|Los Angeles Times, July 22, 1987
By Randy Lewis:
The only hint of danger at the Run-D.M.C./Beastie Boys concert Saturday night at the Pacific Amphitheatre was the frenzy of fans rushing to the souvenir stands. The rambunctious teens weren't trying to cause trouble; they just had to have those $5 posters, $16 T-shirts and $27 sweat shirts. So gang 'way!
The Pacific in Costa Mesa is less than 20 miles from the Long Beach Arena, where more than 40 people were injured last August when gang-related violence erupted at Run-D.M.C.'s show there. Even though that was an isolated incident in a lengthy tour, the fallout still dogs the group. Neither the media nor pop fans can shake the memory of that night.
There was extra security on hand Saturday, but not nearly as highly profiled as the mounted police with riot helmets that stood on alert outside the Run-D.M.C./Beastie Boys concert Monday in Portland, Ore. At the Pacific, a dozen uniformed police officers and a beefed-up corps of private security guards watched as the orderly fans passed through eight airport-styled metal detectors on their way into the amphitheatre.
Yet, unlike the anti-authoritarian attitude associated over the years with rock audiences, most fans interviewed had no objections to the security measures. Few even grumbled when the line was slowed down as metal detector warning lights were set off by such harmless items the foil wrapper in a pack of cigarette and, in one case, a woman's orthodontic gear.
"All this security is a big plus," said a Long Beach teenager who attended the show with two friends. "I feel comfortable knowing nobody is going to knife me or shoot me." That residual tension which was echoed by numerous fans, many of whom were already wearing their souvenir T-shirts may have hurt attendance.
Even without considering Run-D.M.C.'s sizable drawing power, the Beastie Boys-whose debut album has sold more than 3 million copies since late last year-would figure to fill most of the 18,700-capacity facility. Yet Saturday's crowd was only approximately 11,000.
Lyor Cohen, of Rush Productions, which packaged the Run-D.M.C./Beasties dates, blamed the tension from last year's show for slowing ticket sales on the tour, which was scheduled to begin a four-night run Sunday at the Greek Theatre. And the preoccupation with potential violence wasn't lost on the members of the two New York rap groups.
Between songs near the end of Run D.M.C.'s hour-long performance, rapper Run (Joseph Simmons) asked the audience in a tone of both relief and triumph: "What happened to the violence we heard about? I see white people right here and black people right there-I don't see any racial tensions. . . . I just see a lot of party people."
Compared to the almost exclusively white suburban audience at the Pacific last weekend to see Huey Lewis & the News, Saturday's crowd was much more ethnically diverse: equal parts black, white and Hispanic. Although the age range of the was predominantly 13 to 23, there was also a small, but noticeable number of younger children who were accompanied by their parents.
"It's a melting pot, bro' " said Boysie Goolcharan, a black teenager from Norwalk. "Everybody can get along together."
Except for the dozens of fans who either wore baseball caps--many of them turned backwards Beastie Boy-style--or shiny jogging suits in the manner of Run-D.M.C., the audience attire reflected the same jeans/T-shirt informality that you'd find at a typical rock show.
Most of the two dozen fans interviewed expressed some uneasiness about attending the concert, but all seemed at ease once the show started. Some of the Beasties fans, however, understand why parents could become alarmed by the rap trio's bratty Bowery Boys attitude.
"They're kind of rowdy," said Chris Costlow, 15, of Huntington Beach, adding that he pictures the band members as "always getting into trouble and getting in fights."
Yet most of those questioned see humor rather than provocation in the Beasties, whose beer-spewing, crotch-grabbing, expletive-hurling antics can be viewed as rock's answer to the bombast comedy of primal screamer Sam Kinison.
Said Paul Cassady, 31, of Newport Beach, about the Beasties: "I think they are just crazy."
But Cassady, who was at the concert to chaperon an 11-year-old, didn't see the rap trio as any bad influence. "I'm not at all worried (about the impact on young people). They're cool. Some of the things I went to when I was young were a lot worse than this . . . like Grand Funk Railroad and Cream."