Fans of Lady Gaga who thought their American Express card was going to give them first dibs on tickets for her Hong Kong debut were left disappointed yesterday.
A reported 6,000 tickets went on sale at 10am yesterday exclusively for American Express card holders, who were allowed to buy eight tickets per card over the phone, on the HK Ticketing website or at 29 ticketing outlets. But HK Ticketing announced at 1pm that all were sold out. At the Causeway Bay Tom Lee music outlet, all those beyond the next 20 in line were told to go home at 1pm.
Customers who remained complained they had no idea how many tickets were left. Tickets became available sporadically, according to a Tom Lee staff member, because online customers were no longer holding onto them.
Customers waited up to 30 minutes each as staff refreshed the website to see if tickets were available.
Over at the Tom Lee store in Wan Chai, about 40 people were in line when sales started at 10am. They included die-hard fans, doting parents hoping to delight their children and those out to make a quick buck.
Ada Lau, who began lining up at 7am on Wednesday and was second in line, made an instant profit by selling four of the eight HK$1,580 tickets she bought for a 150 per cent mark-up right outside the store.
Simon Clarke managed to buy eight tickets for HK$480 each, mainly as a surprise for his two sons.
'I like that she started off as an ordinary girl playing the piano and became a superstar, and she will be inspiring for my kids to see,' Clarke said. He had asked the family's domestic helper to get in line at 6.30am.
'Sometimes I think I am Lady Gaga,' said Donna Chown, who wears her platinum blonde hair in a sharp bob as a tribute to one of the singer's many spectacular hairstyles. But passion for the star was not enough for Chown and her friends to purchase tickets, even though they joined the queue at 9.30am. She waited until 1pm when tickets were sold out.
'I'm going to go Gaga on this,' Chown said, as the last ticket sold out in front of her. 'This looks terrible on American Express' part; I don't feel like I had any priority.'
An American Express spokeswoman said she could not disclose how many tickets were available yesterday, and she would not comment on how the sales were handled. HK Ticketing refused to disclose how many tickets it sold as it was commissioned as an agent by Live Nation. Live Nation did not return calls.
At least some people were smiling - queuing for Gaga tickets proved profitable for professional queuers. One elderly woman said she was getting HK$70 per hour to queue and had been in line for 30 hours.
More Gaga-mania is expected next Monday, when the last tickets for the May 2 gig at the AsiaWorld-Arena go on sale to the general public.