Metallica Faces Opposition To Philly Show

Councilman says residents have concerns about playing host to a massive concert.

No sooner had Metallica chosen a parking lot in Philadelphia as the venue of

choice for their free Veteran's Day concert than some city officials and local

residents started grumbling about the heavy metal hordes expected to swarm

their neighborhoods.

"The issue is of bringing a large number of people into the area, during a

weekday, in an area that's inundated with this kind of activity during the course

of the year," said Philadelphia Councilman-at-large James Kenney about the

city's reaction to the Metallica show, expected to draw tens of thousands to

downtown Philadelphia's CoreState Complex parking lot for a free gig.

Kenney said residents were concerned with safety, noise and security

issues similar to those they dealt with three years ago when Lollapalooza

played the lot. Back then, he said, many of the 15,000 fans who came early

camped out in the park and "kids being kids, used alcohol, drugs, urinated in

the lawns... When you bring 40,000 people together at an event like that people

are going to misbehave."

Some residents view the event next Tuesday, Kenney said, as just another assault on

the estimated 13,000 middle-class families who reside near Packer Park and

Veteran's Stadium, where football's Eagles, baseball's Phillies and hockey's

Flyers play. With Metallica looking to do a massive free show in support of their

soon-to-be-released album Reload (Nov. 18) in the CoreStates Complex

lot, the neighborhoods are beginning to feel they are being invaded, he added.

"As a result of where these people live," Kenney said, "they have to deal with

the 70,000-or-so Eagles fans eight Sundays a year, Phillies fans, Flyers fans,

rock concerts and basically this proposed event has been plopped down in the

middle of the parking lot without any consultation with anybody. It basically

winds up being another event these people have to deal with."

A spokesperson for the band, who preferred not to be named, said Metallica is

looking into the residents' concerns. "I believe we're taking steps to assuage

the councilman's fears," the spokesman said.

Because the lot is

privately owned, little can be done to force the show's cancellation, Kenney

explained. "They can go ahead and force the issue and have it," he said. "We can't stop

them by any legal means. But the people who are doing this, [Electric Factory

Concerts] and CoreStates Center, will have a different relationship with elected

officials in the future because of it."

Electric Factory Concerts (EFC), the event's producer, referred all questions

about how the organizers plan to deal with the concerns to Ike Richman,

spokesperson for CoreStates Center. "All of our plans for that concert will be

announced tomorrow," Richman said Wednesday evening. He would not

elaborate on the venue's sanitation or security arrangements.

The unorthodox location was picked by rock fans whose suggestions were

solicited by Metallica after the Bay Area-based quartet claimed they had been

turned down numerous times in their quest to perform a free outdoor show as a

way to promote their follow-up to 1996's Load.

As far as he knew, Kenney said, Electric Factory representatives had one

discussion with city officials, who said they preferred to pass on the event and

suggested EFC find another city.

However, according to the band's co-manager Cliff Burnstein, Philadelphia is an

ideal city for Metallica to play, since it contains a healthy core of their audience.

The group's 1991 "Black" album, officially titled Metallica, sold 250,000

copies in that city, he told Addicted To Noise on Tuesday evening, before Kenney's concerns had surfaced. Burnstein added that the group plans to play some new

material during the "stripped down" performance.

Burnstein said that the group were excited playing the free show. "[They can] do something for their fans and kick off an album release," he said. "It's the best possible thing they could do, from their perspective."

The CoreStates Complex is made up of Veteran's Stadium and the Spectrum

and has been designed to handle high volumes of fans on a regular basis. In

fact, the night before the Metallica concert, the mostly-reunited Jane's Addiction

is scheduled to play the Spectrum and there will be an Eagles game across the

street at Veteran's Stadium.

Peter Brown, a resident of South Philadelphia, who said he only read about the

show on Wednesday, in a story buried in the Philadelphia Inquirer, said,

"My only feeling was, 'they must be pretty fucking nuts to play outside when it's

this cold.' "

Brown, a musician, said he had no concerns about sanitation or

security, adding, "It's down there by the stadium, stuff goes on there all the time."

Kenney, who said he found out about the concert through an announcement on

local rock station WYSP, which lobbied heavily for the show, emphasized that

Metallica wasn't the issue. "If it was Garth Brooks I'd feel the same way," the

councilman said.

"It's a matter of having the concert outdoors, during the week, without any

consultation or coordination with the neighbors or city officials," he added. "I

don't want people to think it's Metallica itself."

Metallica, naturally, have a different perspective. "We set it up so we could accommodate as many people as show up," explained Burnstein. "The ones who come will be the ones who want to come and they'll be treated to an hour and a half of music, for nothing. Everyone is a winner..."

(Staff Writer Chris Nelson and Randy Reiss

contributed to this report.)

[Wed., Nov. 5, 1997, 6:00 p.m. PST]