Many reported seeing messages on the Ticketmaster website telling them there were more than 200,000 people ahead of them in the virtual line – with tickets also appearing on second hand ticket sites for significantly more than face value.
The 49-year-old comic, who has been out of the spotlight in recent years, announced earlier this month that he is embarking on an arena tour spanning this December to August 2023.
Some second hand ticket sites had seats on sale for as much as £1,000 on resale sites such as Viagogo, with many calling for more to be done to stop second hand ticket touts and control the number of purchases. Others reported that the site crashed due to the high demand.
As tickets went on sale on Saturday morning, Ticketmaster tweeted: “As expected, Peter Kay is super popular this morning.
“To make it as fair as possible, we have put everyone in a queue. Be patient and don’t refresh or you’ll lose your place.”
The rush to secure tickets also prompted the hashtags #PeterKayTour and #Ticketmaster to begin trending on Twitter.
Channel 5 News host Dan Walker was among those in the queue, tweeting: “Trying to get Peter Kay tickets is like trying to get an appointment at the GP!
“‘Please hold… there are currently 170,000 people ahead of you in the queue’.”
Fellow comic Jason Manford joked: “Phew lucky enough to get 2x Peter Kay tickets.
“For sale 2x Peter Kay tickets, £3500 each ono.”
Others compared the experience to the famously difficult task of securing tickets to Glastonbury Festival.
As tickets went on sale, Kay announced he had added more dates to the tour, including two nights to his London residency at the O2 Arena.
He is the first artist in the world to perform a monthly residency at the venue.
Customers of O2, Virgin Media and Three were offered access to presale tickets two days earlier, but also faced huge demand, with some services crashing.
O2 and Virgin said it was “by far the highest demand we’ve ever seen for priority tickets in 15 years”.
Kay, from Bolton, has been largely out of the spotlight in recent years.
He cancelled his last tour in December 2017, citing “unforeseen family circumstances”.
Kay returned to the stage in August 2021 for two special charity events to raise money for Laura Nuttall, a then 20-year-old with an aggressive type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme.
There was also a brief return in January 2021 when he appeared on BBC Radio 2 to chat to Cat Deeley – who was filling in after Graham Norton left the station – about his love of music, mixtapes and the musical Mamma Mia.
He also made a surprise appearance at a charity screening of his series Car Share in 2018.