Despite the successful gig in Bengaluru, the bitter aftertaste of the band’s Gurgaon fiasco lingers. Where exactly did matters go haywire? Anita Iyer explores
Just when we thought Bryan Adams’ cancelled concert in February this year was a huge jolt for the live music scene in India, heavy metal band Metallica’s last minute cancellation of its Gurgaon concert reared its ugly head.
The common factors in both shows – the host city which is incidentally the country’s capital, and allegedly inadequate security requirements. Event organisers DNA Networks who have been incommunicado ever since – have received brickbats from everyone – disgruntled fans, police, music industry honchos and anybody interested in the live scene, all because the barricades that came off before the event.
But as the dust around the chaos begun to settle a week later, questions arise. Investigations by Sound Box reveal that the guilt for what happened in Gurgaon will probably have to be shared by more than one party.
The organisers do need to take the blame for what went wrong on the ticketing side, the security agencies faulted on the role they had to play, the attendees need to accept that rowdy behaviour cost them not just one gig but probably a host of potential international acts in the country. Lastly, the band itself cannot be exonerated if they panicked after having themselves asked for a lesser barricade a day prior to the event.
How it unfolded
Many had marked 28 October as their date with the Gods of Metal. But what could have been the American heavy metal band’s debut performance in India, was reduced to chaos as the show stood cancelled.
Enthusiasm was replaced by aggression at the Leisure Valley Grounds, Gurgaon as some inebriated elements within the crowd stormed through broken barricades strewing equipments on the stage. What triggered the chaos were the organisers’ announcement that the concert was postponed to the next day following “technical difficulties.” Which gave the impression that, probably the organisers had not met the technical riders, which the band had asked for. But that was far from true.
Sound Box managed to talk to the company in charge of providing technical support at the Gurgaon concert. Modern Stage Services was responsible for providing lights; video and most importantly sound equipments on that fateful day. Director of Modern Stage Services, Davinder Wadhwa clarifies that there were no technical glitches and that they fulfilled all the riders asked by Metallica.
“The lighting, sound and video system was approved by the Metallica team a day before the concert. Our talks with Metallica team started four months ago and we even bought some equipment to meet their requirements. A day prior to the gig, the band’s sound engineer mentioned that the sound system was up to the mark, so there were certainly no technical glitches.”
Wadhwa says he incurred a loss of Rs 1.5 crore as the unruly crowd smashed the equipments after hearing about the show being cancelled. “16 moving heads, 20 speakers, one LED wall were smashed. Some of the infrastructure at the venue belonged to Metallica and they also incurred huge loss as they lost monitors, mics and musical instruments.” Wadhwa was paid an advance of 10-15 per cent and is awaiting full payment from DNA Networks.
Apparently, the Metallica team had forewarned the organisers that they would not compromise in terms of security.
Well placed sources told Sound Box that, in its initial plan, DNA Networks had asked Delhi Tents and Decorators to go ahead with two lines of barricade. However, “One day before the show, the Metallica team was finalising locations for their camera setup and they made the organisers remove one line of barricades as these were obstructing the view of the camera. These cameramen had flown in from Germany to shoot the event and a niche had to be created for their trolley,” say sources, wishing anonymity.
A source from the company assigned to put up the barricades gives another account of the incident but insists that it was Metallica who wanted one line of barricade removed. He says, “We had set up two sets of barricades at the venue as it is needed to control the 25,000 crowd expected to gather the next day. However, on the night of 27 October, the band asked us to remove one line of barricades as they wanted fans to come closer to the stage.”