Pioneering thrash-metal band Metallica was set to make its first-ever live appearance in India Friday but cancelled due to apparent safety concerns, prompting a near-riot and arrests of the concert's promoters.
A full 25,000 tickets were sold in advance of Friday's scheduled show in the New Delhi neighborhood of Guragon. YouTube video shows fans rushing to the stage as arena doors opened Friday at concert grounds in Delhi. Fans pushed and jockeyed for position, causing structural damage to the barrier in front of the stage, eventually driving the barrier to bursting.
A mere two hours before the concert was set to go off, an announcement was issued: “We regret to announce that due to technical difficulties the Metallica show at Gurgaon has been postponed until Saturday. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. If there is a cancellation, the ticket amount will be refunded,” a statement from promoters DNA Entertainment Networks read.
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The announcement was met with anger, apparently in part because Metallica was addressing a press conference at the time. Fans rushed the stage and damaged equipment, video showed. Some tried to set fire to banners. But the fervor never fully took hold, and most fans stayed calm and exited the venue when asked.
A statement on the band's website attempted to explain the cancellation, stating, "we were notified that there was a serious question as to whether the show could proceed with regard to the safety of the concert audience." The statement also says DNA tried but failed to get a permit to move the concert to Saturday.
DNA said it would issue full refunds for the 25,000 tickets sold. Police arrested four DNA representatives, including one senior executive, according to an Indian news agency. Police are quoted as saying organizers didn't take the district administration into confidence, not providing a solid enough reason for canceling the gig.
Metallica recently released Lulu, a collaboration with Velvet Underground member and general rock legend Lou Reed. Lulu has been met with near-universal critical disdain. A crowd of 25,000 actually tips on the smaller side of Metallica shows: the band played to as many as 1.6 million at 1991's Monsters of Rock festival in Moscow.
Metallica came up through the club scene of '80s Los Angeles, breaking to commercial success with its self-titled fifth album.