Emergency medical technicians were left with little to do at the Salt Palace during the Sunday night concert by the Scorpions - the first hard rock show since three teenagers were trampled to death Jan. 18.
With seats in place on the arena floor and with security guards posted 5 to 10 feet apart strictly enforcing a long list of rules, no one suffered serious injuries, not even heat exhaustion - the culprit in 90 percent of the health problems when "festival seating" was allowed.Some people have blamed festival seating, an arrangement where people are allowed to roam freely on the arena floor, for the deaths at the concert by the Australian group AC/DC. For the Scorpions concert, and for every future concert in the building, Salt Palace management installed folding chairs linked together on the floor.
Salt Palace security guards, who searched the pockets and purses of concertgoers, also handed out rules of conduct to the 9,400 people who entered the arena Sunday night. Security guards, wearing bright yellow jackets and carrying miniature flashlights, were left with strict orders to enforce the rules. Blue lights were on during the show, providing more light for the guards to see the audience - and check tickets.
The guards were instructed not to let a person pass without checking his or her ticket.
"If there's a few who decide they don't want to abide by the rules, they won't have a good time," David Meek, director of Spectacor, the company that manages the Salt Palace, said before the show. "We are ejecting them."
Meek and his directors of security and operations had the authority to switch on house lights in the event there was a serious disturbance. "If the house lights go on, that will be an immediate signal to the band to stop the show," Meek said.
Members of the German band Scorpions, who were heard recently on local radio stations advocating concert safety, agreed to the new rules. But the tight security frustrated some concertgoers who paid up to $19 a ticket.
"There's so much security; it's weird," said Shannon Byrne, 16, Logan. "I hope no one causes a big problem tonight, or it could be the end of concerts in the Salt Palace."
But Salt Lake County Commissioner Chairman Jim Bradley said he was pleased with the new rules.
"Not only is the most scrutinized concert of the last decade, but the safest. It's mega-safe," he said. "Everyone has been extremely cooperative."
Meek said the seats were placed farther apart than normal. Most arenas put them 32 inches apart. For the Scorpions concert, seats were 36 inches apart in the first 10 rows and 34 inches apart after that - giving concertgoers enough room to dance in front of their seats.
The decision led to about 300 fewer tickets being available on the floor than during previous concerts.
But most concertgoers interviewed said they agreed with the decision to ban festival seating.
"It's much better. I think general admission was a joke," said Mark Ashton, 26, of Brigham City. "You can't see, breathe, move. Now there's a lot less chance of people getting hurt. It was a mad house before."
"It was definitely needed so I don't end up like the kids at the AC/DC concert," said Ryan Andreasen, 18, Salt Lake City.
Medical technicians assigned to the arena's first-aid station were left with little to do all night. Spectacor officials said only five or six people had to be ejected for fighting or other problems.
"The problems have been incredibly light," said spokeswoman Beth White. "The crowd has been really cooperative."
Code of conduct
Patrons at Salt Palace rock concerts are expected to adhere to the following rules:
- Stay in front of your assigned seat
- No standing on chairs
- No alcohol or drugs
- No cameras or recording devices
- No smoking in the arena
- No lighters
Failure to observe the rules will result in immediate ejection without warning or refund.