When we got inside and opted for seats instead of going down into the mob scene on the floor, Chromeo was already 20 minutes late taking the stage. It was a bad omen, but we remained optimistic, and Chris left to get us drinks. While I was alone, I watched the crowd and felt a little old and a little awesome. I thought about the likelihood that I was among a small minority of people in the room who weren't high. I wondered why security wasn't letting people use the stairways to get down to the floor.
Shortly after Chris returned with his tiny, $10 beer, things started going south. Time kept passing without Chromeo taking the stage. A man finally came to the mic and ordered the crowd to move out of the first five rows of seating all around the Forum because the fire marshall could shut the show down if kids kept jumping over the railing and onto the floor below. He called the jumpers "morons" and encouraged the rest of the crowd to keep being cool. This seemed unrealistic to me. The idea of moving a portion of the sold-out crowd out of the seats they'd scored (by that time) an hour earlier was somewhat ludicrous, but we all wanted to see the show, so we persevered.
Time kept passing. The man came out again and told portions of the audience that it would be their fault if the show couldn't go on. He promised that we were minutes away from seeing some "Hot Canadian Ass," and security kept making their way around the room, herding people out of their hard-won chairs and into the nosebleed section.
video from "badassbuzz" of the second announcement
More time passed. The man came out once more to point his finger and issue threats. I was getting nervous. He had to know who his audience was, right? That you couldn't ask a capacity crowd made up of stoned youths to do anything orderly. They were not paying attention. They were (literally) watching people wave their lighted gloves around. We kept waiting.
not a huge update, but i found this video & had to add it...
I think it was at about the 90-minute mark that a crew member removed a laptop and a keyboard from Chromeo's setup, and I knew that was a bad sign. A little while later, someone discreetly tossed a cover over the turntables. That was definitely a bad sign. Then we started seeing action from the folks behind the sound board-- but they weren't getting ready for the big show-- they were packing up. The mother of bad signs.
What really started making me angry, as an event producer/promoter myself, was that the promoter wasn't telling the crowd what was happening anymore. We were sitting there as the 2-hour mark came and went, watching the crew pack equipment as the lights came up and the crowd started whispering rumors, and nobody made an announcement over the loudspeakers. A kid came up to his friends in the row behind us and said that they should bail because the riot police were outside-- and he was telling the truth! A few minutes later, police in riot gear were down on the floor with security, pushing the crowd towards the exits, with nary a word from the event organizers over the PA. WTF?
We decided we needed to get out before things got ugly, and as we were leaving, I asked a security guard if he knew anything about what was happening. He said, "Call TicketMaster for your refund." (TicketMaster's site says they'll contact me about a refund. They'd better. That was an expensive show.)
When we emerged from the building, the riot police were lined up outside, making sure the crowd exited to the parkinglot. We found my car and started for the road, realizing with some distress that they'd just forcibly broken up a rave-type show four hours before it was scheduled to end. I'm guessing that anyone who dropped acid or did ecstasy at the beginning of the evening with the expectation that they'd have come down by the time they needed to drive was s.o.l.-- and on the road with me.
When I got home, I turned to the Internet to try to find out what happened. Twitter was reporting a backstage shooting that had Busy P on the brink of death and/or a mass overdose of bad ecstasy that left 30 people dead. I called the Inglewood police to see if either of these were true, and the detective on the desk assured me that they were rumors, and I believe him.
Here's the message from the event's Website after the show:
Dear Los Angeles, We are terribly sorry. Inglewood PD made the decision to shut down the event tonight much to our astonishment and yours. There are many questions to answer; rest assured you will not be left hanging. Please check back soon. The show must go on...
I'll be interested to see what the buzz online is tomorrow, and you can bet I'm going to be after that refund. A note to promoters, though: when things go sour at your show, but the audience is being peaceful, tell them what's up before you sic the riot police on them.
In conclusion, thank God I had a big, burly, 6'5" guy with me tonight. I think I would have been really freaked out without Chris there. And thank God I already have tickets to see Chromeo later this month at the Street Scene. Here's hoping they make it on stage next time!
- Underworld's statement on their site: http://www.underworldlive.com/home/090809.html
- LA Weekly's report on the shut-down: http://bit.ly/xmNng
- LA Weekly Blog report on the shut-down: http://bit.ly/2gVRbl
- LA Times Blog report on the shut-down: http://bit.ly/1br8jI
- (2pm) WTF??? This report says the event was shut down by police AN HOUR before the crowd was really told to go: http://bit.ly/CSi1c