Metallica was singing the glories of good old Philadelphia freedom today as a federal judge denied a motion to prevent the speed-metal band from holding a free concert in the City of Brotherly Love on Tuesday.
U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals Judge R. L. Nygaard this afternoon ruled against the CoreStates Complex, which had filed a motion Sunday to bar the band from holding what it has dubbed its "Multi-Million Decibel March" in the parking lot of the CoreStates Center in South Philadelphia at 3 p.m.
Although CoreStates originally welcomed the mega-successful pioneers of speed metal, they reversed course after coming under fire from the city council and area residents who raised concerns about safety, security and noise issues, citing previous outdoor live shows which they said caused disruptions and vandalism.
"It's a go -- it's very, very, very exhilarating," said Tim Sabean,
operations manager of concert sponsor WYSP-FM, which had lobbied the band
to host the show. "When you sit down and think about it, it's pretty
awesome that the fans and the radio station were able to bring Metallica to
The free concert, which was organized to promote the band's soon-to-be-released album Reload (Nov. 18), is expected to draw at least 40,000 fans and be broadcast on radio stations throughout the United States, Japan and Europe.
Metallica took their battle to perform in the CoreStates Center parking lot to U.S. District Court on Saturday, after the venue attempted late last week to move the concert indoors to the 18,000-seat CoreStates Spectrum arena. Judge Harvey Bartle ruled then that an oral contract between the band and CoreStates was
binding, and that canceling the show would cause "irreparable harm"
to Metallica by hindering their strategy to promote Re-Load, their
seventh studio album.
"God bless America's judicial system," Metallica guitarist James
Hetfield said in a statement. "It proves that even Metallica can get a
fair hearing if you have a reasonable argument."
In his ruling, Bartle also ordered Metallica to meet certain conditions by noon today, including arrangement for insurance for the event as well as payment for rent, security and clean-up. CoreStates responded to the ruling by filing an 11th-hour appeal in U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Lawyers argued that Bartle overstepped his authority by effectively writing a contract for the event with his ruling.
Bridget Breslin, manager of Tower Records on South Street, said she
was only made aware that her store would be distributing tickets two
hours before they were available. Three thousand people showed up
at the store; 1,200 were given two tickets each before TicketMaster
registered the event as "sold-out."
"People were coming in asking about it all night, and people have
been calling about it this morning," Breslin said Monday. "There's
people outside waiting right now, hoping that they'll go 'on sale' again
at noon, but we don't know anything about that."
Metallica has called a press conference for 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday.-- Chris Nelson
[Mon., Nov. 10, 1997, 4 p.m. PDT]