U2 tour tickets too hot to handle

HOLLYWOOD – U2’s new tour is called Vertigo, but it might well be rechristened Hysteria in the wake of frenzied reports from fans frustrated by this week’s presale of tickets through the group’s Web site.

Thousands of fans paid $40 each in recent months on the promise of priority access on U2’s Web site to “some of the best seats available” for the upcoming tour. But several days after tickets went on sale on www.U2.com, throngs are wailing that they still haven’t gotten tickets.

“People are really tweaked about this,” says Steve Rossier, 37, of San Diego, who joined U2.com in hopes of landing prime seats but came away empty-handed Tuesday. “I can’t count how many times I’ve seen the band over the years, but I really feel like the bubble’s been burst.”

That chorus is only expected to grow over the weekend as tickets for the general public go on sale for the majority of stops on the first leg of the Irish rockers’ North American tour, which opens March 28 in San Diego. The tour stops at KeyArena in Seattle on April 24.

For those connected with the tour, it’s a case of demand outweighing supply.

“I spoke to the Ticketmaster people on Tuesday, and they reported over 2 million hits within a very short period of time,” said Arthur Fogel, president of Clear Channel Entertainment’s TNA Productions division, which is promoting the Vertigo tour.

“Obviously, this caught everybody off guard, and everything possible is being done to make sure people are satisfied. We’re looking at a whole range of options in terms of freeing up more inventory and addressing the technical side of the process.”

Fogel said U2.com members will be contacted early next week with information on how the Web site will take care of disgruntled fans. That could include priority access for shows that are expected to be added to the existing dates, or to additional concerts on a second U.S. leg of the tour in the fall.

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