It’s been a weird couple of weeks for Atlanta. We’ve been trapped under snow and ice twice, Philip Seymour Hoffman died in the middle of production of one of the biggest films being made here, and the Seahawks were bragging about how losing to the Falcons the previous year motivated them to trouncing the Broncos at the Super Bowl this year. As the cherry on top of all of this, the floor of the Tabernacle, one of the city’s most well known concert venues as well as one of the oldest buildings in the city, was broken during a show on February 7. The ironic thing about that show? It was Panic! at the Disco.
You’ve probably seen jokes on Tumblr playing on the band’s name or lyrics about breaking the floor, but what exactly happened? Since I wasn’t at this show (even though I really wanted to be), I began to investigate and ask people about their experiences.
The band had just played ‘Vegas Lights’ and was almost finished with ‘Time To Dance’ when Panic’s head of security Zack Hall came out on stage and told them to stop playing because the floor was starting to crack. “That was when we knew something was serious because a. Zack doesn’t play, and b. the look on Brendon’s face went from playing around to seriously upset in about .05 seconds,” said Tumblr user mrsenjolras on her post about the experience. Tumblr user storiesfromthedead said that the venue staff “came out and made the floor level back up slowly to access exactly what had happened… After about five minutes, they asked us to clear out and then proceeded to clear out the other levels.”
Besides the “thunder clap” heard downstairs in the merch room below, the venue was quickly cleared out after after Lt. Ulysses Gladden with the Atlanta Fire Department noticed what happened and made the decision to call the show after consulting with Tabernacle management and security. “There were actually two-by-six beams that had completely cracked from one side to the next, and you could see the brown wood in the beams as they opened up and closed up as the floor bowed,” Gladden said in an interview with 11Alive News the next day. This ended up not only with the show being over, but with the merch room closed off to fans as the show evacuated. mrsenjolras said that Hall told fans after the show, “We have to go dig out our merch.” She also says that Hall surmised that if the show had gone on for ten more minutes, the audience would have been in the basement.
Even though there seemed to be some hurt feelings, confusion, and fear, no one was hurt and evacuation went rather smoothly. Fans were even allowed to congregate by and sing to the band from the buses after the show was cancelled.
This could have been so much worse, but thanks to the quick response from the Atlanta Fire Marshal and Tabernacle management. I know it always sucks to have a show cancelled, but I know I’d much rather have people give a damn about safety. If you were at the show, Ticketmaster/Livenation is issuing refunds for tickets (storiesfromthedead had already received hers as of February 9), and Panic! at the Disco is already planning a return trip to Atlanta to make up for what happened. No word yet as to when or where exactly.
As for the Tabernacle, they’re working around the clock to get the floor fixed and plan to be back in business on Valentine’s Day for the Trey Anastasio Band. I’m sure we’ll all be waiting with bated breath to see how the new floor holds.