From where I sat - in dress circle, stage right - it was just another rowdy rock concert.

The fans were lively but good-natured. Cigarette and marijuana smoke was in the air. The music was deafening.There were disturbances on the main floor, a couple of fights broke out, fans pushed and shoved for better position and thrust their arms forward, flashing hand signals.

Business as usual on the heavy-metal circuit.

As the roadies prepared for the warm-up band, the standing-room-only crowd on the main floor was swelling quickly. Fans pushed toward the stage.

The lights flashing during the set by King's X revealed the fans' being pushed forward, tighter and tighter into each other and into the barricades in front of the stage.

Some kids up front gasped for air, trying to get up and out of the human mass. Others removed their sweat-drenched shirts to escape the heat.

The scene seemed almost surrealistic. Though I was seated comfortably in a cushioned chair, I felt claustrophobic watching what was happening below on the floor.

When it came time for AC/DC, the scene became even more surreal. Red neon lights framed the sloping ramps surrounding the stage, as the performers made their entrance.

After a couple of songs, however, it was apparent that something serious was happening on the floor in front of the stage.

Lead singer Brian Johnson moved forward, trying to catch the message of a frantic security guard, waving from the crowd. Stopping the concert, Johnson announced, "There's a bit of a problem in front."

Security continued to call for help, and Johnson yelled, "We need a light down here. Somebody get a light!"

A four-man chain of security guards pushed into the crowd. Shaken but not visibly hurt, teenagers were pulled up and out of the crowd, being passed overhead to safety, only to return immediately into the mob, laughing and joking.

Johnson continued to implore, "Move back, please, just move back!"

After about a 15-minute delay, the show went on, with security guards throwing buckets of water into the crowd to keep the fans cool.

At concert's end, the reserved seating crowd, seemingly oblivious to the drama below, called the group back for a double encore of songs, one of which was "Highway to Hell," an ending that now seems tragically ironic.