Sir Elton John fans’ hopes of securing tickets for his Sydney Centre 200 show were flickering like a candle in the wind as the minutes ticked by on Friday.
On Monday, Live Nation Canada announced that tickets would go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. for a pair of Maritime shows by the British pop-rock icon in Sydney on Sept. 13, and Summerside on Sept. 14.
The P.E.I. concert sold out within an hour, while Sydney sales were slowed by the heavy volume of demand for tickets. The delay meant that the final few seats at Centre 200 weren’t snapped up until nearly 1 p.m.
"I anticipated that there would be a high excitement factor and a lot of demand," said Live Nation’s chairman Riley O’Connor just after noon on Friday. "Summerside’s ticketing system was able to cope with the demand, Sydney’s wasn’t, and there were some technical glitches that took around 20 minutes to clear up."
Online ticket hopeful Tanya C. MacDonald tweeted, "Got to the point of buying Elton John tickets three times, including third row from stage. Bounced off each time. Waiting room again!"
The problem was exacerbated by the spike in demand for Centre 200 tickets once Summerside’s Credit Union Place confirmed its sellout. As of 12:30 there were still a handful of seats available for those waiting in line, online or on hold, but by 1 p.m. ticketscapebreton.ca reported those were finally gone.
Adding to the confusion was a report on the singer’s own website at about 11 a.m. that both shows had sold out, but that post referred to "Rocket Tickets", which are set aside for fan club members.
Despite the hiccups in the Sydney ticketing system, O’Connor was pleased with the response to sales the Maritime stops on a tour that includes smaller cities like Windsor and Oshawa. "Bringing (Elton John) to these markets is a grand thing to be able to do, and I just think it’s good for everybody," said O’Connor. "It gives everyone something to look forward to; it boosts the local economy a little bit. I just love it."