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But Arista wasn't wrong, and neither was Elektra, Rhymes's label, which informed yours truly on December 12 that Puff Daddy would be in Canada, not Colorado, in ten days' time. Knowing that several students at the school where my wife teaches had purchased tickets to the show, I asked her to pass the word along to them. But when the young consumers called Ticketmaster-Colorado, they were told that the show was still on--and that message was repeated to callers even after a small item about the Edmonton/Denver snafu appeared in the December 16 Rocky Mountain News. A reliable source tells me that as late as 6 p.m. on December 17, the computer at one area Ticketmaster walkup continued to list the December 22 date.

The morning of the 17th, KS-107.5 was still operating under the belief that the appearance would take place as planned. But jocks changed their tune later in the day--and that afternoon, during a segment manned by DJ Gerry Dixon, Combs himself called the station to apologize. "He completely denied knowing anything about it and blamed everything on the promoter," Stacy notes. "He said he just goes where they tell him to go when they tell him to go there."

This characterization differs dramatically from the image of Combs proffered by a "rockumentary" about the Puff Daddy & the Family tour currently receiving airplay on MTV; in it, Puffy claims to be deeply involved in every aspect of the production. But Stacy is inclined to believe the statement he made to Dixon. "He sounded pretty upset," he says, "and for such a major star to go to the trouble of calling a radio station in Denver to explain something like this, it makes me think he really cares. And he made a point of saying that the concert wasn't canceled, only postponed. He emphatically said he would take care of Denver."

That's the assumption that Ticketmaster is operating under. According to Cathy Felling, general manager of Ticketmaster-Colorado, no new Puff Daddy tickets are being sold at present, and people calling to inquire about ones they've already bought are being told that they can either take them to the location where they purchased them for a complete refund ("convenience charges" included) or hold on to them until a make-up date is announced.

Right now, no one has any idea when that will be. During his KS-107.5 chat, Combs implied that he wants to come to Denver as soon as possible, but Pollstar indicates that he'll spend all of January and at least a portion of February in Europe. "It could be June when he comes here, for all we know," Stacy says.

If Combs keeps his promise, he may find some angry fans waiting for him. "I just think this is a load of crap," Baptiste says. "If you put two and two together, it looks pretty fishy--like a recipe for how not to give people's money back to them." Adds Stacy, "I would hold on to my tickets if I could, because this is supposed to be a really great show. But it being postponed again, for a second time, still really sucks. I can only assume that the promoter booked these two shows on the same day to see which one would sell better. And last time I heard, Denver had sold about 7,000 tickets and Edmonton had sold over 10,000. So I guess Denver gets screwed."

--Michael Roberts

Backbeat's e-mail address is: Michael_Roberts@westword.com. While you're online, visit Michael Roberts's Jukebox at www.westword.com

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