My wife and I have purchased tickets to a Hall and Oates concert in Youngstown Ohio at the Covelli Centre. We managed to get ourselves platinum tickets for decent seating but could not find any VIP or meet and greet options available. While our primary objective is to enjoy the concert, we are also going to try to get a “Private Eyes” vinyl cover signed for our two year old since he loves their music. We figured this would make a cool gift to have and he might appreciate it later in life.
This brings me to my question of how we would go about trying to get the item autographed. Should we try to arrive early or stay late at a particular location during the venue? Do we approach security and just ask? Is it a good idea to have some cash – not sure if they would charge for something like this? Any advice would be appreciated since we have not personally tried to approach the musicians before at a concert.
What type of a venue is it? Is there a location where the bus or limousine will be arriving to drop them off? You may want to start there.
Never thought of that, I'll have to see if I can get more information on that. I just know that it's at the Covelli Centre which is just your standard multi-purpose area. I might see if there is more information online or a map of sorts. Thank you.
If you are close to the venue, consider doing a test run with another artist prior to the show.
Perhaps a Google aerial map will show an access area at the rear for crew/equipment/stage etc. like at Nassau Coliseum in NY. Perhaps a downward ramp or some such off to the side/rear.
From a google aerial shot it looks as if they have a loading area in the back of the venue. They have might have a drop off point right in front, there is a half arc section of road off the main road, but I am thinking this might be for taxis and such since the artist probably would not come through the front door. I tried to spy closer on the rear entrance with the street view but unfortunately it doesn't get close to that area. I assume this would be the best place to approach the artist or crew for the autograph.
I would agree - well done. There should be a others looking for autographs so look for them as well. Timing - when does soundcheck etc happen Be sure to be prepared for rain etc. and have a spare Sharpie and something to put the LP in after it dries (few minutes - careful!). Looking at the cover I would recommend silver - not many choices. Gold? Good luck and keep us posted! :)
I agree - My wife and I did a couple tests on similar material and silver Sharpie seemed to show up the best on both the dark and light areas. Nice tip on the other autograph seekers - it will be a visual reinforcement that we have the right area and chatting with them might be a way to pass the time.
Unfortunately I have no clue about the sound check but would think that information might not be forth coming if I asked the venue. I did read some information that other seekers have had artists arrive at sound checks 2 to 4 hours before the show. Not sure. If it is indeed that long we have the advantage of having is a hotel reservation within a couple blocks and my son will be staying with a relative (too young for loud music).
Thank you again for the information.
Hey so how did you ever make out at the Covelli Centre? I’m going to a show next week and am wondering as well
Well we did not succeed in getting an autograph at the Covelli center that day from Hall and Oates. Ultimately we purchased a signed copy off of ebay from their merchandising manager in the end. (Side Note: I have been contemplating writing about my overall ordeal and personal experiences attempting to get a signed item from Hall and Oates. I would like to tell my story to other parents mainly and provide information but I'm not sure how helpful it would be and I would have to try to word it in such a way to not come off negative but I digress).
I'm not sure how much it would help but I will share my experiences with the Covelli center with you and what I know. My wife and I showed up about five to six hours before the concert to find that Hall and Oates had most likely traveled during the night and arrived much earlier that day to the venue. As we turned into the large parking area we could see the tour buses parked behind a security gate and fenced off area to the far left rear of the building. We were roughly the only other car in the parking lot but the place was bustling with security and decided to make out approach in anticipation of being intercepted. One of the guards explained that there would be no possibility of getting an autograph and that we were not the first people to approach and ask. He added that we could always try at the concert and he has seen artists sign stuff right there on stage. With this we thanked him for his time and went to have lunch and check into the Double Tree by Hilton hotel a couple blocks down the street from the venue. We decided to spend a little extra because we were going to stay the night and leave the next morning and wanted to be comfortable.
We arrived about an hour or so early at the parking lot before the concert resigned to just have a good time at that point but have the LP in the car just encase. We could hear the music from inside the venue before the concert as they were probably doing their sound check.
When concert time came the place was like fortress and security was very tight with them shouting commands before we even filed into the building. As I passed by the metal detectors with my cell phone above my head, as commanded, I could see a secondary line of security readied which kind of took me back - as I have not been to an indoor concert in a number years. Bear in mind everyone was professional but very strict.
The concert had the front row beyond a barricade so there would be no chance to even get close to the stage yet be able to put any items within reach to get signed. We were five or six rows back and watched as security routinely dispersed the people who were standing along the barricade or in the empty aisle ways. We were able to get a recording of one complete song for my son to enjoy later but saw many others getting reprimanded for taking too many photos of the concert and even some escorted out for blatantly attempting to record the show.
After the show security had the place cleared out within a half an hour. We waited behind so we didn't get caught up in the exiting people traffic and the staff was already breaking down the chairs in rows in front. As we left the venue security was ushering the remaining people out and we got to see a police escorted motorcade leave with cheering and honking. We saw the same black vehicle parked in the valet area outside of the Double Tree hotel that we stayed at soon after leaving the Covelli center lot. This left us wondering perhaps Hall and Oates, or someone of importance was also staying in the hotel.
So like I said probably not super helpful but there it is for what it is worth :)
Damn sounds like they have it locked up pretty tight to get anywhere near the buses. I’m going to a show there Wednesday. But it sounds like I won’t be having much luck
Thx for the report. It sounds entirely typical for a large venue. I would not expect otherwise.
In my experience your best (only?) realistic chance with major stars or groups is if they have a meet and greet.
With newer/smaller bands/performers at smaller venues you sometimes can track them down before or after the show.
Interesting read, OP -- it's been a very long time since I attempted IP autograph requests at a packed concert or otherwise. The last time I tried it, it was for a Canadian politician -- the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and that was at an event where the organizing group knew who I was/was aware of my work (the whole reason I got in). Usually, once you get up high enough, they have handlers who are like locusts the whole way through and know the game. Even in that scenario, the "bus route" to the signer's vehicle was a crush of autograph-seekers, and it was heavily policed.
Based on what you said, it sounds like cozying up to the merch manager may be the best way to go -- start building a rapport with them by asking where to buy items in the towns the band is visiting, and make it your goal not to network/meet the band, but to find said manager the next time you go to a venue where they'll be playing. I've done that a couple times in the past with a couple of Canadian musicians -- going through the manager (in the case of Kim Mitchell) or production company and fishing for info on merch sales/complimenting them on recent efforts, and that approach has worked well. Remember, you're in it for the long game.