On the Take

Furious music fans last night hit out at ticket touts who have cashed in on Take That's Tyneside concerts.

Thousands of fans que for Take That tickets

Furious music fans last night hit out at ticket touts who have cashed in on Take That's Tyneside concerts.

Just over an hour after tickets for the two shows in November went on sale yesterday, they were available on internet auction sites - at up to five times their face value.

More than 370,000 tickets for the band's 22-date Beautiful World tour sold out in less than three hours after going on sale at 9am.

An extra six dates added to the tour were sold out within the hour.

But while some fans camped outside Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena - some for up to 48 hours - found themselves limited to single tickets only, internet touts were making a killing.

By mid morning the £25 and £45 tickets were selling for more than £400 a pair on internet auction site eBay.

A Metro Radio Arena spokesman said they were "appalled" to learn tickets had been advertised online at extortionate prices and promised to void any they could track down.

Many fans left the arena ecstatic after getting tickets.

But hundreds were left feeling angry and disappointed after missing out. And it wasn't just those who queued who had problems.

Ticketmaster's website crashed for the first time in more than two-and-a-half years because of the huge demand while directory enquiry service 118 188 was swamped with 25,000 calls before 11am - the highest number ever taken for an entertainment event.

Financial consultant Tony Errington, 35, and his wife Nicola, 32, of South Shields, queued outside the arena yesterday, but left empty handed after staff announced only single seats were left.

Tony said: "We're both fans and thought it would be a fun show. But when we heard they only had single tickets left we decided to give up.

"What made us angry was when we found out ticket touts had them on sale on eBay and were charging a fortune for them.

"I think it's despicable. Genuine fans have missed out on tickets because of profiteers."

Linda Robson, 42, a teaching assistant, of Benton, North Tyneside, said she was furious to discover ticket touts had been able to cash in.

She said: "It's so wrong. It has made me really angry and I think companies need to crack down harder on ticket touts.

"I tried to get tickets by phone and over the internet before coming down here."

Liz Hern, 27, a marketing officer, of Whitburn, South Tyneside, said: "I saw the show last year and it was fantastic. It made me feel 14 again and it does make me quite angry to think I could miss out because someone is trying to make money out of this."

Take That are appearing at the Metro Radio Arena on November 26 and 27.

Take That

Bidders frantically competing for `auction' concert seats

Tickets for Take That's Newcastle concerts were going for more than £200 each on eBay last night.

By 9pm - just 12 hours after the tickets officially went on sale - bidders were frantically competing for one of 132 individual lots.

Each lot represented at least one, but usually two or more tickets for the concerts on November 26 and 27.

Tickets sold through official outlets yesterday cost £25 or £45. But the cheapest tickets available on eBay last night were £50 each - a 100% mark-up on their £25 face value.

And the more expensive £45 tickets were going for £205 in some cases - almost five times their original cost.

To add insult to injury, sellers were charging up to £6 extra for postage and package. And despite the high price tag, one lot of two tickets for £410 had attracted 12 bids within the first 12 hours of being put on the internet.

The seller of this lot, who is based in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, and goes under the username bigbite 3, has a history of selling concert tickets on at inflated prices.

He sold two tickets with a face value of £45 each for a Bryan Ferry concert in The Sage Gateshead next Wednesday for a total of £146. And he made a monster profit on two Girls Aloud tickets for their concert in Glasgow last month selling two £26 tickets for £185.

Other lots of Take That tickets for their November concerts had attracted more than 20 bids each by 9pm last night. A block of six tickets was being sold for £1,200 by a tout from Whitehaven in Cumbria.

Bidding on the first lots of Take That tickets to be posted on eBay is due to reach its climax just after 10am today.

Overwhelmed by rush for tickets

Following yesterday's ticket hysteria, Take That band member Mark Owen said: "We're here in Tokyo at the moment, so it's really surreal to hear the news from the UK.

"We are all totally overwhelmed and also a bit nervous. We're trying to celebrate, but we're all a bit jet-lagged."

Fellow band member Jason Orange said: "We want to thank everyone who has bought a ticket today and for all the support we've received.

"A number one single, album and now a sell-out tour - it's unbelievable. We'll be looking to make this the best tour we can and look forward to seeing everyone in November."

Arena to void touted tickets

Take That's management company last night said they had done "everything in their power" to ensure genuine fans got a ticket for the band's forthcoming tour.

But many were left angry after missing out because of ticket touts snapping up thousands to sell on the internet.

Yesterday, a Metro Radio Arena spokesman said they were "appalled" to learn tickets had been advertised online at extortionate prices and promised to void any they could track down.

A Take That spokeswoman also said the band's record company had done everything it could to make sure the fans got tickets including adding six extra dates.

Metro Radio Arena marketing director Paul Tappenden [correct] said: "The demand for tickets was absolutely phenomenal. You'd think the Beatles had re-formed. And as a venue I think we've done very well to secure two dates.

"But we're appalled about the actions of ticket touts.

"Tickets are there for true fans not unscrupulous people interested in pure commercial gain and profit.

"We have been cracking down on this for some time now and will be tracking down tickets being sold by touts and making them void.

"People who have bought these tickets will be refused entry and could lose their money so our advice would be to only buy from official sites such as Ticketmaster."

A Take That spokeswoman said: "We did everything in our power to make sure the fans got tickets. We even added six extra dates because of the incredible demand."

GNR will get me fit for tour - Barlow

Pop heart-throb Gary Barlow is talking about doing the Great North Run to get fit for the Take That reunion tour.

The Take That singer, 36, said he would run the famous half marathon road race to get in shape for the tour.

He said: "I'll be aiming to run a few half-marathons before then.

"It's no secret I'm the one who struggles with the weight, so I'll need to get into some serious training.

"Doing the Great North Run is a fantastic idea.

"It is in September - that would be absolutely perfect timing.

"I would have to get in shape for that - give the other lads a run for their money, so to speak."

The run from Newcastle's Central Motorway to South Shields, South Tyneside, takes place on September 30.

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