- 17 Jan 06
The Brazilian contingent of U2's global following were left disgruntled after the allocation of tickets for their Sao Paolo show descended into chaos.
Bono and the band are set to play the Morumbi soccer stadium, home to world club champions Sao Paulo, on February 20 as part of their Vertigo tour, with tickets only being available through 10 outlets of supermarket chain Pao de Acucar.
But Reuters report that proper provisions weren't in place to deal with the demand - most of the stores only had one cashier to handle the thousands of people queued up, and the machine broke down in one of the outlets.
The Brazilian custom of allowing senior citizens, invalids and pregnant women to the front of the queue only added to the frustration, as fans waited more than 12 hours before being turned away.
29-year-old Verna Zula had waited unsuccessfully since 3 am. "I wouldn't have bothered if I had known it would be like this. When I got here there were 150 people in front of me. None of them have got tickets yet," she told Reuters.
Ricardo Luiz Nacedo, a 30-year-old welder, had waited since 4.30am, and was still in the queue at 8pm.
"This is the worst. When there's a soccer game at Morumbi, they sell 70,000 tickets quickly without problem," he said.
As the day wore on, fans shouted anti-Pai de Acucar chants, insisting they'd shop at rival Carrefour instead.
Police were on hand to keep the crowd in order, but despite the hiccups, blazing heat and fact that tens of thousands went away empty-handed, no major incidents were reported.
Organisers apologised for the problems, and said an extra show would be added for the following day.
The concert was highly anticipated in Brazil - when fans were invited to ask questions to U2 for Hot Press's 25th anniversary issue, the most popular question by far was 'when are U2 playing Brazil?'.
"I can't speak for individual outlets because I wasn't there," said Arthur Fogel, U2's worldwide tour promoter. "But it's not uncommon that demand massively exceeds means of distribution, and there's no easy answer to balance that equation. This is a hot tour that generates a frenzy everywhere it goes.
He added: "Technologically, there are parts of the world that can deal with the demand more efficiently than Brazil - telephones and the internet take the pressure off people having to queue."
However this isn't the first time the sale of coveted Vertigo tickets have caused problems. Last January, North American and European pre-sales from their official site were hampered by technical difficulties, resulting in the band having to reimburse fans their subscription fee to the site.