MILWAUKEE — A Patti LaBelle concert at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee came to an abrupt end Saturday night after a bomb threat, organizers said.
Videos posted to social media showed the star accepting flowers and chatting to an audience member who was celebrating her 70th birthday. “Got you by eight years,” LaBelle tells the audience member just before several people appear to escort her offstage.
“Wait!” LaBelle calls in the videos as confused audience members ask what happened.
The Pabst Theater Group, which operates the venue, said LaBelle’s show was “postponed following a bomb threat investigated by the Milwaukee Police Department.”
“We are thankful for the efforts of the Milwaukee Police Department and our customers and staff for their safe and orderly exit,” the group said in a statement posted to Twitter, adding that it was working with LaBelle to reschedule the show.
Police told WTMJ early Sunday morning that the theater was evacuated safely and searched by K-9 units. They said no explosives were found and there was no threat to the public.
Audience member Catherine Brunson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the packed theater was evacuated soon after LaBelle’s performance began.
“Somebody got on a microphone and said we have to evacuate the building because there was a bomb threat,” Brunson said. She shared video of the evacuation on Facebook Live, capturing a stream of people filing out of the venue. Later in the video, a crowd of audience members stood outside the building, which was by then surrounded by caution tape.
“This is crazy, y’all,” Brunson remarks several times in the video.
LaBelle, 78, had not addressed the evacuation publicly as of Sunday morning.