Getting Popped: Fight breaks out at the Opening Night at Pops

No disrespect to the esteemed Boston Pops, but it’s been a while since one of their performances really got my heart racing.

Until last night.

Midway through a musical tribute to Oscar and Tony winners at Wednesday’s Opening Night at Pops — an event which, it should be noted, draws the coiffed and coutured benefactor set — a scream from the balcony brought Keith Lockhart’s baton to an unexpected halt.

In an age of terrorism and Virginia Tech, a woman’s scream inside hallowed Symphony Hall, followed by scuffles and gasps, turned my blood cold. For the 15 seconds that it took to figure out where the disturbance was coming from, panic rose in my throat. Was someone sick? Had an audience member pulled a gun? Was someone falling from the balcony? A decade ago, my pulse might’ve remained steady; last night it did not.

When it all came into focus, necks craned towards the third balcony, where two men were throwing wild punches as their seat mates tried to pull them apart — ripping off one of the combatant’s shirts in the process. It was no less odd than if a mosh pit had developed at a Boston Ballet performance at the Wang Theatre.

And then, as quickly as it began, it was over. The brawling pair was ushered out. Keith Lockhart nodded and lifted his baton. The music resumed.

— Tamara Wieder


(Look for expanded coverage -- including interviews with Keith Lockhart as well as two New England Patriots who happened to be in attendance -- tomorrow.)

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