LOS ANGELES (AP) — Surprise!
Before they kick off their "50 and Counting" tour, the Rolling Stones are playing a warm-up date at a small Los Angeles club.
The band is set to perform Saturday night at the Echoplex before a sold-out crowd that will be miniscule compared to the thousands who are set to see them launch their tour May 3 at the Staples Center.
Tickets were sold for $20 each — a fraction of what tickets to the tour will cost.
Hundreds of fans lined up outside the El Rey Theatre earlier Saturday for a chance at the tickets. They were dispensed through a confusing lottery system that led to much of the crowd departing even though show tickets were made available to lottery ticket holders.
Buyers were limited to one ticket, and were required to show a government-issued ID, pay with cash, wear a wristband with their name on it and be photographed. Their names will be verified at the venue, which has a capacity of about 700. Cameras and smartphones will not be allowed inside.
Rumors of the spontaneous show spread across social networks this week after the band teased the appearance on their Twitter accounts. The dance-pop band New Build, which was originally scheduled to play the Echoplex on Saturday, was first to leak details about the show.
"Our gig got shifted b/c the Rolling Stones are playing Echoplex," the band posted Friday on Twitter. They joked that they're looking forward to "having it out" with the Rolling Stones.
The Rolling Stones performed a few dates together in London, Brooklyn, N.Y., and Newark, N.J., last winter, but didn't announce a tour until earlier this month. They will play 17 dates in the United States but said they may add more down the line.
The lowest price for tickets to the show at the Staples Center, which has a capacity of about 20,000, is $250.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang