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Review: Lupe Fiasco ends Salt Lake City show after being hit with a tomato

Published November 26, 2013 8:48 am

Review • Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco lives up to his name after comments prompt accusations of misogyny.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Note: This article contains explicit language.

A hurled tomato abruptly ended Lupe Fiasco's Salt Lake City concert Saturday night then led to a fierce debate over what some called the rapper's misogynistic response.

Fiasco took the stage about 10:30 p.m. at The Depot, but abruptly cut the show short at 11:22 p.m. when someone from the east balcony threw a tomato at him. Fiasco pointed at the balcony, wiped himself off and called out the assailant as a "fat, white bitch."

That much of the incident was captured in a video posted to YouTube by Ashlee Garcia. If you skip to about 1:55, you'll see Fiasco turn as if watching something fly by him. The song peters out a couple seconds later and Fiasco points to the balcony while the crowd starts shouting. (Note: There's plenty of explicit language in the video.)

Fiasco calls out the woman he believes threw the tomato at about 3:15 into the video. About the time this was happening, Depot security were running around the balcony, apparently trying to find the tomato thrower.

The incident only escalated from there. Though Fiasco initially said he planned to continue performing, he ordered The Depot balconies cleared. The command sparked a shouting match between attendees on the floor, who wanted the concert to continue, and those in the balconies who didn't want to leave. Several people in the balconies also flipped off Fiasco and gestured in defiance, though at least one of them later apologized on Twitter saying he didn't realize what had happened.

Depot staff rushed to clear the balconies, and a manager said afterward that they succeeded in getting most of the upper level concert-goers onto the venue floor. The damage, however, was already done; with a handful of people still on the balcony several minutes later — and after several threats to walk off — Fiasco ordered the house lights back on and stormed away.

Much of the audience remained staring at the stage, apparently stunned and assuming he would return. He didn't. Several more minutes passed and finally the stage crew emerged and removed the gear.

In the aftermath, many fans took to Twitter to express support for Fiasco's very understandable frustration over being pelted with fruit.

But others were less sympathetic to the gender-tinged language he used.

Though Fiasco's Twitter profile is protected, one of his followers tweeted a picture from his account showing the explanation he broadcast: "I call her a 'fat white bitch' cuz she was a fat white bitch...once you throw things you become a bitch...who just happens to be fat & white."

Website Hip Hop Morning took screen shots of Fiasco's other tweets, which show a lengthy rant using more of the same language.

Though the comments seem sadly normal compared to much of what goes on in pop culture, they're surprising coming from Fiasco. In his song "Bitch Bad" — from 2012 — he overtly goes after hip hop misogyny in general and the use of the word "bitch" in particular. Fiasco performed the song Saturday night just minutes before the tomato-throwing incident. The song also is just one of many instances in which Fiasco apparently invited the world to hold him to a higher standard.

A manager at The Depot later said Fiasco's decision to end the show early may not have robbed the audience of much as he was just minutes from finishing anyway. The manager also said The Depot does not serve anything with tomatoes and they searched everyone who came into the venue, meaning the thrower had to sneak in the tomato.

Fan Chrystian Gonzales thought Fiasco might still be willing to come back to Salt Lake City in the future. Gonzales, who drove from Kearns to see the show and arrived more than three hours early so he would be first in line, didn't seem to hold the aborted ending against Fiasco. Gonzales generally enjoyed the concert and said each of Fiasco's appearances in Salt Lake City have grown his audience.

Fiasco last passed through Utah in 2011 to close that year's Twilight Concert Series.

As for the rest of Saturday's show, it was pretty decent — though it will certainly be overshadowed in most people's minds by the dramatic, confrontational finale. If there was any winner from the evening, it was opener Dee-1, who just signed his first record deal weeks ago. The New Orleans-based rapper book-ended the show with a delightful set and, after the tomato-throwing incident, a genuinely charming and impromptu autograph signing session from the stage.

jdalrymple@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jimmycdii