The Black Keys Refuse to Apologize to Hundreds of Fans Who Bought Tickets and Couldn’t Get Into Their Tour-Opening Show

The Black Keys punished hundreds of fans who purchased tickets from secondary ticketing sites to their opening show in LA.

The scene at LA’s Wiltern Theatre last Thursday was one of chaos mixed with anger and disappointment.  Fans paying hundreds of dollars to see the Black Keys were shut out and refused entry, while those purchasing tickets directly from the band’s fan site were ushered in.

Just one problem: it wasn’t entirely clear that those were the rules.

The Los Angeles Times documented Beatriz Zaragoza and her two children, who collectively paid $700+ on StubHub to see their favorite group — not including expensive parking, dinner, and other customary expenses.  Zaragoza’s son was crying as they were locked out of the show.

“Why did the band do this?” he asked.

Others were also shut out, with hundreds on the phone with customer support for StubHub, Vivid Seats, Ticketmaster, and SeatGeek demanding answers.  Pissed-off fans took pictures of a large crowd hovering around the venue.  Many were simply on interminable hold just minutes before showtime.  Ultimately, the show started without them.

Various reports pointed to hundreds of fans left in the lurch, with many paying hundreds of dollars for worthless tickets. The staff at the Wiltern were reportedly being completely rude to confused ticket-holding fans.  Some apparently got in, while others went home in frustration.  Few seemed to understand what was going on.

“We were turned away,” fan Sherry Sabety (@SSabety) blasted on Twitter, complete with video of the chaotic scene outside.  “Apparently the rotating ticket policy was put into effect 40 min. before showtime. And people were being treated like garbage by the staff.”

Live Nation and its ticketing subsidiary, Ticketmaster, quickly blamed ‘bad actors’ for the disaster.

But they also shifted the source of the issue onto the Black Keys, who tried — rather unsuccessfully — to shut out all secondary ticket sellers.

“The presenters of the concert directed that these tickets be made available only to fans and that they be strictly nontransferable,” Ticketmaster stated. “This was messaged from the beginning with the announcement of the performance and throughout the sales process. Unfortunately, bad actors took advantage of this situation and posted screen shots of tickets that were not valid for entry onto the secondary market. We always recommend purchasing tickets from the official source.”

Ticketmaster reiterated that everyone who purchased through the Ticketmaster site got into the show. But at this stage, it’s unclear if any tickets were shuttled into Ticketmaster’s own secondary ticketing site, TicketsNow.

The Black Keys have now also responded — and notably, haven’t apologized.

“[Thursday night’s] concert tickets were $25 and geared toward the fan club,” the band emailed. “This was our first show in over four years and the kickoff of the Let’s Rock Tour. Because we were playing a venue far smaller than the rest of the venues on the tour as a warmup show, we turned off ticket transferability to ensure that our fans got in the door at the low ticket prices we set for them.”

“Unfortunately, scalpers took this opportunity to defraud our fans and steal their money by selling tickets that were ineligible for transfer on scalper sites.”

Fans locked out of the gig weren’t offered anything, including tickets to an upcoming show.  Refunds weren’t even mentioned.

Meanwhile, secondary ticket sites are crying foul.

They claim there wasn’t a clear notification that tickets were non-transferable.  Fans, unfortunately, also appeared none-the-wiser.

66 Responses

  1. Black Keys Ex-Fan

    $350 down the fucking toilet + wasted evening — guess I’m not a “true” enough fan. Thanks assholes!

    • Nuh Stevens has

      Whaaaaaaaa read the small print. Not their fault you’re an idiot

      • Black Keys Ex-Fan

        I should not have to read the fine print!! Nobody told me that the rules were all of a sudden getting changed for one show!!

        • Guy above me needs to grow up

          You are not a victim… The only thing you are a victim of is your assumption.

          • Black Keys Ex-Fan

            Yeah I guess I’m a victim: of total stupidity. So, I just wanted to go see a show from a band I love, pretty simple. Now I’m getting blamed (and robbed) for not knowing some new rules that weren’t announced or shared properly.

        • Use your brain!

          Direct your anger accordingly! The Black Keys did NOT sell you a non-transferable ticket. You should be angry at the individual that sold you a non-transferable ticket OR the company that allowed that to happen (StubHub or ?).

          • Moderately Disinterested Party

            Exactly! The Black Keys didn’t sell you your ticket, or else you would have gotten in! If you don’t like it, demand your money back from the person that sold you an invalid ticket. Take them to small claims court, even. But, don’t blame the venue nor the band for it.

        • CeeBeePeeBee

          Sorry you got swindled dude but the band said the tickets were not for resale and some fuckface decided to scam you and sell them anyway.

    • Eric Reid

      They didn’t take your money. A scalper did. Why should they reimburse you?

    • Rob

      Fuck scalpers is what this boils down to. Not the keys fault. Good on em.

    • Tory

      For what? Charging reasonable ticket prices for a small venue concert, or for cracking down on scalpers?

      • Boycott Black Keys

        For thinking they can control things that are out of their control. This is never worked in the past Eddie Vedder prove that he couldn’t shut them down so second-rate low band like Black Keys certainly can’t and I and everyone I know who would bethinking about going to this show is now not going to buy tickets.

        • TRUTHMAN




          • DenverJ

            First, yelling at people and calling them assholes is bad form. Second, I’m fifty years old, love the Black Keys, and have only a dim idea of who Eddie Veddar is. Third, if I layed down hundreds of dollars for tickets and wasn’t allowed in, I’d be pretty upset, and I think you woud be, too. So, cut these people a little slack: they’re emotional right now.
            There should be an accounting of how this hapened.
            My opinion is that the band should be gracious, and find some way to work with the ticket sellers to make the buyers whole. It’s just good customer service, and without fans a band ain’t shit.

          • Eddie

            I’m over 50. Your daddy ( if you even know him) should have pulled out.

          • Steves

            TRUTHMAN, people were foolish to buy from 3rd party sources but calling people assholes and losers is just troll behaviour. I guess you’ve never been fooled before. You probably will be at some point in your life, but your too young to understand the real world.

        • DenverJ

          Calling the Black Keys a “second-rate low band” is simply inaccurate, and you know it. They are one of the best bands of their generation. I get it, you’re mad and disappointed. I’d start with demanding your money back from whatever online broker sold you the tickets, and maybe withhold some of your ire at the band, whose culpability seems minium, or at least give them a couple days to think it over.

          • Long duck dong

            Meh that band sucks dog dong. The show should’ve been free to begin with

        • YoureKiddingRight

          That’s like demanding a refund from an actor because the bootleg copy of their movie you bought from a street vendor in Taiwan wasn’t in HD like the vendor wrote in sharpee on the front of the paper bag it came in. The blame is on so called “professional” ticket re-sellers who should be in trouble for tickets they weren’t allowed to sell from the beginning. Get your head out.

  2. Charles Shaw

    Management stepped in and got everyone in. Wiltern was packed. 3rd party resellers (aka scalping sites) are issuing refunds but shouldn’t have resold “non-transferable” tickets in the first place. There are still tickets left to see them again at The Forum. Buy them before it sells out. SafeTix works.

    • Charles Shaw Is a Crappy Wine

      Stop defending your shit show Safetix! The place WAS NOT packed there were empty seats with the people that couldn’t in and LEFT. And yeah let’s HOPE your refund arrives in 90 days or less


  3. Pro-Tip

    Been in this business a long time. What I learned is: You don’t fight for your fans every time then they don’t come back, they take it very very personally. It’s why you never see the greatest touring acts of all time like: U2, Lady Gaga, Ed Sheeran, ever pulling a stunt like this. They wouldn’t have even started the show with a scene like that.

    • Your fault for going through 3rd party sites

      I don’t trust your word on anything if you think the greatest touring acts of all time U2, lady gaga, and Ed Sheeran….also none of it was the bands fault it was the fans fault for going to third party sites n paying outrageous prices.

      • Fun Facts

        Ed Sheeran has the highest grossing tour of ALL time. U2 has the #2 grossing tour.

      • Pro-Tip

        Yeah didn’t say that they were great music said they were the greatest touring acts of all time also Rolling Stones would never let this happen. But you have no clue as to what you’re talking about so why would I expect you to understand any of this

  4. Hollywood Coleman

    So the black keys try to cut out the greedy scalpers and everyone is mad about it. Think for yourself people and stop reading trash “journalism” fro idiots like this guy. They have no reason to apologize

  5. jc1424

    You gotta have a valid ticket to get in, so if people waste a bunch of money on tickets that aren’t… I don’t see how it’s the band’s fault.

  6. Your fault for going through 3rd party sites

    Hahaha well it’s the fans faults for going through 3rdbparty sites. Like how in the article it talked about the lady who went with her two kids who spent over 700$ on the night alone even though the real normal tickets were only 25$ she should of done her reaserch to make sure she wasn’t getting screwed over lol

  7. Blame the Rule Breaker not the Band

    The Black Keys do not owe anyone an apoplogy. I’d understand the fans not knowing that the tickets were not transferable… But the scalper websites should have. Why should the Black Keys give hundreds of dollars in refunds when they didn’t get hundreds of dollars for them? How have we become a civilization that wants to punish someone else other than the criminal who took advantage of naive people?

    This article is straight trash. Click bait meant to enrage.

  8. Ken

    How are we supposed to just know to buy tickets on the band’s website? I’ve never heard of buying tickets directly from a band when it’s this big of a band. I thought you had to buy them from the venue or the company that is hired to manage or promote the shows not directly from the guys that make the music. I mean yea for small bands, friend’s bands, or up and coming bands I’ve bought tickets directly from them because they’re self promoting but it’s the freakin Black Keys. So am I and my buddies going to be able to see The Black Keys at The Forum in November even though we bought 3rd party?

    • JJ


      StubHub, Vivid Seats, SeatGeek… all legit sites brining willing buyers and sellers together (a lot of people actually like these sites go figure.) It’s not the fan’s job or responsibility to know ahead of time that this one particular show by one band isn’t allowed on a site that was totally fine for every other transaction.

      • George

        StubHub, Vivid Seats, SeatGeek… Anyone who sold the black keys tickets there sold them fraudulently and should know the terms of what you are selling. They also said they advertised the tickets as non transferable

      • TRUTHMAN



        • DenverJ9

          Stop yelling at people. It completely hides whatever point you are making in a cloud of assholishness.

  9. Mark

    Mr. Resnikoff should be ashamed of himself for contributing to the “fake news” culture we seemed to be stuck in these days. Yes it makes for a far more controversial story to focus on the band’s unapologetic stance than to take a stand against the plague of 3rd party ticketing sites. StubHub, Vivid Seats, SeatGeek and even Ticketmaster (who owns and sells to resellers) are all at fault for not making the band’s wishes to sell low-priced tickets to their fans a reality. Instead, they chose to make a buck by scalping $25 face value tix for hundreds of dollars. It’s almost impossible to buy face-value tickets these days. Scalping has been made legitimate and even endorsed by corporate ticket agents instead of being made an illegal operation. The Black Keys shouldn’t take the heat here…at least they didn’t sell out like Metallica and cut deals with scalpers! True music fans should demand an end to ticket resellers!

    • Daniel

      Agree 100% — Ticket scalpers are the worst. It’s not a legitimate business to buy hundreds of tickets for resale. There’s no added value, just greed.

    • DenverJ

      Remember when you could see a big name band for $50? Sigh. NFL is the same way, hell, often in the same stadiums these overpriced concerts are showing in. Brand new, shiny stadiums usually built with taxpayer money, but the average taxpayer can’t even afford to go see a game/concert in a stadium that they helped pay for.
      I commend the Black Keys for trying to keep shows affordable for their fans; I think it may need a bit more planning.

  10. Sam

    Bad move on the band’s part. It’s amazing how tickets cannot be tied to the purchaser for their use only. Leave the scalpers stuck with hundreds of tickets and they will stop.

  11. I'm New Here

    So I’m not trying to be glib or anything but just wondering how the fans who paid all this money were supposed to know about this?

  12. Woody Guthrie

    Click-bait headline should be “People by Illegitimate Tickets, Angry Because They Were Scammed”

  13. TBKfan

    That “fan” Beatriz Zaragoza is a liar. She is not a fan of TBK which she admitted on The Lonely Boys and Girls Club forum. Her son was able to go to the concert with a $25 ticket she had purchased during presale and she also recieved a full refund from StubHub in addition to a $100 credit!

  14. Seriously?

    By the end of the article it’s clear that the title of the article is stupid. I got clickbaited and so did everyone who is angry about this.

  15. Blobbo

    Worthless band and terrible music. Auerbach is an arrogant POS anyway. I do not understand why they got famous. Two nerds playing faux ‘roots’ music with zero street cred. Just pure trash.

    ANyone who pays to see them deserves punishment.

  16. Gary Indiana

    The writer is crap…anyone can see that the goal of scalping the scalpers was the only intention and more bands should do this because they aren’t getting the money scalper sites are


    Hey Paul Resnikoff, Why don’t you tell the fucking TRUTH you lying SCUMBAG?





    It sucks that these scalpers took advantage of these people. Next time, buy from the actually person selling the tickets and not fraudulent ones. I’m surprised that The Black Keys doesnt press charges. Although, if the decision was made that they wouldnt accept non transferable tickets 40 minutes before the show.. that’s not right.

  19. I'm New Here

    Don’t have a chip in this game, but. It seems that very good fans were being treated like absolute garbage?

  20. Frequent Concert Attendee

    As far as I can tell, there were 4 parties involved in this – the band, the fans, the venue, and the resellers. The venue probably didn’t have any choices – I’ve heard they were rude and jerks, but still not to blame. The people who bought tickets weren’t to blame either – getting fooled makes you a victim, and it’s obvious the policy wasn’t clear. We’re down to 2 players folks, and it seems like the band wanted to punish the resellers/scalpers, but it really resulted in punishing their fans and (pointlessly) having empty seats. Bad call Black Keys.

    • New fan

      I don’t know Whether or not the meted clear enough, but I think it’s a good thing to finally stand up and do something about this resale practiss I can’t afford to get decent seats at any concerts near me..or rather… I’m not willing to pay a thousand bucks to see a band me and my girl kinda like but want to see….. especially when these tickets are 40$ tickets… The band isn’t getting any of these prophets this is just a scalping situation where somebody buys them for their set price and then and hence the price an insane amount to punish the fans somebody needs to stand up to this so kudos to them

  21. New fan

    Thank you Black Keys!…. this makes me like them more. Finally, someone standing up against this corrupt resale thing that’s been going on way too long. Before the public even gets a chance to purchase 45$ tickets by me they get bought up and added back to live nation or Ticketmaster as resale tickets for 2-300$…. it’s ridiculous and used to be illegal

  22. Target the real enemy

    What I want to know is, why aren’t the bands going after Ticketmaster? Start your own ticketing company for fuck’s sake. They have enough money. Ticketmaster needs to do a better job of preventing scalpers from buying up so many tickets in the first place. The artists DO have power to fight, because they have money. Money equals power. Instead of punishing fans, who damn sure SHOULD have read the fine print, but didn’t, they should be making statements against these companies who don’t give a shit about the little people. Use your power to take some real action. I will still listen to Black Keys, because I like their music. But we can all do more to fight the institution. But the shitty part is people have to work together to do it, and stop being assholes to each other on a message thread that I’m not going to read again. So if you say my dad should have pulled out, or some other BS I’m seeing, you won’t get the satisfaction of me reading it. So don’t waste your time. Damn this is a long comment.

    • rolling rollback prices

      I personally like walmart more than target, but aren’t we getting off subject here?