Tom Petty & The Heartbroken Fans

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ Saturday show at The Fonda in Los Angeles ended on a sour note, thanks to the fire marshal shutting down the gig early because of capacity issues on the venue’s floor.

Saturday’s show was the fourth of a six-night run at The Fonda. Petty’s final gig at the 1,300-capacity venue is scheduled June 11.

The June 8 gig reportedly ended about 90 minutes into the set. A fan told Fox News’ Pop Tarts the show was supposed to take place 9 to 11:15 p.m.

“It was disappointing. … We thought they were kidding when we got told we had to leave,” the fan said.

Photo: Chris McKay /
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Charlotte, N.C.

Petty broke the news to fans that there was a problem a little after 10:30 p.m., according to the Los Angeles Times. The paper reports that city officials warned management the show would end early unless “about 100” people moved from the floor up to the balcony or left the concert. Rolling Stone notes that Petty jokingly asked if anyone wanted to volunteer to give up their spot on the floor, and that some of his bandmates raised their hands.

The Hearbreakers played one more song while Petty got more information from the side of the stage during an instrumental break, according to the LA Times. After the last note of “Melinda,” Petty told fans, “We’re being told we have to go,” according to Rolling Stone.   

After the house lights came back on, fans reacted with boos.

The Los Angeles Times reporter attended Petty’s June 3 gig at the venue as well as Saturday’s show. He writes that “the Fonda was noticeably more crammed” Saturday and that before Petty told fans about the capacity issue on the floor, “fire officials had started preventing those already inside the building from entering the theater itself.”

When Petty and the band took the stage again at The Fonda on Sunday, the rocker addressed the previous night’s debacle.

“If it has to come out of my own pocket everyone will get reimbursed,” Petty said, according to Fox News.

Petty also posted a statement on his website Sunday.   

“First and foremost, the safety of our fans is our primary concern and the most important consideration. To those fans who attended last night’s show at the Fonda Theatre, we are as frustrated as you are!

“While we are still investigating exactly what happened we do know the following as of right now:

“1) The number of tickets sold was NOT above the legal capacity of the building. The venue and Ticketmaster documentation confirms this.

“2) The Fire Marshal decided that the number of people on the floor (as opposed to on the upstairs balcony or terrace) was unsafe.

“Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and our representatives rely on the concert promoter and venue representatives to give us an accurate breakdown of the legal capacity for every part of the building and to provide security and other staff to enforce this.

“We are still investigating all details of last night’s situation and will keep you informed.

“The shows at the Fonda tonight and Tuesday will go ahead as planned and we are working with the venue, the promoter and the Fire Marshal to ensure that this problem will not repeat itself.

“We thank you for your support.”

A representative for Goldenvoice, which operates The Fonda, told Pollstar that the promoter had not put out a statement of its own.