[UPDATE BELOW] First of all, they never should have stacked that 4,257-seat monstrosity on top of Jones Beach amphitheater back in 1998. Sure, the view of the sea is impressive, but if there's any wind that's where the sound is headed, too. On the night the mezzanine opened, one concertgoer told the Times, ''I think it's a little rude when you ask where your seats are and the usher laughs when he sees the ticket." ("Another couldn't decide whether the stage or the moon seemed closer. 'It's a tie,' the insurance broker said, shaking his head as he pulled from his pocket a set of tickets. He hadn't realized what mezzanine meant. 'The secretary in my office got these tickets. She's in trouble.' ") Anyway, last night we saw a guy fall about 50 feet to the seats below.
A Phish show is the last place you expect to have a sobering experience, but there we were during the setbreak, sitting down in the General Admission section savoring the "Antelope" that closed a stellar first set, when we saw the body drop. Though the distance between the mezzanine and the seats directly below it is approximately 25 feet, the body landed much further out, in row HH, indicating that the fan propelled himself outward. One security guard guesstimated that the total distance was about 50 feet. A witness told the Post, "He pushed people out of the way and he jumped; he didn't fall. It was intentional." Fortunately, as far as we know, he didn't land on anyone.
One concertgoer who claimed to know the victim told us late last night that the man, whom he identified by the first name Luke, is in stable condition. According to the Daily News, he suffered "massive head trauma" and is "clinging to life." Another fan told the Post, "I was sitting two rows behind from where he hit. He hit a chair and he broke the back of another chair. There was blood everywhere." After the man was carried out on a stretcher, security cordoned off the area with caution tape for the remainder of the concert, which continued on schedule. It's unclear if the band was told about the incident.
UPDATE 3 p.m.:Channel 12 on Long Island reports that the man is in "critical but stable condition." State Parks police have released a statement confirming that the man fell "approximately 25 feet" and that one other person sustained "minor injuries." Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call 631-669-2500. On Phantasy Tour, a jamband message board, first-hand accounts are appearing. Here's the first:
He was completely spun. He jumped between me and my buddy. We were in the 2 seats at the front corner of the mezz in that picture. He came down the backs of the seats stepped on the back of our seats, put his hands on our shoulders and a foot on the railing and jumped...dove. He belly flopped onto the seats.
And another, from someone who claims that the jumper landed on him. ([sic] all):
Me, my brother, and a few of his friends were sitting in out seats in section 2 during the set break. All of a sudden, everything went black, you heard a bomb explode, and i was out of it for a bit. At first, i thought someone through a bowling ball. It took a good 30 seconds to realice there was a person on top of us. He fell right in between me and my brother, and hit the guy in front of us probably the worst.
From what i understand, guy in front of us was ok. But this jumper actually broke chairs. When the guy finally got up, he was out of it, bleeding from his mouth. He tried to stand, but he grabbed him and sat him in my seat. I picked up his hat, and he took it from my hands and put it on his head. Thats when i figured the guy was actually ok.
Then he started bleeding from his nose and mouth pretty bad. His head was slumping forward and he was nodding off, and people were holding his head trying to keep him awake. Just alot of this until the emt's strapped him up and took him.
So now theres blood and broken chair all over the place. Were told we cant sit there anymore, to go find new seats. So now im kinda pissed, i wasnt going to almost get killed and then miss set 2. One of the security guys tell us to go down by the blue tent, by CK5, and theyllk have seats for us. We did just that. The head security guy radio'de another guy, and some dsude with a blue polo shows up with a ticket stack. He peels off 5 tickets, all together, Orch B, row S. We missed about 25 seconds of the second set.
So anyway, theres my story. Any updates on this guys condition? At first last night, i was so mad i didnt care about him at all. I was more angry that he could havbe killed my little brother, or me. But now im calmed down, hope the guy makes it through