Following the cancelation of Sunday’s entire Governors Ball lineup (headlined by Kanye West), it’s understandable people would be excited to see Kanye perform a makeup show in New York City — even one scheduled for 2 a.m. But the unruly scene that took place outside of Manhattan’s Webster Hall during the early hours of Monday, June 6 was an unfortunate reflection of a mostly young fan base thirsty to touch the hem of Yeezus’ garment at any cost.
Even before the around-the-block line devolved into a near riot situation, the crowd was functioning at troubling levels of carelessness. Every time the doors of Webster Hall opened to allow 20-or-so people entrance into the venue, the glut of fans waiting behind those allowed entrance immediately bum rushed forward with no regard for the safety of others. This happened at least six times. Every time the crowd blasted forward like an army regiment making a last-ditch effort at conquering an enemy stronghold, several people could be heard fruitlessly shouting warnings that someone would get injured or killed if the crowd didn’t ease up.
Regardless, it did little to mitigate the dangerously overcrowded line. Even when fans stopped rushing to the entrance, most hopeful concert-goers were trapped in a body-to-body sardine sarcophagus by approximately 1 a.m. Cars parked on the street were quickly turned into makeshift stages for fans attempting to incite pro-Kanye chants. By the time it became clear no one else was getting into Webster Hall by approximately 1:30 a.m, the crowd had taken over the entire block of 11th St. between 4th and 3rd Avenues (at that point blocked off by police), with chants of “Pablo!” and “Kanye!” and “Fuck Gov Ball!” drowning out the few, but heartfelt, pleas for calm.
Part of the problem was that people weren’t angry at missing out on the make-up show — they were simply unwilling to pass up the opportunity to be part of an “event.” Even as bodies were crushed against each other and a representative from Webster Hall shouted that the concert was canceled, exuberant early 20-somethings could be overheard asking “But is Kanye here yet?!” and “Did you see him?!” Similarly, others in attendance even copped to sticking around simply to see what might happen.
By 2 a.m., the hour when the aborted concert would have started, the chaos had subsided; a genial block party atmosphere replaced the cutthroat shoving and line-cutting of an hour earlier. By 3 a.m., the crowd had dispersed, with one person arrested for disorderly conduct.