Best seat for Rain’s S’pore concert: $888
Flight, accommodation plus ticket to his free concert there: $800
WHEN it Rains here, some Singaporeans will be $888 poorer.
That’s the highest ticket price for the K-pop hunk’s concert on 21 Jan at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
It’s a shocking figure – some say ‘ridiculously expensive’ – that leaves superstars like The Rolling Stones ($499) and Whitney Houston ($375) in the shade. (See report on facing page.) But administrative executive Gina Wong had the last laugh. For the $800 she’s paid she gets to see her favourite kimchi hunk in Korea. This includes airfare and four nights’ home stay accommodation. Miss Wong, 30, flew to Seoul last night with 15 other members of the Rain Singapore fan club to see the opening gig of Rain’s Coming world tour. That concert tomorrow evening is free and will be held at Jamsil Stadium. Over 40,000 tickets were given away online to both Korean and foreign fans.
Apparently, it is Rain’s way of repaying his hard-core supporters. Miss Wong only managed to get a general ticket, which means she could be seated far away from the stage. But she said she doesn’t mind as long as she can see him. But to pay $888, to see Rain’s concert in Singapore? Miss Wong, like many other fans we spoke to, has her doubts. ‘With $888, I can buy an air ticket already! It’s not that we can’t afford, it’s whether it’s worth it or not.’ Events manager Estelle Tan, 31, agreed. ‘With $888, I’d rather buy an air ticket to Seoul and see a free Rain showcase and go tour the city, shop and eat Korean food,’ she said. The prices, posted on the Rain Singapore website on Tuesday night, shocked many fans. Concert promoter Unusual Productions confirmed the prices with The New Paper yesterday.
Director Leslie Ong said tickets will go on sale at Sistic this month, and that the high prices ($188, $288, $388, $488, $688, $888) are to off-set the production cost which runs ‘into millions’. A check revealed that the most expensive rock concert held here was The Rolling Stones’ two-night gig here in 2003. It cost over $3 million. Rain’s concert, costing a reported 40 billion won ($64m) to produce, features 35 shows in 12 countries including China, Japan, US, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. For the Singapore gig, Mr Ong said the stage, LED video walls and props will be flown in. The Korean star also travels with a mega entourage including dancers and a top-notch production crew comprising Jamie King, Dago Gonzalez and Roy Bennett, who all did Madonna’s Confessions World Tour. Only 7,000 tickets will be released to accommodate the ‘very big’ stage, said Mr Ong. He didn’t reveal expected takings, but a quick calculation – based on the average ticket price and if the show sells out – makes it about $4 million. Mr Ong admitted that many fans have complained about the high prices. But he and his staff have assured them that the 60 to 70 per cent of the seats fall in the $188 to $388 category, which covers the terrace and balcony. ‘Some complain it’s too expensive, but we explained to them that they don’t have to sit so close to see Rain. The majority of the tickets are affordable.’ But Rain’s cheapest $188 tickets actually cost more than the top range for most Mandopop gigs. Tickets for the upcoming Lee Hom concert, which Hype Records said costs about $1 million to produce, are priced from $78 to $168. Local songbird Stefanie Sun’s show in January was one of the most expensive at $198 a ticket. But are Rain’s fans willing to pay such a big premium?
The reaction was mixed.
Part-time student Blythe Ong, 21, said: ‘I’m so depressed. I was prepared to pay maximum $500 and for that I’d have to eat bread every day. But $888 is too much! Are they trying to extort money from us just because he’s popular? It’s only for a few hours and it’s not as if I can take him home, so why would I want to pay?’
Concert promoters were also surprised to hear about the $888 price tag.
Mr Michael Hosking of Midas Promotions, which brought in Black Eyed Peas and Enrique Iglesias, said ‘it sounds like plenty for a lot of fans’.
WILLING TO PAY
But he reasoned that ‘promoters can charge whatever they like but it’s up to the fans whether to pay or not’. Still, some fans are willing to pay. After all, since shooting to fame in Asia last year, the 24-year-old star has held two concerts in New York City. He was in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
At least 14 Rain Singapore members have signed up for the $888 tickets, including personal assistant Angeline Lim, 57, and her 54-year-old sister. Ms Lim said: ‘$888 is okay for me. I’ve been waiting for him to come to Singapore, and it’ll be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. ‘I’d even pay $1,000 if I can get to meet him.’