Thanks to Wilco for putting on a heck of a show last night at the Adler. I'm no longtime fan, but I enjoy their music, and the tickets were cheap, so I decided to go. I'm certainly glad I did, and their opening act, Low, was just as good.
Unfortunately, the whole evening was nearly ruined by a fight that broke out, and the Adler's absolutely horrible response to it. During the second song of the encore, for whatever reason there was a fight near the stage along the aisle. Now, for those of you that don't know Wilco, it really isn't that type of concert. No mosh put, no crowd surfing, etc. At a typical professionally run concert, some sort of security or bouncers would have immediately escorted the fighters out of the theater.
Unfortunately, last night the fight was allowed to continue for several minutes, with someone clearly getting the worst of it. I could see one guy kneeling down and clearly punching downwards at someone already on the ground. People were yelling for security, and the band, while still playing, was looking very dismayed that nothing was being done. As soon as they finished the song, the band itself asked for some security up there. They had to be wondering what would happen if these two or three nuts decided to take that fight onto the stage. Literally the entire Adler was focused on this, and others in my group saw a guy with a bloody face. The best security response that seemed to show up was one of the 70-year old guys in top hats that hold the front doors open for people.
Somehow the fighters were finally removed, but it had completely killed the mood of the whole place. Wilco did the final song of their encore, and the concert let out. However, instead of talking about the great show, everyone was talking about the fight. Many of us were standing around outside talking on the sidewalk in front of the theater. Now, everyone knows that I rarely criticize the DPD, but they really made a bad situation worse last night. They were quite rude with people who were very harmlessly standing around talking after the concert. Had it not been for the fight, these crowds downtown would have been no issue. I'm sure the cops were using their typical experience where if they drive away from a mob, they'll just be called back there 2 minutes later for a fight. However, none of the Wilco concert goers except for the 2 or 3 involved idiots had any interest in fighting. We wouldn't have needed the 4 or 5 squad cars that were parked along 3rd street if 1 or 2 police officers had been present at the concert. It was a small fight, and would have been over in seconds if there had been any officers on hand to stop it.
A number of out of town people were at the concert, because it was the opening concert of their US tour, and one of their ONLY midwest stops. I heard of people coming from as far away as Minneapolis and Madison. Instead of leaving in a great mood after a great concert in a beautiful historic venue, people left talking about a terrible lack of security and overbearing police. The worst part is that this isn't even the first time. There was also a fight at folk singer John Prine's concert last March. Reading some online reviews of that concert gives mixed opinions on whether the problem was quickly taken care of, or there was a similar lack of security.
Please, folks in charge of the Adler, and city officials.... get some serious security at these concerts. Don't just assume that because its peaceful indie rock folks that 2 jackasses won't ruin it for everyone. And DPD, maybe next time try not to treat said peaceful indie rock fans like a violent mob when they're standing around harmlessly on downtown sidewalks and plazas.
Here's Wilco's tour list, which shows us among a very impressive list of cities around the world. I wouldn't expect us to continue getting quality acts like this if things aren't changed at the Adler.
Here's a forum where people are already reviewing the show. Surfing around this forum has shown me that people were in town from all over the US for the concert.