Gwen Stefani may learn the hard way that rock ‘n’ roll rebellion just doesn’t fly when your most of your audience is sitting on lawn chairs.
A supposed fan is suing the singer, as well as promoters Live Nation, after an audience surge left her with a broken leg, and probably newly-forged emotional reactions to Tragic Kingdom.
Lisa Stricklin alleged that during a show at the PNC Music Pavilion in North Carolina last July (as in, an entire year ago), Stefani encouraged those seated in the lawn section to rush the reserved area in front of the stage.
“Just fill in anywhere you like”, Stefani advised the audience, throwing the very notion of “reserved seating” to the wind. It gets worse. “Who cares about your lawn chairs? You can get new ones”, she said – infusing this previously sedate crowd with a rebellious disregard for material items and arbitrary audience boundaries. After the one-two punch of ‘Sunday Morning’ and ‘Hollaback Girl’*, this was no doubt the tipping point from pleasant evening to all-out riot.
The lawsuit states: “This announcement created a stampede rush of patrons from the lawn seating area through the reserved seating area and toward the front of the performance stage, with people knocking over and breaching the security barricades and other security matter, jumping over seats in the reserved seating area, and pouring in through the aisles separating the various sections of the reserved seating area.”
Stricklin “was trampled by the rush of patrons and into a wall along the reserved seating area, causing her severe physical injuries.”
The lawsuit even quotes Stefani as saying: “I got in so much trouble for telling you guys to come up here!” which — lawyers will no doubt argue — demonstrates that officials were displeased with her instructions. Or maybe it was Blake Shelton who wasn’t happy. It’s unclear.
Stricklin is asking for $150,000 from Stefani and Live Nation, as well as punitive damages of an undisclosed amount from Stefani.
* Imagined set-list only.