Video Vault: Deep trouble erupts at '73 rock concert

LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) - The classic rock group Fleetwood Mac plays Las Vegas this weekend. It's far from their first time: Fleetwood Mac has been coming to southern Nevada for more than four decades.

In fact, one of their early visits was part of an evening that shook up the Las Vegas Convention Center and had ramifications for years to come.

"It was probably the best bill that had come to Las Vegas ever," remembers concert promoter Michael Schivo.

"Fleetwood Mac, Rory Gallagher - and Deep Purple was the headliner," adds Patricia Coture (née Cavanaugh), who attended the 1973 show.

"This is absolutely at the crescendo of their popularity," says Schivo, referring to Deep Purple.

Schivo was there as an observer after a compromise among promoter rivals.

"The Convention Authority, in their ultimate wisdom, took all four of us in room, and we all drew straws for who would get the first and fourth concerts, et.cetera," says Schivo. "The Deep Purple Show was the second one. I was the third."

This was Pattie Cavanaugh's 16th birthday. She rocked out to Rory Gallagher and Fleetwood Mac.

"And then we have a long wait," she recalls. "It seemed like one or two hours."

"They're not telling the audience anything," says Schivo. "Just those of us in the know can see that the stage is getting very barren. There's nothing going on."

"And then one guy came out and told us Deep Purple wasn't going to play because the lead singer was sick," continues Coture. "And his last words were, 'And there will be no refunds.' And people were angry."

Promoter Gary Naseef tried to calm the crowd by bringing Fleetwood Mac on stage again.

"But see, everybody was there really for Deep Purple, specifically," explains Coture.

"The first thing that happens is someone throws a chair up on stage," says Schivo.

"And a drink hit the stage and kind of hit Mick Fleetwood on his foot," continues Coture. "And he threw his drumsticks down and he flipped audience off with both hands. And that is when everything hit the fan."

"As the crowd poured out, they had chairs in their hands," says Schivo. "They went through windows. They ripped up sprinkler systems on the lawn. They overturned a cop car."

Schivo and Cavanaugh were both disappointed ... for different reasons.

"I had worked a long time to get to be one of the promoters to produce a show next with Cat Stevens at the Convention Center," sighs Schivo. "And I felt that brass ring slip through my hand, and I left."

"I thought it was scary, and I just wanted to get out," concludes Coture.

New, expensive security requirements ensured the Las Vegas Convention Center would never be the top rock concert venue here again. Shows were moved to the Ice Palace in Commercial Center, the Aladdin Theater for the Performing Arts, and eventually the MGM Grand Garden Arena - where Fleetwood Mac expects a well-behaved crowd this Saturday night.

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