Beyoncé fans battled long queues and technical issues as tickets went on general sale for the UK leg of her first solo tour since 2016.
The pop superstar is playing stadium shows in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Sunderland and London in May and June.
Some users had problems with the Ticketmaster website, while others said they were kicked out of the queue, which in some cases was 500,000 strong.
Three more London dates were added on Tuesday “due to high fan demand”.
A Ticketmaster spokesperson said: “We experienced and successfully handled an extraordinary level of demand and traffic today for Beyoncé.
“While there were never going to be enough tickets to meet demand, thousands of happy fans secured their tickets.”
A portion of the UK tickets had already been sold in a series of pre-sales, while the first pre-sales for her North American dates began on Monday.
There is particular scrutiny in the US of how Ticketmaster handles the tour, especially since the company’s systems were overwhelmed by demand for Taylor Swift tickets last year.
When are the concerts?
The UK concerts are part of a world tour in support of her Grammy-nominated Renaissance album.
The shows kick off in Sweden on 10 May, before landing at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium a week later.
She will then visit Edinburgh’s Murrayfield on 20 May, Sunderland’s Stadium of Light on 23 May and London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 29 and 30 May.
After tickets went on general sale on Tuesday, she added three further shows at the Tottenham stadium on 1, 3 and 4 June, taking the total number of UK dates to eight.
How expensive are the tickets?
In the UK, standard ticket prices to see Beyoncé start at £56. But Ticketmaster uses “dynamic pricing”, where prices rise depending on demand, so at 17:00 GMT on Tuesday, regular standing tickets cost up to £410, for London on 30 May.
The VIP packages, some of which include guaranteed front row seats or even seats on the stage, stretch to more than £2,300.
Many fans on social media ridiculed the cost, reminding Beyoncé that she advised people to “quit their jobs” on her recent single, Break My Soul.
Billboard magazine predicted the five-month tour could earn the star up to $275m (£223m).
‘Not brilliant but par for the course’
One fan, Sue England from south Wales, told BBC News she secured tickets after an hour but the website threw her out. “Gutted! Really good seats too,” she said.
“Went back online only to be in the general sale queue at number 57,000! And then advised tickets were low so I knew there was no point in waiting.”
John Handley from south London said he logged in to Ticketmaster just before tickets went on sale at 10:00 GMT. “When an error message came up I managed to get on another device and keep the place, eventually securing tickets for the Sunday. Not brilliant but par for the course,” he said.
Some fans received a 403 error message when trying to access tickets because they were mistakenly caught in Ticketmaster’s attempts to block “known bad traffic”.
“We blocked 1.5m requests of that type today in the London queues alone,” the company said.
What’s happening in North America?
Ticketmaster said it had changed its process for the North American legs of Beyoncé’s tour following the Taylor Swift debacle in November.
The company apologised after bots disrupted the sales for Swift’s Eras tour. Ticketmaster said there was a “terrible consumer experience”, while Swift said she was annoyed that many fans felt “like they went through several bear attacks” to get seats.
The US Senate is now investigating the company.
Beyoncé fans were asked to register for Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan process – which the company says filters out touts – before the first North American pre-sale opened on Monday.
Those who managed to sign up ahead of time were entered into a “lottery-style process” after demand outstripped the number of available tickets.
If there are remaining tickets after those on the waiting list have been offered a chance to buy, then they will go on general sale – but that is unlikely.
When did Beyoncé last play live?
Beyoncé’s last outing as a solo artist was 2016’s Formation tour, which saw the star perform in front of a 60ft LED cube called the “monolith”.
She then staged a joint tour with Jay-Z, in which the couple re-enacted their estrangement and reconciliation every night, in a two-and-a-half hour musical melodrama.
In January, the star performed her first headlining concert in four years at the opening of a luxury hotel in Dubai, but did not play any of her new material.
She was reportedly paid $24m (£19.4m) for the one-off show, but faced criticism for performing in a country where homosexuality and gender reassignment are outlawed.
Critics said that contradicted the message of her latest album, which explicitly celebrates black and queer dance culture.
What can we expect from the Renaissance tour?
Beyoncé conceived the Renaissance album as “a place to dream and to find escape” during the pandemic, layering her songs with multiple samples and references to club music, from Nile Rodgers’ Studio 54 disco grooves and Grace Jones’ imperious soul, to less-celebrated movements like bounce and dancehall.
Exclaim magazine called it “the sound of a once-in-a-generation superstar performing at her peak”, while the Guardian described it as “a breath-taking, maximalist tour de force”.
Unusually, Beyoncé has avoided making music videos for the album, meaning the Renaissance tour will be fans’ first chance to see her visual interpretation of tracks like Break My Soul, Alien Superstar and Cuff It.
The star generally reworks and updates old songs to fit her current aesthetic, so we may also hear clubbed-up remixes of hits like Crazy In Love, Formation and Single Ladies.
Source : BBC