By Serj Tankian
Labor Day weekend Sept. 3rd, 2001
KROQ FREE SHOW FEATURING
SYSTEM OF A DOWN
3,000-4,000 people were expected to attend this free Kroq show featuring System and 10,000 showed up. The venue and security were not prepared adequately for such a show of heads.
Barricades came down early before the band was scheduled to play. The streets were overwhelmed with bodies outside of the venue, and got closed off.
The police got weary of the situation and along with the Fire Marshal called off the show before the band was scheduled to take the stage at 5:00pm. The band was ready to play the show and even ceded to cutting their set list short, despite looming threats of arrests of band members and danger to their lives.
THE POLICE WOULD NOT HAVE IT! SYSTEM OF A DOWN NEVER CANCELLED THE SHOW!
There were so many people there that only a part of them could even actually view the stage. It was FEARed that had the band set foot on stage, people would push, shove, and possibly trample others to get a visual fix on the band. At that point, the barricades had all come down, and the band could not safely make it to the stage.
The police may have FEARed that had the band announced that the show was being cancelled by LAPD, that it would have lead to anger and hostility against their presence. HOWEVER, NOBODY GOT ON STAGE AND ANNOUNCED WHAT WAS GOING ON. This left everyone to assume everything and anything, and some people out of frustration started to loot, fight, etc.
My belief is that violence in all forms is a low-level human energy output, and undermines our existence as beings of light.
MOST SYSTEM FANS WERE APPALLED BY ALL THESE ACTIVITIES AND IMMEDIATELY FLED THE SCENE.
The fleeing of this mass of people may have in turn caused FEAR in the police, seeing groups of people running, etc. Let's not underestimate the amount of fear created by the visible police presence, not in casual police uniform, but in riot gear and horses, reminding some of ancient feudal tactics. It is this CIRCLE OF FEAR that prevailed yesterday in Hollywood, much to the band's regret.
What was missing was an invitation to peace....a deer dance perhaps, as in the DNC protests a year before, where Native Americans from Arizona delivered a welcoming dance to deer during their respective season. The eloquent movements and delivery of methodical action on stage derailed the overwhelming aggressive visuals of riot police, and created the only thing that could have saved the day-the smile of a young child watching the event.
That did not happen yesterday....
We believe that all of this could and should have been avoided had the band been allowed on stage. We also believe that there is lack of understanding and communication dealing with such events between promoters and the LAPD. We strongly suggest the creation of a communications forum and an officer training program between the LAPD and KROQ, as well as other promoters/radio stations.
Someone told me that because of this, free shows will not be allowed in Hollywood, at outside venues. That's one more blow to our freedom to convene, and System Of A Down is completely opposed to this.
Today, we were told that our Tower Records "Toxicity" record release signing was cancelled in FEAR of more drama.
FEAR is the worst reason to make any decisions in life. People came to the show to have a good time, in peace. Someone needed to give them the respect that they deserved to let them know what was going on, especially since they would not allow the band themselves to do so. It is my firm belief that the problem of undefined and unknown fear among people is a direct result of the insecurities harbored in any densely populated Metropolis, and defines the times that we live in.
Without judging it, I have decided not to be a party to the CIRCLE OF FEAR, and I hope that you will all join me in doing so.
All of us are radiant beings with physical temporary shells that seem to define us more than it should. When you listen to music and you are uplifted, the place you go is not physical........