More than 40,000 tickets for the Sept. 21 Amnesty International benefit concert at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum had been sold by midday Tuesday with the remaining 28,000 expected to be sold by the weekend, according to promoter Brian Murphy.
The concert, billed as "Human Rights Now!," will include performances from Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Tracy Chapman and Senegalese musician Youssou N'Dour. Proceeds from the $38-a-ticket concert will be donated to Amnesty International, an international human rights organization.
The sale, which began at 8 a.m. Monday at Ticketmaster and Ticketron outlets throughout Southern California, apparently generated little of the storm of complaints that frequently result when tickets for high-demand concerts go on sale here.
"Learning from past mistakes is always helpful," said Murphy, president of Avalon Attractions, comparing this week's sale to the controversial procedure employed in April when tickets went on sale for five Bruce Springsteen shows at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
In April, priority wristbands were distributed on a Friday when many fans were at work or school. The only advance announcements were radio spots just half an hour before the wristbands were given out. This time, the wristbands were distributed Sunday, after announcements last week on radio and in newspapers.
According to Murphy, promoter of the April shows and the coming Coliseum event, another plus this time was the use of both major ticket services, rather than just one, resulting in shorter lines.
"For Bruce in April we used only Ticketmaster, which was 70 outlets," Murphy said. "This time we used both, which made more than 100 outlets."
Brian Harlig, partner of Good Time Tickets, one of several brokers who specialize in buying tickets and reselling them at higher prices, expects that he and rival companies will have a wide selection of seats for the Coliseum show. However, he does not anticipate prices to be nearly as high as when Springsteen played the Sports Arena. Premium seats for those shows commanded more than $800, despite a face value of $25.50.
"I'm going to have some nice seats in the stands for $50," Harlig said. "I think that's a fair price for a $38 ticket."
The broker also suggested that initial demand may not have been as strong for this concert as for the April shows. While the total number of tickets available is about the same, the Coliseum has more "bad" seats than the 15,000-seat Sports Arena, he said.
One mix-up occurred Monday when customers at the Ticketron outlet at Tower Records on the Sunset Strip had to wait an hour beyond the scheduled opening time because of what assistant store manager Mike Dampier said was a misunderstanding over when the tickets were to go on sale.
When Avalon's Murphy heard of the problem, he arranged to have tickets for some good seats pulled from the pool and saved for the Tower customers.
"In my history, that has never happened before, and I've been here 10 years," said Ticketron's Los Angeles area manager Linda Woerz. "But otherwise, sales went smoothly and everyone was happy."
Steve Hochman also contributed to this story.