gamey.
Also that is absolutely the way I want my remains disposed of.
Leah: The biggest rush of adrenaline came when, from out of the darkness, an usher rushed in to tell me I couldn't stand where I was (with one foot in the aisle).
Caity: Yes, that was the most heart-stopping moment of the caper. First you became separated from me—DIVING into this random aisle of seats—and you turned back and gave me the most frantic sad face. I kind of reached my hand out to you, like you were in a lifeboat and I was still on the Titantic. “I’LL NEVER FORGET YOU.”
Leah: But—miraculously!—there were exactly two open seats and a kind 50-something lady, who ended up screaming the loudest screams throughout the show, assumed they were ours and ushered us in. I was just standing next to her and she immediately moved aside. Her friend was standing on one of them for a better view, so I think they were sensitive to the rightful seat holders.
Caity: I grabbed onto that woman and screamed (while clutching her) during the intro to"Love on Top."
I would love to know more about the people who bought and didn't use those seats. I'm so glad they never showed, because we would have had to give them up and run for our lives.
Leah: Two names: Michelle. Kelly.
Leah: Hoping the camera pans over them in the crowd. Their last shot at fame.
Caity: I don't think Michelle could have afforded those seats. We certainly couldn't.
I still had a StubHub tab open when I came home after the show, and I think I found our (adoptive) section on the map of ticket offerings. Guess how much the tickets were going for on StubHub.
Leah: Oh YES I am so glad you looked.
Caity: You're gonna flip
Leah: Hmm $600?
Caity: OVER. ONE. THOUSAND. DOLLARS.
Leah: WHAT WHAT WHAT
Caity: However the REALLY interesting thing is that the seats we ended up taking retailed for $150 on Ticketmaster, where, due to the insane should-be-illegal behind-the-scenes voodoo of ticket sales, it was virtually impossible to buy them. That is less (!!!) than we ended up paying StubHub for our nosebleed seats.
Leah: They were amazing seats, though. Especially after Beyoncé FLEW into the air and landed on a smaller stage directly in front of us. I think she was maybe 15 or 20 feet from us then?
Caity: In a harness CUSTOM-MODIFIED so that it exactly matched her purple glitter catsuit. (Here's a photo of the outfit from an earlier tour stop. Note that the harness had not yet been modified at this point.)
We should probably also mention that we tried for months to acquire press credentials to cover this show and failed. Since Team Beyoncé did not trust us to provide an engaging review of her show, I’m comfortable leaving our official synopsis at:
“She seamlessly incorporated The Jeffersons’ theme song into Single Ladies. The t-shirts cost $60.”
[Source photo via Getty/Art by Jim Cooke.]