WBCN River Rave Site
Boston Globe "No raves from police at Foxborough rock event" 5/29/00
Boston Globe "Biting punk, mach metal marks Rave" 5/29/00
Boston Herald "Foxboro officials not Raving about lewd concert" 5/29/00
raves from police at Foxborough rock event
By Steve Morse, Globe Staff, Globe Correspondent, 5/29/2000
FOXBOROUGH - For anyone unfamiliar with alternative-rock festivals, Saturday's WBCN River Rave must have been an eye-opener. Bands played at jolting volumes and howled their displeasure with life, dozens of women bared their breasts on the video screens, the police became nervous, and the sponsoring radio station thought all was fine and dandy.
Not all was fine and dandy, however, at this 12-hour event, since the combined arrests of the Foxborough Police Department and State Police totaled 126 - breaking the venue record of 90 set at a Grateful Dead show in the late 1980s. The arrests ranged from drug offenses to trespassing (youths who were ejected and tried to get back in) and disorderly conduct cases. And injuries included several broken noses from moshing, as well as head and ankle injuries, though nothing life-threatening.
This has become business as usual at many alt-rock festivals, keyed by Woodstock '99, which featured a pay-per-view broadcast of bare breasts by the hundreds and, ultimately, destruction of property when vandals rioted at the end, setting fire to a sound tower and several tractor-trailers.
The only damage on Saturday was to a camera crane ripped down by youths near the front of the Foxboro Stadium stage. But tensions were riding high, especially when thousands of youths rushed over barricades from the loge to the field during Godsmack's late afternoon set. Several youths reported being pepper-sprayed near the sound tower, but no one could pinpoint who did it and police denied they used the spray.
Godsmack singer Sully Erna jumped into the audience and did some crowd-surfing at this point, but had his shoes ripped off in the process. ''You're ... thieves!'' he said, trying to laugh when he got back on stage.
Rumors swirled that the State Police thought of storming the stadium during the barricade-crashing moment. But Lieutenant Paul Maloney said yesterday that eight horse-mounted officers gathered at the north entrance ramp just to clear the ramp so concertgoers caught in any potential crush on the field could leave ''to relieve the pressure.''
The frequent display of breasts on the video screens was a prime source of controversy. It is common at many alt-rock shows today - as anyone knows who has seen Kid Rock at Tsongas Arena in Lowell or Korn and Limp Bizkit at the Worcester Centrum Centre. The precedent for video photographers to bait women in the audience dates back to Guns N' Roses arena shows in the '80s, but Saturday's River Rave was different because captions were shown on the screens urging women to ''give us a look.'' And between the last sets of Stone Temple Pilots and Cypress Hill, a compilation video was shown of the many breasts flashed during the event.
At one point, WBZ-TV sportscaster Bob Lobel took the stage with WBCN's Nik Carter, who encouraged women in the house to flash Lobel. There was a high compliance rate. That was just one of the many topless scenes beamed to the crowd on the giant screens throughout the day, captioned with lines like ''We've got to see these.''
''It's all part of it,'' WBCN program director Oedipus said backstage when asked about the video footage. Neither he nor any other station spokesman could be reached for comment yesterday.
Foxborough Police Chief Edward O'Leary said yesterday that while he knew the crowd at River Rave would be young, he didn't anticipate some of the problems that occurred.
''I was disappointed in the behavior of the crowd,'' he said. O'Leary pointed specifically to the rushing of the field during Godsmack's set and the behavior of the cameramen, who were encouraging women to bare their chests. ''Certainly, I did not anticipate the video sideshow,'' he said.
When Guns N' Roses played the stadium in 1992, O'Leary said, the crowd was also being encouraged to ''disrobe.'' And while he said he didn't condone it, it did help distract a crowd that was angry at lead singer Axl Rose for being late.
At Saturday's concert, he said, ''it encouraged them to be agitated.''
For the upcoming Metallica show on June 30, O'Leary said he would ''have to go back to the drawing board'' on event security.
Kevin Weinfeld, chairman of the Foxborough Board of Selectmen, said that while he wasn't up to speed on what happened at the River Rave, he would be concerned if cameramen had urged women to take their shirts off.
''I would not be pleased for people to be encouraging public sexual behavior by anyone,'' he said. If that turned out to be the case, he said, he would ''certainly express my displeasure.''
Weinfeld added that if these kind of events are well organized and kept under control, they are permissible. ''If they get out of hand, then we would have to review whether these types of concert events are appropriate,'' he said.
The selectman noted that if the problems reported at Saturday's concert prove to be a real issue, the town would have to have ''serious conversations'' with stadium officials and would take a ''very serious look at not licensing these events in the future.'' That would be a major blow to WBCN, which hopes to hold the River Rave there next year - part of a growing trend of major stations to hold radio-sponsored shows in stadiums. The trend was started by WBCN's sister station, WHFS in Washington, D.C., which has held events at RFK Stadium.
No Foxboro Stadium officials returned phone calls yesterday.
The only female-led band during the day was Heidi, which played at the smaller B stage next to the stadium. The group features WBCN DJ Juanita (real name Janet Egan), who said in the VIP tent later, ''I'm sure some people mistake us for groupies backstage.'' Such is life at male-dominated events like these.
As for any crowd tensions, Godsmack's Erna explained them this way: ''These kids have to listen to people tell them what to do at school, and listen to their parents. So the music is a way to say [expletive] to all of that, and to get out their aggressions. They're not trying to punch each other in the face. They're just trying to have fun.''
The fans got their money's worth (tickets were a reasonable $35, a bargain compared to the overpriced classic-rock shows of this summer) and the focus on scream-venting male bands didn't bother at least one female fan, Ashlin Bolton, 18, of Arlington.
''I don't like a lot of the girl bands today,'' she said. ''Many girl bands are just too poppy, like Britney Spears. If I wanted to see that, I'd go to the KISS Concert.''
This story ran on page A01 of the Boston Globe on
FOXBOROUGH - The sold-out crowd of 50,000 fans erupted Saturday when the Boston-based Godsmack came onstage - and the band responded with a blitzkrieg set of Black Sabbath-influenced hard rock that stole the show at the WBCN River Rave at Foxboro Stadium.
Come to think of it, Godsmack has stolen just about every show it has played in the past year. The group left crowds panting for more at the B stage at Woodstock '99, at the recent Boston Music Awards, and at the so-called ''Smackfest 2000'' at the Bayside Exposition Center in Dorchester on New Year's Eve.
Godsmack's tattooed singer, Sully Erna, smoked with his booming, pile-driving voice. He exorcised a dysfunctional relationship in the band's megahit, ''Keep Away,'' and scored with the new ''Going Down,'' from the ''Mission: Impossible 2'' soundtrack. (It will also be on a new Godsmack disc due this fall.)
Some bands delivered uninspiring sets on Saturday - among them Powerman 5000 (every song was virtually a flat-out metallic bellow by singer Spider) and the Chicago-based Filter, which simply wasn't suited for a stadium. Singer Richard Patrick, formerly of Nine Inch Nails, elongated the group's hit, ''Hey Man, Nice Shot'' until it wore much too thin as compared with the harder-sounding radio version.
Everclear, which has been absent for a while, came roaring back, featuring the more biting sound of its repertoire (most bands skipped their ballads on Saturday in order to play a kind of high-decibel rock 'n' roll one-upmanship). And Everclear singer Art Alexakis, caught the runaway, hedonistic spirit of the day when he told fans: ''Even though we don't have pentagrams onstage, you can rest assured we will burn in hell with the rest of you.''
Adding to the considerably high vacation-weekend energy was Static-X, whose singer, Wayne Static, sported a serious nose ring and even more serious hair, having used hair spray to make sure its 6-inch-high, pitchforklike shape held in all its seemingly post-electroshock punk glory. He fired off chants of ''He's a loser'' and ''I hate you,'' as the band machine-gunned various riffs behind him. It was a pure, cathartic adrenaline rush, and the band was well received.
This writer didn't spend much time at the ''pit stage'' outside the stadium's gate (partly because it was so cramped that moving around was a nightmare), but caught an impressive over-the-top set by Scissorfight (which sounded like a punky version of ZZ Top) and the ''rave tent,'' a crowded, overheated tent where 'BCN DJ Bradley Jay, among others, was spinning bass-throbbing, Brit-based techno.
Back on the main stage, another standout was the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, who proved that ska-rock can hold its own in a stadium setting. Singer Dicky Barrett's showmanship was galvanizing and nonstop.
The evening led up to Stone Temple Pilots and Cypress Hill. The Pilots made a strong return from the days when singer Scott Weiland was suffering through various rehab stints trying to kick heroin (two years ago he was arrested after playing as a solo act at the River Rave, then held at what was then Great Woods in Mansfield). STP performed a hit-laden set (''Vaseline'' jumped out), though Weiland carried the theatrics a little too far when he later lay on the stage as though he were a wounded Shakespearean character.
Ganja enthusiasts Cypress Hill's hip-hop/rock hybrid was surprisingly successful in a stadium setting.
Dual rappers B-Real and Sen-dog ignited the crowd with the ganja anthem ''Insane in the Brain,'' then later sobered fans with ''(Rock) Superstar,'' about the perils of stardom. And when Cypress Hill finished, fireworks lit up the sky as though this were a climactic finish by the Rolling Stones.
River Rave outtakes: Backstage, the Bosstones' Dicky Barrett was informed about an ugly vibe out in the crowd air early in the day, and said, ''I'm gonna spread a little love out there.'' He and his band did just that with their aggressive but warm ska-punk. Barrett admonished the crowd, ''Nobody gets hurt, nobody gets violated, nobody gets thrown out.'' He reserved his wrath for the Yankees, leading a ''Yankees suck!'' chant.
Promenading prominently backstage and onstage were 'BCN's scantily clad Rave Girls, Andrea Williams, of Dartmouth, N.H., and Danielle Murr, of Swampscott. They won Carter's 11-woman contest by parading about in the studio Wednesday.
Former Van Halen singer Gary Cherone was visiting backstage with fellow Bostonians Sully Erna and the others from Godsmack. Cherone, who was also hanging out with onetime partner Nuno Bettencourt from their former band Extreme, said he has another recording project in the works.
Cherone wants to perform in a Boston Rock Opera reprise of ''Jesus Christ Superstar'' later this year, but this time hopes to play the role of Judas, not Jesus, which he had played before.
Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland got married last Sunday and interrupted his honeymoon in Santa Barbara to perform at the River Rave. It's the second marriage for Weiland. Asked about his first marriage, he said, ''I don't remember it,'' referring to his days of heavy drug use. From the stage, dressed as a flamboyant cowboy, Weiland referenced his troubles and called his being able to sing again with STP ''a true blessing.''