Putting the Covelli on the map

Imagine Elvis Presley booking a coN- cert at Stambaugh Auditorium in, say, 1970. Think it would have been a tough ticket? It probably would have still been easier to snag a couple of those ducats (hey, we’re talking ’70s here) than to score tickets for Elton John’s May 1 concert at the Covelli Centre.

By any yardstick — or by comparison to any music icon of any era — booking Sir Elton at the Covelli is an extraordinary achievement for Eric Ryan, the center’s executive director.

Of course, thousands of people were disappointed in not getting tickets. Some were unfamiliar with what it takes to buy tickets on-line (a combination of speed, perseverance and the ability to read and retype a captcha*). Others were prepared to buy the $39 or $89 tickets, but couldn’t swing $139.

And while there’s no doubt Elton John’s Mahoning Valley fans could have filled every seat, it’s good for the Valley to have thousands of people coming from outside the area to Youngstown’s still-young arena.

The Covelli Centre will be hosting the most successful male solo artist in recording history. Whether you’re in a $39 seat, a $139 seat, one of those $600 after-market seats being hawked on the Web, or just sitting at home that night, you can get some satisfaction out of this (yes, we know that’s a Rolling Stones allusion — we only promised ourselves not to do Elton John puns).

* Captcha: A test in which the person signed on is asked to retype a distorted image of letters and numbers into a box. It’s used to separate a real person from a computer program seeking to buy up all the tickets.

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