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Getting front-row tickets to Springsteen 34 years ago

Wednesday - 4/25/2012, 12:27pm  ET

neal augenstein young (Courtesy of Neal Augenstein)
A confident Neal Augenstein waited more than two days in line for Springsteen tickets in1978. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Editor's note: WTOP's Neal Augenstein shares his personal experience in this story.

Neal Augenstein, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - With tickets going on sale Friday for Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band's Sept. 14 show at Nationals Park, you'd think there'd be a line of fans already camped on the sidewalks outside the box office.

Oh yeah, it doesn't work that way anymore.

In May 1978, weeks before the release of "Darkness On the Edge of Town," tickets were set to go on sale for Springsteen's tour, including a stop at the New Haven Coliseum in New Haven, Conn.

Tickets went on sale on a Monday. I wanted good seats, so I got in line at the box office, 2:30 a.m Sunday.

Actually, at one point I was the line.

Armed with a radio, a sleeping bag and a folding chaise lounge, all I had to do was endure 54 1/2 hours until the box office opened, and I was confident I'd have front-row center seats.

In those days, before online ticketing, venues held the best tickets at the box office, and fans willing to "Prove It All Night" were rewarded with the best seats.

My hometown paper, "The New Haven Register," had a reporter document my experience, complete with the picture you have before you -- afro, Gene Shalit mustache, a satisfied half-smile of someone who accomplished a goal.

I walked away from the box office with a couple dozen front- and second-row floor tickets for friends.

A teenager trying to impress his friends would have to take another route these days.

Online ticketing has for the most-part removed the adventure of camping out for concert seats.

Sure, it's more convenient to click a few keys, but it ain't rock and roll.

What concerts did you or would you sleep out for? What lengths did you go to for concert tickets? Post a comment in this story, comment on WTOP's Facebook Page or use #concertmemories on Twitter. '

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)