Paul McCartney on stage in Prague

Paul McCartney on stage in Prague, 2004

It’s not sold out, but it’s pretty close.

Tickets to Paul McCartney’s Aug. 5 concert in Missoula went fast Friday morning, with only a handful of the most expensive tickets remaining.

“We’re pushing capacity of 25,218 tickets,” said Brad Murphy, executive director of the Adams Center at the University of Montana. “We had a great day, and everyone who stood in line got a ticket.”

The lines weren’t overwhelmingly long, with an estimated 300 ticket buyers passing through the Adams Center despite Friday morning’s drizzle. Another 100 buyers made their purchase at Southgate Mall and Worden’s Market.

Most of the 25,000 buyers went online, and GrizTix boosted its capacity to deal with the demand. Sales went smoothly, Murphy said.

“You learn from the past,” he said. “We had all the controls in place, extra servers to deal with the online presence. We made sure our outlets were covered. It was the smoothest sale we’ve ever had for a show like this.”

The University of Montana announced May 5 that McCartney had added Missoula to his worldwide “Out There” tour – an Aug. 5 concert between shows in Minneapolis and Salt Lake City.

Rumor has it that McCartney set his sights on the Garden City after Mick Jagger of Rolling Stones fame told the former Beatle that his experience playing Washington-Grizzly Stadium had been a great one.

The show continues UM’s success in attracting high-profile artists to a city with a smaller population base, at least compared to the draw of big arenas elsewhere in the country.

Concerts in recent years have included Pearl Jam, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Nine Inch Nails and the Zac Brown Band, among others.

For Murphy, the success of Friday morning’s ticket sales is a relief.

“You don’t know how it’s going to go – it’s the unknown,” he said. “The local people did really well in gaining tickets. That’s always been a push of ours. A lot of Missoulians and Montanans got tickets.”

Reporter Martin Kidston can be reached at 523-5260, or at martin.kidston@missoulian.com.

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