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The BBC's Ben McCarthy
"Madonna fans have been waiting years for this tour"
 real 56k

The BBC's Sumit Bose talks to Madonna fans
"They are all very excited"
 real 56k

Thursday, 26 April, 2001, 19:22 GMT 20:22 UK
Madonna mania as gigs sell out
Queue of fans
Many Madonna fans had queued overnight
Madonna fans have snapped up all the tickets for the superstar's six concerts in the UK in just a matter of hours.

Box office hotlines were jammed as millions tried to get through by telephone - and via the web.

Hundreds more fans had queued through the night to get their hands on tickets outside the Earls Court venue in London.

It got out of control and everyone got really scared

Madonna fan
Madonna had announced just one show, but after her 4 July date sold out in just 15 minutes, extra concerts were added on 6, 7, 9, 10 and 12 July.

Phone meltdown

The scramble for seats saw an estimated 30 million attempts at getting through to hotlines, making the Madonna shows among the fastest selling of all time.

Madonna is touring less than a year after baby Rocco was born last August
Online ticket sites took a million hits in the first 10 minutes, with a further two million in the following 10 minutes.

Nearly 100,000 tickets were sold in six hours.

There was a stampede at the venue when they went on sale at 0700 GMT (0800BST).

One fan told the BBC the atmosphere had been friendly while they waited, but turned nasty when the box office finally opened.

She said: "It was OK sleeping out overnight and everything was in order, people were keeping spaces if you wanted to go to the toilet.

"But come the morning it got out of control and everyone got really scared. It should be first come first served."

There has also been criticism of the ticket prices - which range from 40 to 85.

Jody Thompson of the New Musical Express told the BBC about her concern over ticket prices for the concert:

"I just worry about the 15-year old fans. They're not going to buy just one ticket - they've got to buy two.

"That's 80 before they've even paid for transport to get there."

Worth it

However, fans who queued for days did not mind paying for the privilege of seeing their icon.

Ticket holder
One happy ticket-holder
One fan, who had queued for two days, said: "She is worth every penny as I'm going to France to see her as well.

"She is the most amazing female performer, her music is excellent and she is never boring because she is always changing, moving with the times."

First tour

The concert is part of Madonna's first tour since her Girlie Show dates in 1993.

Last November the singer played a one-off gig at the Brixton Academy, in London, in front of 3,500 fans and a handful of invited celebrities.

There were reports of tickets exchanging hands outside the concert for hundreds of pounds.

Madonna was on stage for just half an hour but it was enough to impress the critics, marking her first London performance in seven years.

Publicists for the tour have promised that The Drowned World Tour will be the most extravagant stage show of her career.

The star begins her tour in Germany on 5 June and finishes in Los Angeles on 9 September.

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See also:

26 Apr 01 | Showbiz
Madonna's bra fetches 14,000
24 Apr 01 | Arts
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29 Nov 00 | Entertainment
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