Two Birmingham Academy dates for ska punk legends The Specials sold out on Thursday within four minutes of going on sale.
The reunion of the Coventry band was arranged to coincide with the 30th anniversary of their first single Gangsters, on the 2-Tone label, with the two dates at Birmingham's Carling Academy scheduled for April 25 and 26 next year. There is still expected to be a home town gig in Coventry, but details have not yet been released.
The £32.50 tickets went on sale at 9am and, by 10am, touts were offering them on eBay. Bids reached £165 for a pair as desperate fans prepared to dig deep.
Meanwhile, founding member of the Specials, Jerry Dammers, has slammed the tour, claiming he has been made to feel unwelcome was driven out of the plans to reform.
In a statement issued through his management, he describes the tour as a "takeover, rather than a reunion."
Dammers, who wrote Ghost Town and Nelson Mandela, as well as arranging Too Much Too Young, claimed there had been hardly any communication from his former bandmates. And he says that he has lawyers' letters from the other members insisting that he is not to speak to any of them.
The statement read: "Jerry was not invited to take part in this proposed tour, or even told about it.
"He also has to say that claims that 'the door is still open' to him fail to mention that Jerry has been driven out every time he has attempted to get involved over the last year. He also wonders why this appears in the newspaper when former bandmates have his phone number?
"Jerry does not wish to go into too much detail at this point, except to say that for over 25 years he had dreamed that his former bandmates might come back one day, and was deeply shocked to find that when they did, for some of them, it was apparently to kick him out.
"A meeting was called to which Jerry was not invited. Jerry turned up anyway and played the music he had started recording, and suggested starting serious rehearsals, but was subjected to a severe dressing down from people who had barely spoken to him in 25 years.
"Apart from the recording, Jerry wanted to try and aim for a proper reunion and 30th anniversary celebration, including [performing] the best part of both Specials albums, 'The Ghost Town' EP and a small amount of new material, in proper concerts, in venues worthy of the band's status and legacy.
"Jerry sees this whole thing as a takeover, rather than a proper reunion... At the moment this is not the proud reunion and 30th anniversary celebration Jerry had hoped for."
5pm UPDATE..... The Specials have added further dates to their UK tour for April/May 2009.
More than 45,000 tickets sold out this morning in just over an hour. Three further Brixton Academy dates and extra shows in Glasgow and Manchester were announced. The extra Manchester date also sold out quickly.
Responding to Jerry Dammers' statement, the band issued a statement which read: “We don’t agree with what Jerry has said, but we don’t want to talk about it, not least because it is in the hands of our lawyers.
"We are all very excited about the overwhelming support shown to us, and the rush to buy tickets would appear to prove that the fans are looking forward to joining us in these dancehalls across the country next year.”
* Tickets: Glasgow 08444 999 990; London 0844 477 2000; Also: 0871 2200 260 & www.gigsandtours.com