"People, PLEASE take one step back!"
November 13, 2005 9:05 AM   Subscribe

Would you step on a teenage girl to see B5? No, not that B5, this one ( warning: you'll be greeted by the compelling sounds of a Radio Disney ad).

For many of us of a certain age, The Who in Cincinnati was the defining moment in uncontrolled concert crowds. Those a little younger may only know of this tragedy.

Don't bother creating a helpful site to log crowd complaints--these guys have already done it (complete with cartoonish graphics). If you like your crowd control info framed, try this site.
posted by Kibbutz (29 comments total)
I regularly stepped on teenage girls to see B5.

What else was I supposed to do? They were in the way of the TV!
posted by Katemonkey at 9:22 AM on November 13, 2005

It was like a girl frenzy!

For me, the defining moment wasn't The Who concert, it was the resultant WKRP in Cincinnati episode a couple months later.

I was recently listening to a Pearl Jam concert from '97 in New York, and fans up front were getting crushed, and Eddie stopped the band to tell them to stop and that "if anybody got seriously hurt, I don't think we could ever play again." I guess he was wrong.

That said, I don't think this B5 incident comes close to either event. I also don't see how traffic accidents and bombings are the concert industry's fault (but that site is confusing).
posted by mrgrimm at 9:27 AM on November 13, 2005

Everyone listed below, according to our research, is a victim of lax or improper concert crowd management. In other words, these are deaths that need not have occurred.

Name unknown - Terrorist bombing - Bangladesh
Name unknown - Terrorist bombing - Bangladesh
Name unknown - Terrorist bombing - Bangladesh
Name unknown - Terrorist bombing - Bangladesh
Name unknown - Terrorist bombing - Bangladesh
Name unknown - Terrorist bombing - Bangladesh
Name unknown - Terrorist bombing - Bangladesh
Name unknown - Terrorist bombing - Bangladesh
Name unknown - Terrorist bombing - Bangladesh
Name unknown - Terrorist bombing - Bangladesh
Name unknown - Terrorist bombing - Bangladesh

posted by Bugbread at 9:28 AM on November 13, 2005

Ah, a girl frenzy. I remember the days when that was something to be cherished, not avoided.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:32 AM on November 13, 2005

Why don't throngs of preadolescent boys go running after girl groups?
posted by danb at 9:40 AM on November 13, 2005

The third and fourth seasons were just so thrilling - I couldn't help myself.
posted by jb at 9:48 AM on November 13, 2005

danb, as a wild-assed guess... I'll bet it's because the security guards would be perfectly willing to hit them, if necessary, to stop them.

There's a strong social barrier to being too physically stern with females, especially girls. I bet a lot of them would have a much easier time overwhelming guards than the same number of boys.... the boys are stronger, but the guards would be much less inhibited.
posted by Malor at 9:49 AM on November 13, 2005

What I remember is that after the tragedy in Cinncinnati, the cheap General Admission concert tickets were no longer sold. After the Who concert, it was all assigned seating... another small freedom traded away for security.
posted by three blind mice at 9:55 AM on November 13, 2005

Carnell Breeding
posted by thirteenkiller at 10:19 AM on November 13, 2005

One time I had general admission U2 tickets, and my friends and I were standing on the floor near the stage, and as it got closer and closer to showtime it got more and more crowded and people were standing closer and closer, and then I thought about the Who show in Cincinnati and suddenly I had a panic-attack freakout for the first time in my life. I just stood there going "I can't stay here!" in a shrill freaky voice over and over. Scared the hell out of my friends, and we moved to some seats in the stands instead. I don't know how people can stand watching arena shows from the floor, I really don't.
posted by JanetLand at 10:48 AM on November 13, 2005

JanetLand : "I don't know how people can stand watching arena shows from the floor, I really don't."

Crowd surfing is much harder in the stands. That's my reason, at least.
posted by Bugbread at 11:08 AM on November 13, 2005

The most interesting parts of the article (to me) were the fact that these were 5 BROTHERS, and their last name is Breeding, something their parents apparently took very seriously.

Other than that, the oft-mentioned "girl frenzy" comment made me snort with laughter. I'm sure it made many manicurists happy since I'm sure many of the frenzied girls broke a nail or something.
posted by MiHail at 11:08 AM on November 13, 2005

Oh yeah, the boys' ages, too. 10 to 17. 5 pregnancies in 7 years. Just wow.
posted by MiHail at 11:12 AM on November 13, 2005

"5 pregnancies in 7 years. Just wow."

Hah, that's not even worth mentioning in Utah. Here, she'd just be getting warmed up.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:28 AM on November 13, 2005

This is one of the reasons I can't go to arena concerts.

(The other main reasons is that the sound quality at most arena concerts is terrible, and since I generally can't afford nice assigned seats up front, I might as well stay home and listen to a CD.)

Anecdotal concert mayhem tale: 2nd year Lollapalooza show at the Irvine Meadows Ampitheater. (Yeah, I'm dating myself)

The show as a whole was fairly well behaved until Ministry played. I was in the nosebleed "Meadow" seating section - an open grassy field on the side of a very steep hill. This hill is notorious for getting soggy. Substantiated rumor has it that the bulk of this hill is comprised of compacted landfill, and it tends to seep moisture and turn to mud - to the point that sections of grass sod just slide or tear off the soil when stressed.

Ministry being Ministry, cue a few thousand suddenly hyperkinetic and angsty high school and college kids. Moshing began, people began scrambling to get out of the way and gather up whatever belongings they had.

Since this was a bunch of mostly dumb, angsty kids - myself included - one of those stupid washes formed, where instead of slam dancing everyone runs around in a circle for some reason. On a steep hill. It was kind of oval shaped, rotating counter-clockwise.

Amidst this there's people piling up trash and setting it on fire, so there's a dozen or so small bonfires scattered all over the side of this wet, grassy hill. The security guards tried coming into the area with extinguishers, but were forced out of the area for the rest of Ministry's set. Eventually people ran out of stuff to burn, anyway.

So, on the downhill leg of this rotating mass, people would gain momentum and slip and fall - and slide right into the guard rail at the bottom of the 'meadow' section. Bodies piled up there. I remember seeing many people sliding into this pile of bodies and rolling right over the mound of people and continuing onward over the guardrail. On the other side of the guardrail was a 10-15 foot drop to a concrete walkway, and beyond that was the last rows of mezzanine seating.

I remember seeing people get up after falling down into this gap and crowdsurf or seat-walk their way down to the front. It seemed to be a pretty common tactic and way to bypass the security checkpoints at the edges of the seating sections to enable forward movement.

I'm surprised no one died. At least I didn't hear about any deaths.

At one point I got really tired of this huge, pointless swirlng maelstrom of silly rivetheads, punks and kids running around in a circle so I decided to fight my way upstream, just to be hardcore, contrary or anarchistic - or whatever nonsense of your choice. Not maliciously or violently or anything, I wasn't swinging punches or anything. Just standard cordial slam dancing stuff, shoulders and hips and the occasional accidental elbow. I just wanted to see if I could, and if it would break up the big milling oval of thousands of kids.

I think I made it about 4 or 5 times around the oval before I tuckered out. Luckily I'm a fairly large and impact resistant guy with a low center of gravity. It was like taking on and endless line of tackles. I remember people trying to swing punches at me after seeing me the second or third time around, but they probably couldn't really see me coming, they'd more likely just see a knot of people ahead in a disruption of the flow and then me battling my way upstream.

At some point a few others got the idea, and eventually the wash got broken up before Ministry's set ended.

I was so incredibly sore after that. I could barely walk down the hill to the parking lot. I remember begging my friends to drag or carry me down the hill, and just hobbling, going "ow. ow. ow." at every step. I was all bruises and scrapes, walking bow-legged from chafing and stiffness and all that. The next day a large majority of my body was just blue-black-purple from all the bruising, and I don't think I really got out of bed for a few days after that.

The moral? I dunno, there really isn't one. I told u I wuz hardcore? *shrug*

All I know is I hate huge crowds and can't deal with the whole arena rock experience anymore.
posted by loquacious at 11:40 AM on November 13, 2005

Well, loquacious, I'd call that experience pretty strong negative conditioning :)

There's probably some moral in there about how fighting the crowd is rarely good for you, but I'm too lazy to go dig it out.
posted by Malor at 12:21 PM on November 13, 2005

Shopping Mall mob scenes are deliberately staged to hype pop bands.
posted by srboisvert at 12:23 PM on November 13, 2005

A friend of mine was literally only about 10 feet from the place where the people were trampled at the Who concert and he said he had no idea anything unusual was happening.

Around this same time, we regularly attended concerts with festival seating where near-trampling was a common occurance. A Pink Floyd concert in Three River's Stadium was particularly harrowing.

Assigned seating is a good thing.
posted by The Mermaid at 1:19 PM on November 13, 2005

I saw one concert at Red Rocks. At the time (don't know if it's still the case), the vast majority of Red Rocks was general admission, sit where you want. I think a few rows in the middle of the amphitheater were reserved, but the rest, right up to the front row was open for whomever got their first.

So, aside from having to arrive at 10:00 AM for a 9:00 PM show (to get mediocre seats), this also leads to people trying pretty hard to get ahead once the doors are open. The way into the amphitheater is a long, winding, and constricted path. It was choked with people, many of whom were stupid teenagers willing to walk on others to get a better seat.

It was a very unpleasant half hour, running the slow-motion gauntlet to get into the concert, but at least nothing newsworthy happened on the day I attended. But I've never gone back there. It's a fucking joke to seat that way.
posted by teece at 1:45 PM on November 13, 2005

The Star Tribune article fleshes this out a bit more. My favorite part?
"According to the Atlanta-based group's website, the five brothers who make up B5 have 'clean lyrics, age-appropriate content and good, old-fashioned charm.'"

Um...according to my website I have "the ability to go all night" and am described as "well endowed". Of course, that's just my site.
posted by graventy at 2:29 PM on November 13, 2005

graventy : "clean lyrics, age-appropriate content"
It's the way that you touch me...

I just wanna caress you...

I know it's hard...

So don't try to act like
You wanna act right...

I'm not a half pint
More like a liter...
Whereas, presumably, the age-inapppropriate version would be
It's the manner in which you touch my penis...
I merely desire to fondle you...
I am cognizant of the fact that I have an erection...
You are aware of the fact that you want to commit carnal sins...
I have a high volume of ejaculate...
posted by Bugbread at 2:36 PM on November 13, 2005

"They were our last best chance for decent music."
"They sucked."
posted by gren at 2:58 PM on November 13, 2005

Tottenham MP David Lammy said Ikea should have known offering cheap prices in a "poor" area would cause a rush. "

Man Stabbed in Ikea Opening Chaos (10th February 2005)

Maybe I live in another world, but I never heard of people almost "attacking" a store to get some cheap forniture ?

Either a lot of people are in very dire need of some furniture or a lot of people are driven to cheap-bargain occasion in an almost compulsive modus...or I'm missing something from the scenario.
posted by elpapacito at 6:11 PM on November 13, 2005

I just want to say that there are far too few Babylon 5 jokes in this thread... it started so well.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:20 PM on November 13, 2005

when in college i had tickets to see The Who in providence and then the cincinnati incident happened and the providence show was cancelled. so i never did get to see The Who. ever.
posted by brandz at 8:59 PM on November 13, 2005

I went to high school with a guy who, as a favour to his mom, took his little sister to see New Kids on the Block at Maple Leaf Gardens. He came back with a broken arm and two black eyes; the show went as planned, but as everyone was filing out some kid thought she saw one of the members of the group and there was a little mini-stampede...he got knocked down and when he came to he was being treated by a doctor in a dressing room. He told us his first thought when he realized what had happened was "Thank Christ I didn't get fucking killed at a New Kids concert."

Also, my sister got her shoulder separated during Blink-182's set at the Warped Tour in London, Ontario a few years back. She got passed over the barricade, and some security guards took her to No Use For A Name's bus, where a doctor popped her shoulder back into place, which made her throw up. They took her outside the bus and had her sit down and take some oxygen. So, there she is, sitting in the mud, sucking oxygen from a mask, with puke all over the front of her jeans and t-shirt, and Ice-T walked by. He gave her a look and said "Word."
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:55 AM on November 14, 2005

A Pink Floyd concert in Three River's Stadium was particularly harrowing.

Huh. That was the tour that inspired The Wall, and I remember in an interview Waters did when that album came out, he referred to the horror of "what is euphemistically called Festival Seating". I don't know which concert it was that he spat in an audience-member's eye (the event that sparked the idea for the album off).
posted by Grangousier at 8:00 AM on November 14, 2005

The stadium was weird. Everybody but the peopl who sat on the floor was covered so it was a stadium that had no roof I was suppose to sit on the floor but thanks to my bladder on the way to the bathroom i saw a man who worked at the stadium and he asked me how many people i was with and i was like just my one friend and he was like do you want to sit on the floor and i was like YEAH!!! and just gave me the tickets. so during the concert i was screaming JC because he was next to me (my fav is Justin) and i thought he didn't hear me cause he turned around and continued to sing but right before he turned around i stuck my tongue at him cause he didn't look at me the tell me why he takes 2 steps turns around looks me dead in the face and sticks his tongue at me then smiled. Basically he tellin me he saw me and don't worry. It was such a magical moment here i am thinkin' i'm going to a bomb concert w/ sucky seats and i end up on the floor right next to the end of the catwalk i never did go to the b-room!!!!!!!!!

OK, that's the end of my crowdsafe.com visit. If they allow reports like that in their database, then it's truly useless.
posted by rolypolyman at 1:20 PM on November 14, 2005

rolypolyman : "so during the concert i was screaming JC because he was next to me"

He was sitting right next to Jesus Christ, and yet is all excited about open seating?! Kids these days!
posted by Bugbread at 7:06 PM on November 14, 2005

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