A 3:47 AM tweet Sunday morning from The Killers succinctly wrapped up what had been a pretty rough night for all involved: “The crowd was electric. The venue was not.”
That tweet followed what had been a fantastic show by the band, which thankfully salvaged what apparently was a night marked with multiple failures by the venue – Laval, Quebec’s Place Bell, a 10,000 seat venue near Montreal. Fans faced major parking issues, an hour-plus wait at the entrance in sub-freezing temperatures, and then multiple power outages while the headliners performed.
The Montreal Gazette spoke with one concertgoer, who said the concert was the best she’s ever seen. But her evening included waiting in line in temperatures that reached as low as -35 C (that’s well below freezing in farenheit as well, for our U.S. readers) for well over an hour. “People were pushing and yelling,” Florence Imbeault told the Gazette. “People were freezing next to me.”
“I wasn’t dressed for it,” she added. “I never expected to wait an hour outside. My friend lent me her hat. People were trying to warm up together.”
She was among many who missed the opening act due to the delays. Once The Killers took the stage, the power cut out twice during their opening song. It then cut out another two times during the performance.
The crowd was electric. The venue was not. pic.twitter.com/co5wGZgHWt
— The Killers (@thekillers) January 7, 2018
The venue posted an apology on its Facebook page the afternoon following the debacle:
Last night, we were faced with different operational issues and we are aware of your discontent. We would like to apologize that the actions took were not to our fans’ expectations. All our decisions are always intended to ensure the well-being and safety of everyone. Be assured that we constantly strive to better your Place Bell experience.
One thing we haven’t been able to figure out is just what went wrong with the event entry. Calls and emails for explanation to both Place Bell and Evenko went unreturned, and no media coverage has said just why it took so long to get people in. Whether it was heightened security requirements, or system breakdown, or mobile ticketing delays, is impossible to know. All we do know is that the fan reaction has been strong, and many are saying they’ll never return to the venue, which just opened in 2017 and also hosts the Montreal Canadiens’ AHL affiliate.
“[It is] completely unacceptable to make people wait outside in –35 weather with wind chill when there was space inside,” said concert attendee Sam Hassin in a piece on CBC.ca.
“What bad organization. First and last time at Place Bell.”