Soul icon Patti LaBelle was abruptly whisked off stage during a Christmas concert at Riverside Theater in Milwaukee on Saturday amid reports of a bomb threat in the area.
Audience-captured footage from the incident shows LaBelle talking with a fan in the crowd as two men appear and quickly escort the 78-year-old singer off of the stage.
“Regarding the bomb threat in the 100 block of W. Wisconsin, all patrons have been safely evacuated,” wrote Milwaukee Police Department captain Warren E. Allen in a statement, as tweeted by reporter Drake Bentley. “Police are clearing the facility at this time. The investigation is fluid and ongoing.”
As reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Allen’s initial statement, which he emailed at roughly 10:30 p.m. Saturday, was followed up the following morning at about 1:15 a.m. with a statement confirming that K-9 units searched the building and “no explosive devices were discovered.”
Pabst Theater Group, which organized the holiday concert, tweeted that the show was officially postponed due to the threat, and that the group is working with LaBelle to reschedule.
LaBelle has not yet addressed the situation publicly.
Scott Pierce, who was in the audience on Saturday, told the Journal Sentinel that the crowd was largely stunned by the suddenness of the stoppage.
“It happened so quickly,” Pierce told the outlet. “Everybody very calmly exited the theater in a disbelieving manner. I heard lots of comments about how sad it was that someone would pull such a pathetic stunt.”
“Before the incident the crowd was really enjoying Patti,” he added. “Just sad that someone does this.”
LaBelle, also known as the “Godmother of Soul,” received the Music Icon Award at the inaugural “theGrio Awards presented by Byron Allen” in Beverly Hills, California on Oct. 22.
The Grammy winner was showered with musical tribute performances throughout the evening and graced the stage for her own performances during the show’s finale.
LaBelle shined with a solo performance of “If You Only Knew,” and was joined on stage by Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams and Queen Latifah to cover “Superwoman,” a song she also covered in 1991 with Gladys Knight and Dionne Warwick.
Watch LaBelle perform “If You Only Knew” below.
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