Normally I'm well-mannered but the Friday before last I lost control and let loose with the rudest Cantonese phrase I could think of. I had failed, for the third time in a row, to buy tickets for Lady Gaga's Hong Kong shows. I cursed concert promoter LiveNation, ticketing agency HK Ticketing and the scalpers who had prevented genuine fans like me from buying tickets.
I knew it'd be tough getting tickets when the show was announced, so I first tried my luck through internal booking. However, I was told I could only buy the top-priced HK$1,580 ticket and would have to pay a HK$205 'handling fee', which to me looked like pure-and-simple greed on behalf of the promoter.
I applied for an American Express card so I could try to get a ticket through priority booking on February 23. But there wasn't any 'priority' given to priority booking. I queued for two hours outside Tom Lee Music in Wan Chai, calling the HK Ticketing hotline while I waited. The lines were jammed and the website was down. At midday, all the tickets were gone.
Tickets to the extra shows were sold out an hour after the box offices opened. They went to people who queued overnight. How can a regular punter compete with people who are paid to queue? When the fourth show was announced last week, I decided not to even bother trying.
If each show has a capacity of 12,000, there should have been 48,000 tickets available. So why couldn't the 10th person standing in one queue get tickets? How many tickets were held up internally? LiveNation couldn't be bothered to answer press inquiries.
Most tickets appear to have ended up on the black market, where they are selling for up to HK$10,000. I hope the scalpers are unable to sell their tickets - and that Lady Gaga ends up singing to a load of empty seats.