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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, February 8, 2002

Tickets still available for Janet concert

By Derek Paiva
Advertiser Staff Writer

Janet Jackson's 1999 concert here sold out in hours. That's not the case for her 2002 show.

Advertiser library photo • 1999

The last time Janet Jackson brought her concert tour to Hawai'i in 1999, her performance sold out in hours, eventually sending 38,000 fans through Aloha Stadium turnstiles. It was the highest attendance for a music event in the arena's history.

The chance that lightning will strike twice for Jackson's Feb. 16 return engagement? As OutKast might say, "Sorry Ms. Jackson."

On Wednesday, Aloha Stadium box office manager Ainsley Paki told The Advertiser that 12,000 seats remained unsold for Jackson's concert next Saturday. This, despite HBO's live taping of the event — billed as "Janet In Hawaii in Concert" — for national broadcast the following evening, and Jackson's announcement that she will retire from touring for good following the Honolulu show.

A 32,000-seat sellout is still possible but unlikely because tickets still on sale are mostly in the $35 nosebleed sections of the stadium. Hardly a spot where one has a shot at being caught with a "shaka" by HBO cameras.

"Her concert did sell out faster the last time," said Paki, of Jackson's January 1999 O'ahu "Velvet Rope" tour stop. "But I'm guessing ticket sales might be slower (this time) since she's been here before." Paki was expecting ticket sales to pick up once this week's Pro Bowl was over. "People here generally buy their tickets the week of the event. It usually picks up about Tuesday. Then it gets wild."

"Janet in Hawaii" producer Tony Eaton said a less-than-sellout crowd would hardly affect his and director David Mallet's pro-duction plans or limit angles for any of the 22 cameras taping the concert.

"We can absolutely work with something like that," said Eaton, via telephone from Los Angeles. "But I have a feeling that the show is going to do quite well at the end of the day, sales-wise. She's going to do stuff specifically for the HBO show that you could not see anywhere else."

A spokesman for Jackson's publicists, Rogers & Cowan, declined to say whether it had expected the Honolulu concert to sell out faster.

Jane Domanay, a medical technologist for Clinical Laboratories who attended Jackson's last Hawai'i concert, pondered purchasing tickets to next week's show for a day after they went on sale in November, phoning friends to see if they were interested in going again. As it turns out, most were.

"I asked for the closest seats they could give me," said Domanay, of her $65 field-level tickets for next Saturday. "I had a good time the last time, and I'm sure she'll put on a good performance again. So I didn't mind paying that kind of money again."

That the concert would be shown on television, and could be Jackson's last Hawai'i performance ever, also hastened Domanay's decision.

"I'm sure because it's televised she'll pull out all her best stuff,"

Domanay said. "And if she's not going to perform anymore, then choosing us as her last location to perform ... I mean, I feel lucky just to see her perform a second time."

PacificBasin Communications accounting manager Chandra Furuto — who went to Jackson's 1999 Aloha Stadium show just five months after flying to Las Vegas to see the singer perform there — decided against going this time around.

"If I got some free tickets or somebody wanted to take me ... great!" Furuto said. "But there's just other things to do, like save for a trip I want to take to the Mainland. I think I'll just save my money and see somebody new."