AC/DC - Salt Lake City Tragedy
On January 18, 1991, a terrible tragedy occurred during the "AC/DC" performance at Salt Lake City.
(Photo: Ultimate Classic Rock)
In a performance held at the "Salt Palace", three spectators were crushed to death when the roaring audience rushed forward toward the stage, right at the opening of the performance.
A hall capable of accommodating 13,920 people sold 13,294 tickets, of which about 4,000 tickets were sold with no marked seats, all in the front stage area.
At the first notes of the song "Thunderstruck" which opened the show, the audience rushed forward toward the stage, crushing three fans to death on their way: Jimmy Boyd and Curtis Child who were only 14 years old died immediately, while and a 19-year-old Elizabeth Glausi died few days after the incident when parents asked to cut her off from the breathing machine she was connected to after it was clarified that she was in a state of brain death.
The band members were not at all aware of the tragedy that took place at the front of the stage. They only became aware of the incident after playing three more songs: "Shoot to Thrill", "Back in Black" and "Fire Your Guns".
As soon as they learned of the tragedy, Brian Johnson turned to the audience and asked them to take a step back.
In a completely unclear move, the band decided to continue playing an entire set of the show, after a short break during which the casualties were evacuated from the hall. The band later suffered harsh criticism. They explained their decision by saying that the security asked them to continue to play to avoid a major riot among the crowd resulting in further casualties.
Unfortunately, tragedies like the one that happened in Salt Lake City happened in the past, but no lesson was learned. One of the first known tragedies happened during "The Rolling Stones" performance in California in 1969, where 4 people were dead.
Another known tragedy occurred during a live performance of "The Who", held in Cincinnati in 1979, during which 11 fans were killed. Another one happened during the "Woodstock 1999" festival where 3 people were killed. The list of tragedies continues with the "Pearl Jam" show in Denmark in June 2000, where 9 people were crushed to death. And there is the "Korn" performance in Atlanta Georgia where one person lost his life and the "Motorhead" show held in 2010 where also one person was dead.
Here in Israel, too, the lesson has not been learned and it's enough to mention the "Arad" tragedy that occurred during the "Mashina" show at the "Arad Festival" held on July 18, 1995, during which 3 young people were killed.
Of course, the terrible tragedies that occurred during the "AC/DC" show led to many lawsuits against the band and the organizers, including a lawsuit by the parents of one of the lost children for 8 million Dollars. All claims ended in a settlement out of court.