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
"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
"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]