System of a Down’s Riot Fest Set Repeatedly Stopped Due to Fan Injuries
System of a Down headlined the Riot Fest show in Chicago this Saturday, much to the excitement of fans. Sadly, they got a little too excited, and shit got ugly.
The band was forced to stop their set multiple times by security as the mosh pit turned into a pile-up. Multiple fans sustained serious injuries and some nearly ended up dead, including Steve Schneider, an aspiring wrestler who put his account of the concert:
“I fell over during System of a Down, then someone fell on top of me so I couldn’t breathe…Then once they got up, someone else fell on top of me. It was never ending. At one point I had someone on top of my back, and someone either sitting or standing on my head, pushing my face down into mud. I couldn’t breathe the entire time, but then any breath I could take I was close to inhaling muddy water. It was the scariest thing in my entire life cause I had no idea how long I’d be trapped for. Apparently System of a Down had to stop playing so paramedics could get me out, I was unconscious at that point so I have no memory of it. Both of my eyes are blood red from passing out due to lack of air + someone crushing my head + screaming for my life.”
Holy shit! When an aspiring wrestler is forced into unconsciousness due to people standing on his back, it’s no picnic. Here’s a big Hell Yeah to security for yanking Schneider out and saving his life.
In 2008, I caught Iron Maiden at Wacken Open Air, and it was simultaneously the most awesome and scariest experience in my life. On the one hand, there was Bruce in front of 80,000 people, kicking ass on “Fear of the Dark”; on the other, the crowd was so tightly packed that I couldn’t raise my arms for an hour. If I’d accidentally fallen and slipped underfoot, I would’ve been a fucking goner.
You can watch fan footage below of SOAD stopping their show and talking to the crowd. The band is really cool about it, though at times you wish they’d reach out to the audience a bit more and ask them to calm down (I once saw Tom Araya do that, it was choice). In the meantime, please be careful at packed shows, and if you see someone go down, be the first to pick them up.