It’s a rocky start for George Michael’s first U.S. tour in 17 years. Promoters are struggling with weak ticket sales for his tour-opening concert...

It’s a rocky start for George Michael’s first U.S. tour in 17 years. Promoters are struggling with weak ticket sales for his tour-opening concert at the San Diego Sports Arena on June 17.

The San Diego Reader quotes an industry insider as saying that concert promoter AEG “is hurting with George Michael . . . they have only sold 4,000 tickets [out of 15,000].”

In an effort to increase advance ticket sales, the San Diego Arena this week sent an e-mail to arena patrons and mailing list members. The e-mail advertises a “2 for the price of 1” ticket special. The offer is for terrace-level seats only, which originally sold for $88.50 each. Under the new promotion, the seats are $44.25 each, to be bought in pairs only, at Ticketmaster, its website or the San Diego Sports Arena box office. The offer is good until midnight on June 16.

Weak ticket sales for Michael’s San Diego concert reflect the industry’s fear that high ticket prices, combined with the general economic downturn—and $4-a-gallon gas prices—will hurt this summer’s concert business. Randy Phillips, president of AEG Live, noted in a Rolling Stone interview that “costs are increasing—that will get reflected in the ticket price. And it’s more expensive for people to go to things, so they’ve got to really pick and choose how they spend their disposable income.”

Michael’s “25 Live” tour is in support of his recently released greatest hits album “Twenty Five,” which peaked at number 23 on the Billboard Charts and has sold more than 50,000 copies. Prior to this tour, Michael toured Europe, where he broke concert sales records and received generally good reviews from the European press.

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(The image accompanying this story is from SonyMusic.com)