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Lauper fans show their true colors

October 23. 2013 11:42PM
BILL O’BOYLE boboyle@timesleader.com

WILKES-BARRE — Audiences just want to have fun, but some of the fans attending Cyndi Lauper’s concert at the F.M. Kirby Center on Tuesday night might have gone overboard time after time.

After talking to concert attendees and Kirby personnel, one thing is certain — there were some unruly fans at the event who apparently took way too many pictures and who were involved in an altercation.

Will Beekman, Kirby spokesman, said a staff meeting held Wednesday afternoon revealed that a couple of patrons were fighting and others kept taking photos after Lauper’s first two songs — the pre-determined time that photographs were to be allowed.

Beekman said he spoke with the show’s promoter, who told him he had a conversation Wednesday with Lauper, who told him she was unhappy with the number of photos that were taken.

“Other than that, there were no real concerns,” Beekman said. “The promoter said Lauper was pleased with the performance. She had 1,500 people on a Tuesday night.”

Calls and e-mails to Lauper’s publicist, Sunshine Sachs of New York City, were not returned.

Beekman said it was Lauper’s third visit to the Kirby, and he said he is certain that she would return for a fourth if asked.

“We haven’t been inundated with calls from people complaining about the concert,” Beekman said. “We have heard from a few, and from their accounts, there was certainly a rowdy crowd at the show.”

Beekman said the Kirby had 10 security guards on duty — two more than the norm. He said the staff will continue to review the situation and make whatever necessary adjustments to assure a similar occurrence doesn’t happen at future events.

Kimberly Harrington, 48 of Ransom, attended the concert with her husband and son. A native of Plymouth, Harrington attended Wilkes University and she has been at several Kirby events.

“We were walking across Public Square and I noticed how nice the city looked and the bright lights of the Kirby Center,” Harrington said. “It felt good to see Wilkes-Barre back like it was when I was at Wilkes during the 1980s.”

The Harringtons sat in the second row for the concert, and she said she noticed some of the people were getting rowdy even during the opening act, Hunter Valentine. She said it was announced before Lauper came on stage that photographs would be allowed only during the first two songs.

“But many kept taking pictures after the first two songs,” she said. “Security couldn’t keep up with all that was going on. There was a lot of ruckus in the room.”

Harrington said she was surprised Lauper didn’t walk off the stage. She said she heard some people were asked to leave.

“Things got a little less tense,” she said. “Cyndi kept asking people to get along. I had waited 30 years to see her, but I left with mixed feelings. I’ve attended other shows before, but this was very scary. I’d be leery about going back there again.”

Harrington said Lauper would try to tell stories before each number, but some people kept yelling. She said Lauper told them to “zip it.” Harrington said concert-goers should respect the person on stage.

“It was embarrassing,” she said. “I don’t want this to chase people from coming to Wilkes-Barre.”

Brad Patton reviewed the concert for The Times Leader and said several people kept getting in Lauper’s face with camera phones.

“It was obvious that she was upset with all the photography,” Patton said. “She chastised them from the stage a few times.”

On Lauper’s Facebook page, several comments were listed coming from people who attended the concert.

• Bob Merc: “Although I don’t reside in Wilkes Barre anymore, I humbly apologize for my hometown and for the crass and rude and disrespectful way you were treated last night.”

• Franco Franus: “I’m sorry that the crowd last night seemed to just be let out of jail … or a barn.”

Patton, in his review, said Lauper brought one song to a halt and climbed back on stage, complaining about the too-close photos and unflattering angles.

“You wouldn’t like it if people stuck cameras in your face every time you tried to do something,” she said. “And you must know enough women to know they don’t like under-the-chin photos.”