Cheap seats save Rolling Stones gig

Rolling Stones rock a packed house in LA only after they were forced to sell cheaper tickets.

The Rolling Stones. Picture: AFP

LOS ANGELES - The Rolling Stones rocked a packed house in Los Angeles on Friday on the opening night of their North American 50 and Counting tour, but only after websites slashed ticket prices and the band released additional cheap seats at the last minute.

The 17-date tour is the veteran British rockers' biggest in six years and follows a handful of dates in London, Paris and New York at the end of 2012 marking 50 years since they burst on to the music scene at London's Marquee Club in 1962.

"We first played LA in 1965. Thank you for coming to see us. We really appreciate it," frontman Mick Jagger said late on Friday during the show at Staples Centre.

The 69-year-old strutted and gyrated in his trademark style through a string of classic Stones hits including _Gimme Shelter, Paint it Black _and Jumpin' Jack Flash.

Celebrities like Jack Nicholson and Melanie Griffith attended the show, which also featured guest performances by singer Gwen Stefani on Wild Horses and Keith Urban on Respectable.

Days before the show, hundreds of seats were still available and secondary sellers scrambled to unload tickets by slashing prices from the original $250 to $600 price range which had irked many of even the most die-hard Stones fans.

The band also released additional seats at a modest $85 on its official website this week, the only price point that quickly sold out for the 3 May concert.

Buyers who opted to buy the $85 seats online were instructed to line up at the arena just before the show, and were told they would be notified of their locations which could range anywhere for prime seating to further back in the venue.

"It's very thrilling. It's like gambling and the Stones all rolled into one," said Los Angeles realtor Kelley Miller, who had bought a pair of $85 seats along with some friends, and stood in line to find out where they would be sitting.

Miller and her friends said they were happy to be seated anywhere at that price.