Klaus Meine knows the terror of front-row concertgoers trapped by the throng of surging, frenzied fans.
In fact, he knows it firsthand: As front man for the rock band The Scorpions, Meine saw fear in the eyes of patrons during a concert in San Diego seven years ago."I could feel the audience was overexcited," Meine said in a recent interview. "I could see panic in the expressions of people in front who were being pushed so hard."
The situation - strikingly similar to last month's Salt Palace show in which three teenagers were crushed to death - could have ended in tragedy. But Meine, the band's lead singer, stopped the music in time and calmed screaming fans. After each song, he told them not to push any more or he would stop the show. It worked.
The incident hasn't dampened the German-born Meine's enthusiasm for "festival seating," the free-roaming arrangement some have blamed for the trampling deaths in the Salt Palace. Meine believes festival seating creates a "natural atmosphere," allowing the band and the crowd to communicate.
But Meine and bandmates won't have that kind of rapport on Sunday when they return to the Salt Palace. Fans will be in seats.
Spectacor, the company that manages the Salt Palace, will continue the policy it started after the tragic AC/DC concert Jan. 18. Folding chairs will be in place on the arena floor, and everyone on the floor will have tickets for reserved seats.
"There's simply no way you could bolt seats to the floor," Eric Yaillen, Spectacor's marketing manager, said responding to concerns that concertgoers could throw the seats to the side and create their own festival seating.
Yaillen said concertgoers will receive a list of rules when they walk in.
Yaillen said security levels were adequate for the AC/DC show and will be the same for Scorpions.
According to Meine, Scorpions' own security guards will be working with local guards to ensure nothing goes wrong at Sunday's concert.
"We want to have a good time with the audience; we want them to enjoy the show with us," he said in a telephone interview from Albuquerque, N.M., where the band kicked off its 1991 U.S. tour. "We always try to give out positive vibes to the audience and hope we get them back."
In Salt Lake City, "It's a good vibe - very positive."
Like most of its concerts, Scorpions' return performance in Salt Lake City is expected to be well-attended. Since forming in the early 1970s, Scorpions has sold more than 15 million albums worldwide.
In Salt Lake City, the band's upcoming concert has received heavier than usual publicity. It's the first hard-rock group to perform in the Salt Palace since the AC/DC concert.
Meine hopes the negative publicity shrouding the AC/DC concert won't make people fearful about attending Scorpions' show.
"It (the tragedy) shouldn't be blamed on rock 'n' roll," Meine said. "Things like that happen all over the world - whether it's rock 'n' roll or soccer. It's a tragedy when people go looking for a good time and find death. It's sad. I hope it will never happen to us."
Meine said he's close friends with members of AC/DC. He hasn't spoken to them about their Salt Lake concert, but can imagine how they feel.
"All musicians are very sensitive, and I know for them it is a big shock that they have to live with. But what can they do?"