Hundreds of Eminem fans lined up at Record Time in Roseville on Monday to score tickets for the rapper's free hometown concert/record release party tonight at the Sound Board in MotorCity Casino in Detroit.
Those who ended the day with a ticket in hand were ecstatic.
"This is a dream come true for me," said Joe Michaels, 20, of Livonia, who said he had been trying to win tickets to the concert through radio promotions for a week and a half. "I had pretty much given up hope and didn't think it was going to happen. I am so psyched for the show."
Not everyone was so lucky.
The independent record store was promised 500 tickets to give away for the 7 p.m. performance and acted accordingly, handing out 500 wristbands to secure people's places in line. However, when the tickets came in at just after 5 p.m., there were only around 440, leaving 60 or so people empty-handed -- and miffed.
"I'm pretty upset, but I can't get too angry, because it's a free concert," said Candice Battey of Roseville, who joined the line at noon and skipped her afternoon classes for the chance to score tickets. "I feel I should have gotten one."
"We made a mistake, that's all I can tell them," Record Time owner Mike Himes said.
People started lining up outside the store Sunday night, after the concert giveaway was announced via a message on Eminem's MySpace page after the rapper's animated appearance on Fox's "Family Guy." Fans -- many of whom were sunburned by day's end -- listened to Eminem's new album "Relapse" on car speakers while trading rumors about the set (would Dr. Dre and 50 Cent show up?), discussing the politics of downloading ("Relapse" isn't released until today, though there was no shortage of copies floating around Monday) and gauging the value of the concert tickets (on sites like eBay, tickets were being sold for more than $500).
Entrepreneurial fans were able to secure multiple wristbands for themselves, and some sold their place in line for up to $100. Some had no intention of attending the concert at all, planning instead to sell their tickets on sites like Craigslist immediately after getting them in hand.
Record Time was notified of the promotion Sunday, and Himes -- who was vacationing in the Adirondacks over the weekend -- wasn't aware anything was going on until he pulled in to the store at 8:30 a.m. "At first, I thought people thought the record was coming out today," Himes said. He didn't learn about the concert tickets until someone in line told him about them.
"It feels great," said Himes, who said Record Time has had a relationship with Eminem dating back to before his first album came out. In 1999, the store hosted an in-store appearance with the rapper and 700 fans when "The Slim Shady LP" was released. "Some people make it big and forget where they came from, but Eminem remembers," Himes said. "We took care of him back then, and he's repaying the favor."
Fans canceled plans -- and even work -- to stand in line for tickets.
"I heard about (the giveaway) Sunday night and immediately called off work," said Rob Shrimpton, 22, of Canton Township, who found a co-worker to fill his shift at Subway on Monday. "They all know I'm a big Eminem fan, so it's no big deal."
Shrimpton came to wait in line with his friend Devin McGraw of Livonia. "We decided to wake up early and come down here," said McGraw, 22, who arrived around 8:30 a.m. "I'm excited for the show."
Radio stations had been giving away tickets to the performance for several weeks, though venue specifics had been closely guarded.
Eminem also talked briefly about the concert on Friday during his appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" and said the 200 laid-off Detroit-area auto workers who accompanied him to the taping would be given tickets to the show.
The Eminem concert, with an opening set by DJ Jazzy Jeff, is the most high-profile event yet for the Sound Board, MotorCity's 1,900-seat theater that opened in October 2008. (New York Times)