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Demand for U2’s Sphere production rocks Ticketmaster

Updated May 2, 2023 - 8:29 pm

Someone out there has dubbed the “dynamic pricing” effect as “demonic pricing” for big-ticket concerts.

Yep, chasing tickets has become a bedeviling process for millions of music fans.

Tickets for the general public have become a hypothetical option for superstars headlining Las Vegas. So have the base ticket prices when these shows’ presales are announced. Those options are being overwhelmed by consumer demand.

The “U2 UV: Live at The Sphere” is the latest concert production to cut the public option. The series ticket provider, Ticketmaster, announced it will not be offering tickets to the general public because fans flooded the Verified Ticket presale link this week.

Reportedly, more than 1 million U2 devotees leapt into the Verified Ticket presale. That’s enough demand for Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and sub drummer Bram van den Berg to sell out The Sphere 57 times.

Instead, they’ll sell it out out 17 times. Opening weekend is Sept. 29-30.

The show’s announced ticket prices ballooned because of the aforementioned dynamic pricing provision. Ticket buyers were miffed that seats that they expected to cost $140 were going for as much as $1,250. Fans who won the lottery through Ticketmaster reported no tickets were listed less than $950 for any show as fans were given options to purchase seats to up to three shows. The $600 VIP seats were posted at more than $6,000.

Ticketmaster had announced that 60 percent of the 17,500-seat venue would be priced at less than $300. Great! Except, dynamic pricing was baked into that master plan, blowing out the ticket scaling.

We have learned, through the U2 shows and earlier with Taylor Swift’s website-cruising “Eras Tour,” that prices catapult and tickets vanish when millions of fans enter the Ticketmaster Verified Presale system. Swift’s shows also were not sold to the general public, but were available on the resale and secondary ticket market.

Ticketmaster, the primary ticket seller for the U2 show, takes a beating for this. But the ticket-selling company is working at the pleasure of the artists. The headliners authorize ticket-selling protocols.

The best advice, with U2 or with any superstar headliner sweeping through Vegas, is to keep punching the Ticketmaster resale site or secondary ticket brokers.

Dynamic pricing means those numbers can drop, too, as various sites release tickets they have been holding as they gauge a show’s ticket-selling performance. Even in the face of the high rates for The Sphere shows, a search of LasVegasTickets.com on Friday night showed single tickets for $300.

Maybe not ideal, but not it’s not like a mortgage payment.

One longtime live-entertainment fan told me of finding deals all over Vegas. Over the years this person has seen Frank Sinatra, Luciano Pavarotti, Whitney Houston to most Rock and Roll Hall of Famers to play the city. “I typically pay $200 to $350 per seat at events all over town,” this person said. “But $1,000 is insane.”

‘HartBeat’ is here

After much advance hinting and referencing and such, Kevin Hart’s “Hartbeat Weekend” has been announced at Resorts World from July 6-9. This is Hart’s four-day comedy and music celebration. J. Cole, Jack Harlow, Ludacris, Kaskade and RL Grime are among the stars taking part (ticket info is at hartbeatweekend.com).

Hart’s birthday show, highlighted by a performance by Ludacris at Zouk Nightclub, kicks off the event. Hart’s previously announced “Reality Check Tour” appearance at Resorts World Theatre closes the event. The Hartbeat Poker Invitational, stand-up showcases at Jalisco Underground and Ayu Dayclub pool parties are also on the agenda.

The event had previously flourished at the Cosmopolitan, when Hart was headlining the Chelsea.

“Hartbeat Weekend has always been an amazing celebration of comedy, culture and music, so you know we had to bring out all the stops for this year’s return,” Hart says. “We’ve put together an amazing, action-packed weekend and I can’t wait to see it all unfold as Hartbeat takes over Resorts World.”

The ‘Harmony’ of it all

Barry Manilow’s passion project, “Harmony,” has made it to Broadway. The musical opens for previews Oct. 18, premiere Nov. 13, at Barrymore Theatre. Manilow and writing collaborator Bruce Sussman have been working on the project for more than 25 years.

The musical is based on the true story of a sextet called the Comedian Harmonists, which drew the ire of the Nazis because the group presented Jewish and non-Jewish performers.

If the schedule holds, Manilow will premiere the musical just after breaking Elvis’s record for most shows at Westgate’s International Theatre. That should happen in September in a big year for Manilow.

Tease this

Aerosmith is announcing something of international interest Monday morning. We are feeling a world tour as the venerable rock band is back in the saddle, again. This series could set up a return to Dolby Live, as a way to cap the band’s 50-plus year career. We are watching it all, with great interest.

Cool Hang Alert

Kats and dogs! Living together! Experience it at the annual Best in Show doggie competition and adoption event, which returns at 11:45 a.m. (VIP brunch action at 10 a.m., doors at 10:15 a.m.) Sunday at the Thomas & Mack Center. GA tickets are $5 — a mere pittance — and VIP tickets are also still available at animalfoundation.com.

Fox 5’s John Huck and KLUC 98.5 FM radio personality Chet Buchanan host. Gold-standard auctioneer Christian Kolberg is coercing the donations. UNLV President Keith Whitfield, Linq Hotel headlining magician Mat Franco, Paws for the Cause founder Dana Arcana and yours truly judge the 28 contestants. The show usually adopt out every canine in the field, so come prepared.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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