By Sandra Sperounes, edmontonjournal.com
LEDUC — Country star Charley Pride showed up in Leduc on Thursday to take a stand against online ticket scalping — and surprise one of his fans in the process.
Jacqueline Sharp ended up on a resale ticket site — absolutetickets.com — and paid $1,201.71 for a pair of seats to his June 20 show at the Jubilee Auditorium.
Tickets are $58.50 and $67.50 plus service charges at Ticketmaster.
Pride, who lives in Dallas, learned about Sharp's situation when her son, Jay Cole, sent an e-mail to his agent.
Amid a flock of cameras and journalists, the country musician surprised Sharp at the City Centre Mall in Leduc, where she works at Rexall Drugs.
He gave her $933 US — or the equivalent of what she paid — and two floor seats to his Edmonton concert.
Sharp cried when she hugged Pride.
"I felt like (I was) 20," she said, clutching the cash and tickets in her left hand. "He's one of the better performers I think I've ever seen."
Pride says online ticket scalpers are unacceptable. "It don't feel good, that's why I'm here," he says. "I don't think it's right. I wouldn't like paying that much money to see myself.
The 71 -year-old scored his first hit, Just Between You and Me, in 1966. His others include I'm So Afraid of Losing You Again, Kiss An Angel Good Morning, and Is Anybody Goin' To San Antone?
Online ticket resales is one of the most contentious issues in the concert industry.
In January, some Bruce Springsteen fans raised a stink after they were redirected from Ticketmaster to TicketsNow and paid as much as 50 times more for the price of a seat.
As part of an investigation launched by the state of New Jersey, Ticketmaster agreed to give those disgruntled fans another shot at buying tickets.
The Ontario government is now looking into legislation to stop Ticketmaster from selling tickets on TicketsNow.