It was always going to end in tears for most people. With a few days notice after a tour was announced on Friday, tickets to solo-with-piano shows by a man whose passport may still show him as Prince Rogers Nelson, were destined to be the hot ticket item of the month, if not year.
Hot? How about so scorching it left a lot of people burnt. And this without even taking into consideration the mercury-busting prices which started at around $100 for the nosebleed seats and hit $400 for the premium. (Premium in this case not just meaning the front few rows but essentially the whole stalls area. Basically, if you could see him from your seat you'd be paying, and paying, for the privilege.)
Will work for #Prince tickets.— Kaz Cooke (@reallykazcooke) February 9, 2016
Remember when Prince sang "you don't have to be rich to rule my world"? He may not have been telling the truth exactly.
To no one's surprise the moderately and the modestly priced tickets went in seconds to those who weren't relying on Telstra – who had a nationwide outage just at that time – or who lucked-in and got through. Thousands of others watched a wheel turn slowly on screen to tell them they were in a queue, or heard a recorded message on the phone say something similar, from the two ticket retailers involved.
While the four shows (two each night) in Melbourne will be at the State Theatre in the Arts Centre, in Sydney the four shows are split between the Opera House and the State Theatre, so two outlets were involved. And available to blame.
So while some of the disappointed blamed Ticketek's "glitchiness", Ticketmaster was no more pleasing to those who missed out on the roughly 16,000 tickets available. (About the number it takes to fill Sydney's Allphones Arena, where Prince played on his most recent, full band, tour, incidentally.)
"Ticketmaster_AU your hopeless online ticketing system left me high and dry for #Prince tickets. Utterly disappointed." said one.
Within an hour of tickets going on sale at midday only the top of the range tickets were available. Not even looking on the secondary market was going to make it much easier as Prince instituted a ticket tout-busting system which required tickets to be collected on the night and only with ID, and the use of wristbands for ticket holders, all to deter those who might on-sell and/or profit without sharing said profits with Prince.
It is all very efficient of course. Unless you are among the majority who missed out. Not that they are in any way bitter though. Not at all.
@Ticketmaster_AU I'm in the q for melb Prince tickets and it's been saying "less than 2 mins" for 40 mins now - has it sold out?— Sarah Smith (@sarah_smithie) February 9, 2016
The response of the unlucky could be summed up by a picture posted on Facebook from a site called Mommy Has A Potty Mouth, the poster prefacing it with "me .. just then .. trying to get Prince tickets and only the $400 ones are left" and showing a coffee mug expressing the pithy view "f...ing, f..k, f..k, f...ety f..k."
There's something in that for all of us, don't you think?