Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Elton Sells Out Canada in 4 Minutes

It took a mere four minutes Monday morning to sell 11,500 tickets for Sir Elton's two dates at the Brandt Centre on Sept. 16 and 17. While most of the tickets were purchased online, a handful of people were fortunate enough to buy their tickets in person at the Brandt Centre.

"I think the great thing about this morning was that we ended up only turning away about four people," said Graham Edge, manager of box office operations for IPSCO Place. "With Iron Maiden we sold out in 18 minutes and turned away 20-some people. That's why we wanted to get the word out about the best way to purchase tickets.

"This morning I gave the speech two or three times (to those in line): 'Show of hands -- who has a computer and a credit card? If you do, go home.' I was worried for them. I potentially thought we could serve the first six people and that would be it. The thing that helped us was, because Saskatoon and Winnipeg were also on at the same time, Ticketmaster was moving a little slower than normal. That helped us to be able to serve the people directly in front of us."

Reportedly 30 people lined up at the Brandt Centre with only four people coming up empty.

Tickets for Elton John's return to Saskatoon went on sale at 10 a.m. on Monday. If you didn't have one by 10:10 a.m., you were out of luck.

Every last ticket for the Hall-of-Famer's Sept. 15 concert at Credit Union Centre was sold out in mere minutes. John is touring in Western Canada with a full band this time. The last time John came to Saskatoon was Aug. 30, 2002, for a solo show.

Another stroke of luck came in the form of Sir Elton's stage production. Because the staging won't involve a great deal of backline production, some seats behind the stage were released for sale. While some might frown on sitting in such a location, Edge said fans might actually benefit from these seats.

"Those seats could very well be the best seats in the house because there's not going to be a bunch of backline production," explained Edge. "He's bringing a regular show but he's not filling the back with a bunch of production. The view is going to be fantastic. For example, if you're in (Section) 114, you're looking him right in the eyes because he's going to be on the north side of the stage.

"If you're that guy, you made out like a bandit."
Although the shows were deemed a sellout after four minutes, some determined people managed to purchase tickets as late as 10:20 a.m.

Edge said there was a simple explanation for this.

"We were sold out and everything was in the queue in four minutes but you'll get one guy who says, 'Hey, Section 119 isn't good enough. I'm going to dump these and try for something else,' " said Edge. "He ends up with nothing and those tickets that got dumped back into the system get snapped up by people who kept at it. If somebody's a bulldog about it and hangs in there, they might trip over some gold."

Tickets for the Regina shows are already showing up on eBay and other Web sites. On the My City Rocks ticket exchange, 50 individual tickets for the Sept. 16 show were available for sale, ranging in price from $343 US to $3,048 US. The face value of the tickets is $149 and $99.

Edge did have some advice for people who still want to purchase tickets without paying scalper prices.
"If people monitor our Web site, when tickets are released we will post that information on that Web site," said Edge. "Let's say Elton decides he's only using 20 of his X amount of holds and he releases the remainder, then those will go out to the public. Also, the day of the show, once they set up the stage, they may release more seats once it's confirmed fans can see from those seats.

"I absolutely guarantee it that the day of the show there will be tickets released."

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