Montreal

Laval's new Place Bell, Evenko called out for problem-plagued The Killers concert

Laval's new $200-million amphitheatre and event promoter Evenko are being roundly criticized after forcing concert-goers to wait outside for close to an hour in –23 C temperatures for a show that was then interrupted three times due to technical issues.

'The crowd was electric. The venue was not,' the band posted on Instagram

Fans say they were forced to wait outside for around an hour to see The Killers at Place Bell on Saturday night. It was –35 with wind chill. (Submitted by Dan Marcus)

Laval's new $200-million amphitheatre and event promoter Evenko are being roundly criticized after forcing concert-goers to wait outside for close to an hour in –23 C temperatures for a show that was then interrupted three times due to technical issues.

Several of those who attended the concert, by rock band The Killers, expressed their frustration on social media, including the band itself.

"The crowd was electric. The venue was not," The Killers wrote Sunday on Instagram about Place Bell, which opened in the fall. 

The 10,000-seat facility is owned by the City of Laval.

Evenko manages many of the events held there, including Saturday night's show. Place Bell is also home to the Montreal Canadiens AHL affiliate, The Rockets.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, Evenko apologized for the technical issues and said that they were working to improve.

"Be assured that the well-being and security of all remains our priority and as a new venue, we constantly strive to improve our operations and most importantly our fan experience," the statement read.

Frustrated fans

"[It is] completely unacceptable to make people wait outside in –35 weather with wind chill when there was space inside," said concert attendee Sam Hassin.

"What bad organization. First and last time at Place Bell."

Catherine Lecours and her husband Alessandro Saco attended the concert together. (Submitted by Catherine Lecours)

Catherine Lecours got so cold waiting 45 minutes outside that she fainted and was later treated for mild frostbite on her toes.

"I really didn't feel well," she said. "I lost consciousness.... I was lucky because my husband was behind me."

She and her husband spent an hour with St. John Ambulance paramedics before heading inside the concert hall to see the rest of the show.

"It was really frustrating," she told CBC.

Lecours said Evenko promoters contacted her after the fact to apologize and offered her free tickets to another show at Place Bell, in an effort to prove they were committed to improving the situation.

She told CBC she hasn't decided whether she will accept Evenko's offer.

Stephen Lasalle bought tickets to the show for his girlfriend as a Christmas gift. The couple drove in from Ottawa.

When they arrived at Place Bell around 7:30 p.m., Lasalle saw hundreds of people lined up outside the entrance. He only got inside around 8:30 p.m.

"I would never suggest for anyone to go to an event at Place Bell," Lasalle said.

Another concert-goer, Liana Paré, was frustrated that organizers weren't allowing more people into the show as the line outside grew longer.

"It was pretty obvious that everyone was freezing," Paré said. She added the concert hall was only half-full for the opening act, which featured Australian singer Alex Cameron.

Technical problems interrupt concert

The frigid wait, however, wasn't the end of the show's problems. The concert was also interrupted three times due to electrical problems, including once during the encore.

"Thirty seconds into the first song, the power went out … on stage," said Fabrizio Macuso, who was at the concert.

The power was turned back on, only for it to go back out again a few moments later, Macuso said.

"[Lead singer Brandon Flowers] fell to his knees in sadness."

Place Bell posted an apology to its Facebook page, saying it faced operational issues.

"We are aware of your discontent. We would like to apologize that the actions took were not to our fans' expectations [sic]," the message said. 

The City of Laval said it was made aware of the problems at the show and will work with Evenko to improve the concert-going experience at the venue. 

With files from Radio-Canada and Jaela Bernstien

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