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Ludacris lights up Cameron

Despite a light crowd, the Ludacris concert in Cameron Indoor Stadium came off without a hitch Tuesday as the largely student audience was well behaved and Duke University Union officials said most came away satisfied with the show.

Dylan Ashbrook, chair of the Union's Major Attractions committee, estimated about half the seats available had been sold. The upper level of the arena was largely empty, and students in attendance guessed that perhaps a third to half of seats were filled.

"Nobody really expected us to hit the upper limits of [sales for] these concerts," Union President Jonathan Bigelow said. "The concern was not selling Cameron out. The goal was having a really successful concert that was incident-free, and Duke students--a good number of them--enjoyed themselves immensely."

Final sales numbers will be released later this week, but Bigelow indicated that student sales were considerably more robust than sales in the Durham area. He said of the estimated crowd of nearly 3,000, about 2,500 were students, and that the Union was relatively inexperienced in marketing events to the non-Duke community.

Still, both Bigelow and Ashbrook said the show itself was "awesome" and Ashbrook said Ludacris himself was pleased with the event.

"I was there when he got off stage," Ashbrook said. "He just said 'That was hot,' and he loved it."

Duke University Police Department officers said late Tuesday night that no safety- or security-related incident had transpired, and that members of the audience had behaved like "model citizens."

Major Burnice Parker of the DUPD said the concert was also a success from a safety and security standpoint. "Nobody got hurt, nobody got arrested," he said.

He said security at the arena was just like that of a basketball game, except for the addition of metal detectors, which he said were necessary "post-9/11."

Parker, who is responsible for security at events at Cameron and elsewhere, said he and his staff considered that a number of outside elements from around the Triangle area would be present at the public event.

Some attributed the concert's light attendance to the fact that it took place on a Wednesday at a time in the semester when many students are facing tests.

"I would have gone to the Ludacris concert, but I had class at 7 [p.m.] Also I have a math test tomorrow," said junior Krupal Bhatt. "If it was on the weekend, I would definitely have gone."

Bigelow said having the concert on a weekday was "a wash," since he said although some people would have preferred a weekend night, the presence of more social options would have hurt attendance. Overall, more students attended the Ludacris concert than can attend a typical basketball game in Cameron.

A major concert had not taken place there for nearly a decade--partly due to a former discouragement from the athletic department. Some doubt existed before the concert as to whether Cameron was suitable as a musical venue, after Director of Athletics Joe Alleva called the acoustics "poor."

Many who went to the concert, however, said they thought the sound quality was just fine.

"It sounded like they had some problems with the equipment, but Cameron was rocking, especially with a crowd that wasn't huge," said junior Ellen McGinnis. "I thought it sounded really powerful." Don't forget to check out Recess' coverage too!

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