a short Green Day piece reminded me that I was born too late for rock's "dangerous" era


Author:Mark
Date:2019-09-09 20:08:49
Edited:2019-09-09 20:11:24
Views:77
The Green Day riot at the Hatch Shell was 25 years ago Today (September 9, 1994)
https://www.universalhub.com/2019/green-day-riot-esplanade-25-years-ago-today

Universal Hub proclaimed:

WFNX got Snapple to sponsor the concert - and they gave out thousands of bottles of juice. Glass bottles. As one reporter concluded: "Small mobs of punk rock fans roaming Boston's Back Bay looking for action."
From the comments:
This segment portrays the end of the show as more abrupt, but I remember that the band had stopped several times over ~15 minutes, with Billie Joe warning that the crowd was crushing people in the front, and they would have to stop the show for safety reasons if they didn't move back. After about a half-dozen warnings/stoppages, they finally had to end the show. People up-front may have been too caught-up with things to hear the warnings, so I can understand if it seemed more abrupt, though.
The whole "riot" thing seemed a bit of an exaggeration by the news.
first song started and we were off
arms wide, pushing back into the crowd to make some room and we started beating each other up like idiots
this was before Hot Topic so most of the audience in our area didnt know this was the norm and thought we were fighting, jocks pushed back, some prep grabbed a punk girls ass, fists flew, then it was off to the races
it was a total blur
they had just played a night or two before on the mtv music awards and they were blowing up. im not a big fan but at that very moment they were the biggest band on the planet. when wfnx booked them a few moths earlier they were not such a big deal.

anyway,the band started playing, kids started moshing, and the cops started freaking out. someone had a huge blanket and a small young lady laid in the middle and the crowd holding the blanket were flipping her up in the air like she was on a trampoline. the cops looked confused and mad. a handful of state police waded into the pit and started smashing kids in the head with clubs/flashlights and dragging them away in cuffs. they didn't know who to grab so they were just grabbing the nearest kid they could and smashing him over the head.

i was near the front and saw all of this happening, i did my very best not to make eye contact with any of the troopers because they were scaring me a little bit. some cops went onstage and i think one of them pulled the plug and the music stopped. the band seemed upset and confused. i think they tried to restart and the cops were having none of that. that's when the bottles started flying. i think it was a snapple promotion so they (brilliantly) had given everyone glass bottles of snapple. bad idea. the kids in the back were trying to throw bottles at the cops who were gathered around the front of the stage. the bottles weren't making it that far and kids near the front were getting pelted by bottles from behind.

the cops were picking random kids, dragging them up over the guardrails, clubbing them over their heads, cuffing them, and throwing them in the wagon. it was way over the top. eventually kids started moving away from the front to get away from the police and the flying bottles. the cops waited a bit then formed a line of mounted police. all the other cops locked arms and got behind the horses. then they moved toward the crowd. if you didnt get out of the way you were either going to get trampled by horses and cracked by a Statie. it was time to go home.
As many shows as I've been too, all of them have been in recent decades. Everything has calmed down. Sure there are fights at shows still, but I think we all agree that things on the whole have been pretty tame since the early 1990s. I've never been present for an event that became permanent in the cultural memory, or at least national news, like the above Green Day riot, about which I heard plenty of entertaining second-hand stories over a decade later when I moved to Boston. I remember watching MTV stories about Woodstock 99 and thinking, "oof".

I can only remember a couple of shows that were actually stopped mid-show for any reason, and they were pretty mild. One was the Haken-Thank You Scientist tour in 2016 where the power went out and they made everyone go outside while they figured it out. Thank You Scientist, seeing their set time slip away, were invited to play a set at some kid's basement nearby. Haken eventually went on a little after midnight at the venue.

Back in 2001-ish, I was at a hardcore show, Cold As Life, in Detroit where a substantive brawl broke out. Band members were threatening to stab someone in the audience and one of the main speaker towers almost got pushed over. A random guy pepper sprayed someone else for some reason. When I was trying to leave someone got flung down the staircase and I had to dodge out of the way, then I had to stop on the staircase because someone was smashing a chair over someone else's head at the bottom of the stairs. This however did not make any news, not even local, that I was aware of.

In 1997 I went to a Rolling Stones concert, I think at the Palace of Auburn Hills, and someone fell out of the balcony and died. Only a few people who were right there knew and the band didn't stop because they didn't know. It was briefly reported on the radio the next day.

Anyway, if you've ever been at a show that turned into a meltdown, either "back in the day" or recently, tell the story.
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