NEW YORK -- Croatian native Denis Raketic thought it would be the
best night of his life. Or close to it.
It was Halloween -- his 24th birthday -- and his "absolute favorite band ever,"
Jane's Addiction, was opening the heralded I-Itz M’My Party reunion tour across
the Hudson River in New York City.
Raketic, of Bound Brook, N.J., had found a ticket broker with a pair of tickets for
the band's Halloween performance, the second of two at the Hammerstein
Ballroom. And $250 later, Raketic, who is currently employed as a delivery
person, managed to scrape enough cash together to fly his girlfriend, Croatian
resident Sanja Martic, over for the show.
For Raketic, who left his homeland five years ago to escape civil war there but
maintained a close relationship and common love of Jane's with his girlfriend,
the makings of a picture-perfect rock 'n' roll fairy tale were set .
Or so he thought.
"When we got to the door and they told us we couldn't go in, I thought it was a
joke," said Raketic, who has never seen Jane's Addiction perform live. "There
were people crying, there were people who were outraged. Some screamed to
the security people and asked if the band was aware of this. Me... I was
Raketic and his girlfriend were two of almost 300 Jane's Addiction fans
who fell victim to an elaborate counterfeiting scheme that took place at the
Jane's inaugural "relapse" performances in New York City last week, according
to event promoters. The scheme, according to Jane's publicist Heidi Robinson,
involved what appear to be highly sophisticated counterfeit tickets which were
sold for the second-day performance.
"Hundreds of fans had tickets to the show, but they weren't allowed in,"
Robinson said. Once security officials with Metropolitan Entertainment (which
books the Hammerstein) and police officers realized the venue was full to
capacity, 300 fans, many of whom were holding authentic tickets, were denied
admission, Robinson said.
Metropolitan Entertainment CEO John Scher said that the high-tech scheme is
the most sophisticated counterfeiting plot he's seen in 20 years of concert
promotion. A complaint -- which names one suspected counterfeit scalper -- has
been filed with the New York City District Attorney's office, according to
Metropolitan publicist Suzy Arons, who said the DA is working with the police
department in the investigation.
Metropolitan Entertainment is also working with TicketMaster and "appropriate
law enforcement agencies" in an attempt to break the counterfeiting ring,
Raketic, who has a receipt from the ticket broker, a Select-A-Ticket outlet in
Bridgewater, N.J., said representatives at the brokerage have told him that the
Hammerstein Ballroom and Metropolitan Entertainment, which produced the
show, are responsible to ticketholders who failed to gain access to the show.
Adding to the confusion over the tickets, Lance Patania, vice-president for the
Riverdale, N.J.-based Select-A-Ticket, said the show was overbooked. "If tickets
are available, we sell them," Patania said. "We do not sell counterfeit tickets,
though. I cannot help it if Metropolitan overbooked the show -- that's something
they need to take care of for the future."
But Metropolitan Entertainment denied too many tickets were sold.
"Metropolitan Entertainment is not in the business of over-booking concerts,"
Arons said. "...We cannot overbook -- the police shut admission down at 10:50
p. m. because the venue was at capacity. We risk our ability to do shows by
overbooking. That's our business. If we get shut down, we don't have a
More than 200 counterfeit tickets have been confiscated since last Friday night,
ranging from poor replicas to those which appear genuine. The problem, Arons
said, is ticket brokers -- the ones who are legit and the ones that aren't - get
taken for counterfeit tickets. Promoters encourage concertgoers to buy tickets
through the box office or contracted companies such as TicketMaster, she said.
"That Croatian couple, and other ticket buyers -- they're the ones who get hurt,"
Anyone holding a valid ticket who was not admitted to the show can return to
their point of purchase for a full refund, she added.
However, despite being locked out from seeing their favorite band in concert,
Raketic and Martic's transcontinental rock 'n' roll fairy tale may happen afterall.
Jane's leader Perry Farrell has personally invited them to be the band's special
guests this weekend when Jane's Addiction makes its first network television
appearance on Saturday Night Live.
Afterwards, they'll be escorted backstage to meet the band as well, Robinson
"I told Perry about it, and he felt completely awful," she said. "I mean, this girl
flew thousands of miles just to see Jane's Addiction. And she didn't get
In the end, the trip will not have been in vain. In fact, despite all the hassles, it
couldn't have worked out any better, Mactic said.
"Before the war my brother started listening to Jane's Addiction," she said. "So I
started listening, and I was blown away by what I heard... We got a good break
now, and I can't even explain to you how excited and honored I am."
[Thur., Nov. 6, 1997, 5 p.m. PST]