When Chris Brown took the stage last Friday (July 15) for the “Today” show’s Summer Concert Series, few expected that his performance would trigger a record turnout of a reported 18,000-plus fans — not even his team.
“We didn’t expect such a crowd,” Tina Davis, Chris Brown‘s manager, tells Billboard. “We just looked forward to Chris turning in a great performance. That’s all we really hoped for.”
Chris Brown Draws 18,000 Fans to ‘Today’ Show Concert: Watch
Davis and Jive label sources say that nothing out of the ordinary was done in advance to promote Brown’s appearance. And like Brown’s team, NBC — who had no reservations in booking the singer, despite his outburst on “Good Morning America” last March — did not make any extra efforts to publicize Brown’s performance.
“We did not do anything different from any other artists that perform on our show,” NBC News Senior Entertainment Producer Melissa Lonner tells Billboard. “We promoted his concert at the series announcement in early May and then the week leading up to the concert on the show and on our websites.”
Video: Chris Brown performs “Forever” on Today Show, 7/15/2011
According to Lonner, the “Today” security team estimated that the turnout was the largest ever for the show, “based on the coverage of the plaza and the streets.”
Brown himself tweeted photos of fans who began waiting in line two days before his concert; Davis said she was told that fans started camping out as early as Wednesday. She also said the NYPD was so concerned about fans rushing the stage that Brown wasn’t able to rehearse beforehand, and that a planned catwalk on which he was set to perform was also taken down before the show.
Brown was heavily criticized for his last morning show appearance, on “Good Morning America” in March. His visit ended with him storming out of the studio and breaking a window after co-host Robin Roberts asked him several questions about his 2009 assault on Rihanna. But Lonner said the “Today” show staff was not worried.
“Chris made his first television appearance on the ‘Today’ show about five years ago and we wanted him back as part of our summer series. He is an incredible performer and he has hit songs. There were no concerns.”
Video: Chris Brown performs “Yeah 3X” on Today Show, 7/15/2011