Take That -- The hottest ticket in history
Demand crashes websites as one million tickets are sold in a day for gigs
THE last time that all five members of Take That toured together in 1995, the internet was in its infancy and their fans were teenage girls who bought their concert tickets over the phone or at high-street record stores.
When the boyband split the next year, telephone hotlines had to be provided to counsel grieving fans. The hysteria surrounding the reunited 'manband' remains but everything else has changed. Tickets for their stadium concerts next summer went on sale yesterday morning and the unprecedented levels of demand spanned the generations, creating a stampede that crashed all the major ticket websites.
More than 80,000 tickets for the first scheduled show in Croke Park, Dublin, on June 18 next year sold out in 40 minutes but the real difficulties began as desperate fans tried to buy tickets for the second show on June 19.
Promoters for the Dublin leg of the tour MCD said "absolutely unprecedented demand" on Ticketmaster caused the entire website to crash, leaving music lovers both here and in the UK frustrated and unable to purchase tickets online.
More than one million tickets were sold, a record for a single day.
Sales in Ireland started at 8am but at about 8.45am, tens of thousands of British fans started to access the same Ticketmaster system for UK shows which went on sale at 9am.
MCD spokesman Justin Green explained: "I was there in Ticketmaster. Within 40 minutes the first date had sold out and we added a second show.
"There was huge interest with 18,000 people queueing to get their tickets. Ticketmaster has a huge capacity and can handle about 6,000 sales at a time and there were 18,000 waiting to get on," he said.
At about 8.45am, British fans started to access the same system. "Suddenly the people waiting started to disappear. The system just crashed but we did not know that at the time," Mr Green said, adding that Irish fans were better off given that thousands had got their tickets before the system crashed.
Fans continued to buy tickets at the 100 outlets nationwide and over the telephone, but the online system continued to experience problems throughout the day.
At 4pm, the Irish Independent could not buy tickets for the June 19 show.
In Britain, other official ticket selling agencies including See Tickets, Ticketline and The Ticket Factory all buckled under the strain, as one million tickets were sold in 24 hours.
Ticketmaster said the demand was at least double that seen when tickets for Michael Jackson's planned comeback concerts at the O2 arena in London went on sale last spring.
A statement issued by the band said: "We are speechless, truly and utterly shocked. This is the most amazing news for all of us."
The catalyst for the concerts was Robbie Williams's decision to rejoin the band, confirmed earlier this year.
Williams has been one of the UK and Ireland's most popular live acts since leaving Take That in 1995, as well as selling more than 17 million solo albums worldwide. His huge initial success as a solo performer overshadowed his former bandmates Gary Barlow, Mark Owen, Jason Orange and Howard Donald for years.
However, the four reformed in 2005 and gradually eclipsed a waning Williams. Their last British tour -- without Williams -- was seen by one million people in 2009, making it the biggest in Britain and Ireland.