Free lunchtime acoustic concert at the National Sylvan Theater in front of the Washington Monument in Washington D.C.
The show was sponsored by the alternative radio station WHFS (99.1 FM).
It’s unclear whether the show was recorded or not. Maybe WHFS had planned to live or later broadcast the show (?) [information needed]
Only 3,000 fans were expected but more than 10,000 showed up. At the time, The Cranberries were hugely popular on MTV and it seems like all the kids in the Washington area cut school to attend the show.
Apparently lots of people were walking to the mall with beers and many of them clearly came to party.
Some people climbed up in the trees to see over the crowd and everyone was antsy.
Announcements were made before the show to calm down.
The opening act was supposed to be the band The Wiggles but it seems they couldn’t find their keyboard player and didn’t play.
Despite the show starting 45 minutes late, Dolores didn’t seem in a rush to take the stage. The concert definitely got affected by a raging crowd.
Dolores entering the stage said, “We only have time for a few songs, we’re gonna start off with Dreaming My Dreams.”
The show stopped briefly after the 1st song and security asked everyone to move back.
About 1 minute into the second song the U.S. Park Police determined the show had turned up dangerous and ordered to stop. The crowd was larger-and-rowdier than anyone had predicted and there were not enough police.
The Cranberries left and were replaced on stage by police in riot helmets.
WHFS DJ Bob Waugh drove the band to National Airport. He recalls, “All along the way The Cranberries seemed quite amused, it really struck them, for the first time perhaps, how popular they were in the United States.”
WHFS’s promotions manager Mary Kay LeMay recalls, “people were stage diving and moshing to Linger a largely acoustic ballad. Other people in the outdoor amphitheater were tossing bottles and cans toward the stage, I had crap all over me from people throwing food and drinks at the stage. Wes Johnson of WHFS was on stage trying to tell people to stop pushing and calm down, and that made it worse. Then all hell broke loose. They [The Police] pulled the plug.”
Afterwards, there was a small riot on the mall and the band’s bus was rocked, but no major damage was incurred.
As the crowd surged, Dolores’ acoustic guitar was stolen. Pleads were made on the air for weeks to return it… in vain.
Some people later said on forums that the official version explaining the cause of the riot was not that true. According to them the place was packed, the band went on real late and during the second song the cops on horses shut it down because they had run past their allotted time. And concerning the supposedly rocks and bottles being thrown at the cops it is total bullshit because there were no rocks to throw from the grassy field and the bottles being thrown were plastic water bottles, which was kind of a thing at the time. Security and police were trying to ask the people to back up, but only the people in the front could hear them, as PA system was too low and not meant for so many people, and the people in the back pushed forward to hear better – and chaos ensued.
in February 2018, a 7-min video bootleg of the show was shared on YouTube by user wavegigger. Click the link above in audio/video recordings for more details.
Venue 1, 2, 3, 4 · Google Street View
Show 1 to 7 · Brian Lui (ToolboxDC)
…and thanks to the uncredited authors. We don’t know who you are! Contact us if you’d like a credit and tell us which one is your photo/item/stuff.