Have You Ever Felt That You Were in Danger at a Concert?
Have you ever felt that you were in danger at a concert? It happened to me once. With the tragic events that just occurred at Travis Scott's Astroworld Festival in Houston, TX, it makes me realize that I was in an incredibly dangerous situation, and there, but by the Grace of God, go I.
As many have pointed out, what happened this past weekend in Houston was not uncommon.
I was only 10 years old in 1979 when I heard the horrible news out of Cincinnati, Ohio. On December 3, 1979, 11 people lost their lives, and 26 people were injured at Cincinnati's Riverfront Coliseum when the crowd that was waiting for a concert by The Who were let loose, and surged into the arena.
Nobody will ever forget The Station Nightclub fire, a massive blaze which was sparked by on-stage pyrotechnics during a concert by the rock band Great White. The Station Nightclub fire claimed the lives of 100 people, injuring 230 more on February 20, 2003, in West Warwick, Rhode Island.
I've been lucky enough to attend hundreds of concerts in my lifetime, and there was only one time where I felt that I was in a dangerous situation.
On Saturday August 8, 1992, I saw Lollapalooza 92 at Great Woods Performing Arts Center (Now known as The Xfinity Center) in Mansfield, Massachusetts. The artist lineup was stacked - Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ministry, Ice Cube, Soundgarden, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Lush, and Pearl Jam.
Great Woods has a very similar set up to Hartford's Xfinity Theater, an amphitheater with several thousand seats, surrounded by a general admission lawn section. We had seats towards the back, with the lawn section around 20 rows behind us.
During Ministry's set, we noticed that fires were being set on the lawn. People were tearing down the venue's wooden fencing and starting big bonfires. To us in the seats, it looked like a scene from Lord of the Flies, with people dancing in circles around the 15-20 foot flames. Then, we started to get hit with rocks.
Al Jourgensen of Ministry did a hell of a job whipping up the 25,000 of us, so much so that people on the lawn started to rip up hunks of the lawn, and started hucking the heavy pieces of Earth into the seats. It was kind of funny at first, when a piece of dirt landed near your feet, but then it got serious.
I'll never forget, there was a woman standing in the row in front of us sobbing. She had a look of terror in her eyes, she had just been hit with something heavy, a rock? A bottle? It injured her, and she had to get out of the arena, now. I saw that she was hurt, and looked back at the lawn crowd behind us in anger. What I saw was hundreds of 20-something guys ripping apart the ground that they were standing on and throwing these pieces of sod, rocks, bottles, cans, garbage, etc. directly at us.
It was terrifying, I got hit a couple of times when I wasn't watching and it made me panic. I just couldn't believe that it was happening. Concerts are supposed to be civil, right? I had never before had someone throw a rock at me, full force, with no consequences.
Thankfully, it got to the point where the venue stepped in and had Jourgensen stop and address the crowd. The lawn crowd did as told and stopped with the fires and dirt momentarily, enough to let those of us in the seats beat it towards the bathrooms or beer stands. We felt safe enough to try and tough it out to see the Chili Peppers, and there was a slight resurgence of the fires and sod-throwing during their set.
Have you ever felt that feeling at a concert before? That you are in the wrong place at a live event? Have you been at a performance where the artist feeds into the energy of a live crowd, and unexpected dangers arise due to of their actions?