This is what the Philadelphia Daily News reported about the Free Concert

Banging heads
Comcast in court to halt Metallica concert

by Julie Knipe Brown
and Gloria Campisi
Daily News Staff Writers

Thousands of Metallica fans yesterday snapped up free concert tickets with the verve of jackhammering guitarists as lawyers cranked up a court appeal aimed at blocking tomorrow's South Philadelphia concert.

Lawyers for Comcast-Spectacor, the company that owns the CoreStates Complex, yesterday appealed Saturday's federal court ruling that ordered the heavy-metal show to go on.

The outdoor concert, scheduled for 3 p.m. in the CoreStates Center parking lot, is expected to draw 40,000 people.

Meanwhile, as the showdown nears, another controversy is brewing about the number of tickets distributed, how they were distributed -- and whether they needed to be distributed at all.

Fans lined up outside Tower Records in Northeast and South Philadelphia, Cherry Hill and King of Prussia hoping to score the free tickets.

"It was chaos," said Bridget Breslin, manager at Tower Records on South Street in Philadelphia, where fans wiped out the supply of 2,500 tickets in two hours.

Only two tickets were given to each person, through a few selected ticket outlets.

"We had people with babies in carriages trying to get us to count the babies as a person so they could get a couple of extra tickets," said Breslin.

Many metalheads, frustrated by their inability to lay their hands on the coveted ducats, vowed to make the pilgrimage to South Philly with or without a ticket.

It was a prospect that seemed to confirm some neighborhood leaders' worst fears -- that the freebie concert will turn into a headbanger riot.

"How can we get tickets before the concert if I live in . . . Atlanta?" raged one fan on a Metallica Internet site.

Other Metallica fans, in messages filled with obscenities, urged fellow headbangers to unite.

"I say if this . . . gets canceled, we show up anyway. This is Philadelphia, birthplace of freedom in the USA, Who the . . . are they to say we can't rock?" said one on-line fan.

In the face of the hoopla, representatives for the band yesterday doubted that Metallica fans were getting their fair share of tickets.

Metallica attorney Barry Ungar said it was "very unlikely" that 40,000 tickets were distributed yesterday. He added the tickets were distributed without consulting the band.

CoreStates Center officials refused to say how many tickets were distributed.

"All the tickets authorized by the band were released -- period," said Comcast-Spectacor attorney Phil Weinberg.

It was not immediately clear when yesterday's appeal would be heard.

In the appeal, Comcast-Spectacor challenges U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III's decision ordering Comcast-Spectacor to honor an oral agreement with the band to host the event.

"The judge wrote a contract from the bench. That's not what he's supposed to do," Weinberg said.

Though a date has been set for the concert, Comcast-Spectacor argued in court that they had the right to call off the show because they had never formalized the agreement and key issues, including security and insurance for the event.

But Metallica attorneys claimed equipment trucks had already departed for Philadelphia. They said Comcast was simply bowing to public and political pressure against the event.

"They caved, that's what happened. At the last minute, we had the trucks on their way, CoreStates did an about-face," Ungar said.

In court, CoreStates Complex President Peter Luukko said he feared the large crowd flocking to the free event could turn the arena's parking lot into the "site of a riot."

After local politicians and people who live near the complex protested, he attempted to move the event indoors to the CoreStates Spectrum, a smaller venue.

That's when Metallica took arena officials to court, winning the first round over the weekend.

The concert apparently caught both city officials and residents by surprise when it was announced by the band's record company, Elektra, on Tuesday.

Mayor Rendell's office stepped in at that point, to ensure that the bill for security, traffic and extra police was picked up by concert organizers, not the city.

But those assurances didn't molify two South Philadelphia community groups and several City Council members, who threatened to seek an injunction against the concert, claiming arena officials failed to adequately plan for the the event.

They expressed concern that the Veteran's Day event, scheduled just hours before a Flyers' game at the same arena, would make their lives unbearable.

"I don't want to minimize the residents' concerns. Their concerns are legitimate about any event like this," Ungar said.

"But, unfortunately, they happen to live near that complex. The band got targeted as a victim of the accumulation of discontent."

If the latest court action fails to kill the concert, several local politicians vow to challenge the event on other grounds, including whether the parking lot is zoned for such activity.

"If these people are hellbent on forcing this on the community, then they should be prepared to respond to any negative outbursts or property damage," said City Councilman James Kenney.

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