Lupe Fiasco’s Mar. 5 performance was “the roughest show” Bridges Auditorium has ever seen, said auditorium manager Kurt Beardsley.
The concert, which sold out just 16 days after ticket sales began, was the kick-off for Fiasco’s 2010 Steppin’ Laser Tour. It started at 8:30 p.m. and ran until midnight.
Seating was assigned, but the crowd moved to the front rows and the pit almost immediately after the concert began. The show’s opening acts were hip-hop artists Anthem and B.o.B., also known as Bobby Ray, who has recently garnered attention for his hit single “Nothing on You.”
Lupe performed some of his older, more well-known tracks, such as “Superstar” and “Solar Midnite,” as well as some newer songs.
ASPC President Jed Cullen said there was some initial concern about how Big Bridges, which is normally used for a capella and theatrical performances, would function as a venue for a major artist like Fiasco. Indeed, Bridges Auditorium manager confirmed that the large and excited crowd was difficult to keep under control.
“Folks wanted to start a fight,” Beardsley said. “The audience for Ludacris wasn’t as rough.”
“Girls were back here offering sexual favors to my guys,” he continued. “There were guys up front offering sexual favors to the box office staff…We had some guy trying to pick a fight with me.”
He added the security presence was barely enough to cover the amount of activity going on in the theater. There were over 45 people “hanging out” backstage.
“We had a lot of guys here,” he said. “This was just everybody partied up before they got here. It just turned out to be a little overwhelming at times.”
Beardsley said he found at least 20 marijuana cigarettes on the theater floor after the show. Bridges also suffered some damage at the hands of the unusually large crowd.
“We had 2,500 people in here and they were just brutal on the building…It was trashed” said Beardsley.
According to an e-mail from Neil Gerard, concert-goers left behind 62 broken seats; Beardsley added he found a sticky tar-like substance on many of the seats. The breakages, Gerard said, were most likely a result of students standing and dancing on these seats. A wall light was also broken and an exit door ripped off its hinges.
The concert was generally well-received by its audience. Nicola Parisi PO ’12 said she thought the concert helped bring students together in an “invigorating” way.
“It was really cool…to look up and see the way [people] vibe[d] with it,” she said. “I just saw hundreds of hands. [I saw] that unity.”
Beardsley agreed that the performance itself was great.
“Every other hip-hop guy we’ve had through here usually has a 45 minute set, tops, and then they’re out of material. He played for an hour and a half,” he said, adding the opening acts played long sets as well. “Students totally got their money’s worth.”
Cullen said the ASPC will likely continue to use Bridges Auditorium as a venue for these kinds of concerts.
“Given the amount of people we could get in there…it served reasonably well,” Cullen said. “I think we should continue to get high-performing artists…We should continue to try to sell out that venue.”