The concert performance of Enrique Iglesias at CR & FC Grounds last weekend has been unique in two aspects. There has been no other live performance that has ever stimulated such a plethora of criticisms. Secondly, the critics were not talking or reporting of Show Reviews pertaining to the prowess and showmanship of Enrique I. Many who heard or read the critics would have missed this important difference. Criticisms were all about the emotions and physical actions the show generated in the audience. Of what the critics said, and their relevance or lack of relevance, appropriateness or otherwise have all been dealt in many manifestations in the social media. The dissections in the social media have bordered on profundity, sometimes on satire, humour, and even ridicule upon the critics. As the court of social media has passed its sentence upon these criticisms, it is not our intention to repeat any here. In the same vain we have no issue with the Star Performer, Enrique I, like father, the son is a super star.

More important is a fundamentally different issue. How and why the show event management failed. What made the spectators angry, why, people who went to have a good time came with their adrenalin fired and elevated blood pressure. Crucial is how the Event Managers failed to deliver the “service” expected by the spectator by virtue of the contractual obligation represented in a ticket sold by the Event Managers and purchased by the spectator. “Service” is a word which unfortunately is at the bottom of the Sri Lankan lexicon. The private sector and the public sector both show callous disregard to “service”, they being restricted only to brochures, promotions, supplements, etc.

Service, in Sri Lanka is inversely proportional to the money a consumer pays. Perhaps so, because, as a rule we do not complain about bad service or compliment good service. It is there, not noticed. This complacency leads to service providers to take the consumer for granted, because of no complaints.

This is exactly what happened in the Enrique Iglesias show. Perhaps it is manifesting legally in  a Letter of Demand to the tune of Rs.22 million from a disgruntled concertgoer. It highlights many failures in security arrangements that resulted premium enclosures being barged into by masses of low price ticket holders impeding on visibility, privacy, and convenience of people who forked more than Rs 25,000 per ticket, poor audio, etc. Mega events of this magnitude are conducted in abundance in neighbouring India, Singapore or Malaysia and most who paid the premium prices have attended them and are used to the service that the ticket bequeaths the spectator and the resultant contentment.

It is in this backdrop that we also learn that the Event Managers Live Events  being slapped with Attorney-at-Law Nishan Premathiratne, through his lawyer, Sanjay Fonseka,  sending a Letter of Demand dated December 29 to the organizers demanding a sum of Rs.22 million for the ‘substandard’ concert held on December 20 as part of Enrique Iglesias’s ‘Sex and Love’ tour. According to the letter, Premathiratne and his wife had purchased so-called VIP tickets paying a sum of Rs.35, 000 each. However, the Letter of Demand claims that the couple was subjected to severe inconvenience and even harassment prior to and during the concert.

The letter notes that there had been a delay of around 3-4 hours in allowing ticketholders to enter the concert venue and commencement of the concert. Among other matters cited are allegations that the organizers had not taken the trouble to inform concertgoers reasons for the long delay. The letter further notes that the so-called ‘private’ after party was also not exclusive, with anyone being allowed to enter.

The letter points out that the VIP tickets had been purchased “in the reasonable expectation of ‘VIP treatment’ in the true sense of the word.”

“My client had purchased VIP tickets with the reasonable expectation to be in the company of an exclusive limited crowd who would have purchased tickets paying the same sum of money.  Letter of Demand further noted.”

The letter warns that legal action will be initiated against the company if it failed to pay the client Rs.22 million in damages within 14 days.