20 Years Ago: Britney Spears Asks Lubbock Not to Boo After Canceling a Show After Two Songs
You might have missed it, but a major Lubbock anniversary passed this week.
That's right, on June 14th, 2002, Britney Spears performed "Oops I Did It Again" and "(You Drive Me) Crazy" before going to the back for a quick costume change.
When she returned to the stage in a new costume, Spears told the audience the show would not continue.
"There were little kids crying, they only got to watch her play two songs. My cousin was crying and she is 17," a Britney Spears fan told KCBD in 2002.
The show was held at the United Supermarkets Arena, or as it was called at the time, the United Spirit Arena. It's said that thousands of fans were confused and disappointed after they were made aware that the show was ending after just two songs.
A YouTube user by the name of tragictwo recounted the night in the comment section of a video showing Spears performing in Lubbock.
"Actually was at this show. Man when she came out and told the audiance that that could not go on with the show I thought the place was gonna riot," tragictwo wrote.
Good thing Lime Scooters didn't exist in 2002, amiright?
Tragictwo continued: "Moms were pissed off!! Little girls were crying. It was so loud."
That sounds like a terrible experience. Other Britney Spears fans in attendance were quoted on KCBD's story about the cancellation:
"She laughed about it when she went off stage. She said 'don't boo' and then she just walked off, we thought it was a joke."
"She just gets out and says 'don't boo.' She didn't even explain herself."
Was there ever an answer about the sudden cancellation? Kent Meredith, the manager of the USA at the time, said that it was Spears' team that called off the show and that the show could have continued. He also said the USA staff was not consulted in the decision.
According to the Daily Toreador from July 2002, "Despite pleas from USA officials, Spears will not return to Lubbock. Concertgoers received refunds instead of a return performance."
Eventually, the cancellation was blamed on a blown transformer that made the rest of the show unsafe to perform. However, there are legends of sparks of another kind getting in the way of the show continuing.
If you go back to the pop culture landscape of June 2002, Spears and Justin Timberlake had broken up in March and it was the biggest story in the world. Literally. I know people say that, but in the world before social media that story is legit viral. It's all anyone wanted to talk about with the pair.
Legend has it that then Texas Tech Football QB1 Kliff Kingsbury and his backup BJ Symons were at the show in the front row. I asked Symons about the experience and he said he felt like Spears might have just not felt like doing the show so she canceled it. Symons then confirmed that Kingsbury had gotten onto the tour bus with Spears at some point.
Erik Burkhardt, Kingsbury's agent and college friend, was on a podcast with Johnny Manziel and Kingsbury several years ago and claimed that Kliff had an autographed photo of Ms. Spears on his bathroom mirror in college that said, "Make room for the Heisman" with heart eyes on it. Burkhardt said she signed it for him in Lubbock and that Kingsbury left the bus with a "cockeyed smirk" on his face.
We'll never know the real story of the cancellation that seemed premature, but we do know there have been plenty of shows that rocked the USA since Britney Spears, and the transformers always handled the load.