Lana Del Rey was supposed to play at the Gexa Energy Pavilion on Saturday, the second stop on her "Endless Summer" tour with Courtney Love. The official reason for why Lana Del Rey didn't go on, announced over the intercom at the last possible minute, was severe weather, which had been been in the forecast for days and even forced Homegrown Festival to move inside.
But the weather remained dry until well past the time when the concert would have ended. Fans have been offered refunds, but they remain annoyed and confused about what happened to their Saturday night.
There were some warnings earlier Saturday that the weather might be bad in Dallas, but nothing dire enough to put the breaks on Del Rey's show. A little after 3 p.m. that day, Live Nation Dallas, which runs the venue, warned fans on Facebook of the "possibility" of some funky weather and "encouraged" them to monitor it. (Gexa's spokesman was supposed to forward our questions about Saturday's show to the venue's general manager earlier this week but hasn't gotten back to us or returned follow-up messages.)
"There is the possibility that the weather could impact today's Lana Del Rey schedule at Gexa Energy Pavilion," the Live Nation Facebook post said. "We encourage fans to monitor the weather and not arrive early." Tell that to the fans who were pre-partying all day.
In fact, WFAA's weatherman Pete Delkus posted an update just after 7 p.m. that evening warning that Dallas would be under a tornado watch until 11. But the warning didn't feel too serious: Around that same time, Live Nation Dallas was back on Facebook, telling people the show would go as planned. "The show is still on schedule!" Live Nation Dallas posted at 7:26 p.m. "Rain chances are down in the forecast, show is on schedule!" they added half an hour later, just before 8 p.m.
The "on schedule" show actually started late, attendees say, with Courtney Love's performance starting at around 8:30, about an hour after it was scheduled to go on. Afterward, attendees say, there was a long break between sets, somewhere around 40 minutes. Finally, at about 9:40 p.m., well past the time that Lana Del Rey should have been going on, an official-sounding male voice came on the loudspeaker.
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The announcement was initially greeted with cheers. People assumed the man was introducing the headliner, recalls former Observer columnist Richie Whitt, a sportscaster at NBC who was at the show with his wife. The announcement, Whitt says, went something like, "We regret to inform you that tonight's Lana Del Rey concert is being postponed because of dangerous weather conditions." People were asked to "please leave in an orderly fashion."
But that's when things got weird, Whitt says. About one-third of the people immediately began running, as if they were worried that a tornado was approaching. The other two-thirds stood there stunned. "It looked to me like the concession people, the vendors at the front, it looked to me they were all as taken by surprise by the announcement as anybody else," Whitt says. The voice repeated the announcement over the loudspeaker, and each time more people would leave.
"There were a number of announcements made and they were creepy," adds local photographer David Wilson. "Just telling everyone the show had been postponed and to make your way to an exit. It almost sounded like a prank. I left quickly to beat the rush. They tore down Courtney's gear completely before announcing."
Attendees wrote online that they were told shelter would be provided for people waiting for their ride. Yet that shelter appears to have not existed. "You claim you were gonna provide shelter for people waiting on their rides," says a Facebook post by Jennel Renteria, who drove in from San Antonio for the show, "yet you yelled and cursed at my children who are minors when they tried to go back in and wait for us. This could've been handled better."
Another attendee has a similar story: "'We will provide shelter in the pavilion?' Then why were we herded out of the venue and yelled at by the staff?"
The people who parked onsite say it took another hour to actually get out of the traffic-choked parking lot, which wouldn't have been a good situation had bad weather actually hit. But it wasn't until several hours later that any unpleasant weather hit -- not a dangerous tornado, it turned out, but rain.
Ticketholders have since been notified that the canceled show will be rescheduled to a later, as-yet-undetermined date. Fans who don't wish to wait and/or attend the rescheduled show have also been offered refunds.
Send your story tips to the author, Amy Silverstein.
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