First Free Bizkit Gig Goes Off Without A Hitch
Several hundred fans spent the night in line at Detroit’s State Theatre so they would be assured wristbands for one of the two shows. The well-behaved crowd was treated to a visit from Limp Bizkit members, who dropped by early on July 11 to hand out bottled water and sign autographs.
Wristband distribution began the morning of the first show and continued at a leisurely pace throughout the day. The crowd was gone long before the start of the concert and venue officials said all the fans who showed up were accommodated.
Since the giveaway announcement did not come right before showtime, there was no last-minute crunch or volatile mob scene.
The rowdy crowds predicted to swarm the “first-come, first served” event never materialized, thanks in part to local media reports that mistakenly said 10,000 people were camping out at the venue box office.
“The media scared everyone off,” State Theatre General Manager Joe Nieporte said. “I wouldn’t have come down either.”
Those who did queue up benefitted from a little friendly competition between radio stations.
“WRIF and 98X – the alternative station and the active rock station in the market – really came to the party,” Limp Bizkit manager Peter Katsis told Pollstar. “They were really trying to outdo each other.”
The radio stations gave away a variety of goodies from snacks to T-shirts. “By the time the MTV crew showed up in the morning (July 11), the kids were chanting, ‘More free shit, more free shit,'” Katsis said.
The last of the wristbands were handed out later that day and the show, which also featured Cypress Hill and Detroit’s own Broadzilla, happened without incident.
Detroit newspapers reported that fights broke out on the venue floor, but Katsis said he didn’t see any altercations and no one was ejected from the building.
“It was really smooth,” he said. There might be a few production issues we need to deal with. We might move some lights, but that’s about it. The show itself was great and we didn’t experience any problems. It was a real bonding experience for the band and the fans.”
He said the system for distributing wristbands will probably stay the same throughout the tour.
“We’re pretty happy with the plan we developed. We’re prepared and the venue is prepared, and everything has moved along as expected. Scalpers are not going to have kids wait in line for the wrist bands. It’s quite a process you have to go through to get them. It’s going to be Limp Bizkit fans; it’s going to be what the band wanted.”
The Back To Basics tour plays a second night in Detroit July 12 and then moves to The Palladium in Worcester, Mass., for shows July 14 and 15. Limp Bizkit’s camp told Pollstar more dates and venues are expected to be confirmed shortly.