MORBID ANGEL On Illinois Roof Collapse: 'We Lost A Brother In Metal Last Night'

April 1, 2023

MORBID ANGEL has postponed its concert tonight (Saturday, April 1) in Joliet, Illinois, one day after one person was killed and at least 28 were injured, five of them severely, when the roof of the venue the band played in Belvidere, Illinois collapsed.

Earlier today, MORBID ANGEL released the following statement via social media: "On behalf of MORBID ANGEL, we want to first and foremost send our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the individual who tragically lost their life last night in the venue roof collapse due to heavy winds from a Tornado.

"We lost a brother in Metal last night, and many were hurt and injured in this tragedy. We would like to express how truly thankful we are for those in attendance (Fans, Venue Staff, Bands and Crew) that assisted with getting people out and to safety. We want to thank the First responders (Fire, EMT, Police) that were on the scene quickly and were able to help in getting people out of the venue and to hospitals for treatment as quickly as possible. YOU ARE TRUE HEROES!

"At this time our minds continue to remain with all those who were injured and hospitalized, as well as everyone who was effected by the storms in the surrounding area. We truly hope for a fast recovery of all who were injured.

"As a result of the events of last night, we are working to re-scheduling tonight's show in Joliet, IL to Wednesday April 5th. With that said, our focus remains with the Victims of this terrible storm."

A 50-year-old man was killed in the collapse, officials announced. Of the 28 who were injured, two had life-threatening injuries, while two others had severe injuries, 18 had moderate injuries, and five had minor injuries.

The Belvidere Police Department said 260 people were in the venue when the collapse occurred as a heavy storm rolled through the area. The capacity of the theater is around 1,500.

Officials were notified by the National Weather Service of a tornado warning at 7:45 p.m. CT. The roof collapsed ten minutes later, according to Belvidere Fire Department chief Shawn Schadle.

Belvidere police chief Shane Woody described the scene when police arrived as "chaos. Absolute chaos. When officers are first on the scene, when the fire department and first responders get here, they do the best they can to control the chaos as much as possible," he said. "But ultimately, we go in, and ultimately try and find people, and save as many people as we possibly can — and bring them to safety as best as we can."

One person who was inside the theater when the collapse happened told Rockford Scanner: "It was in between sets. The first band had just played. People were going outside to smoke. And then all the people came running back in, 'cause the rain started coming down real heavy. Then all of a sudden the door that they came out of was swinging back and forth, slamming super hard. All the power went out in the building and the entire ceiling collapsed on everybody in the front area — right at the stage, on the stage, the people behind the stage; that sector of the building. When it came down, it blew me out towards the exit door. I crawled out a hole through the door and I escaped without a scratch; I don't know how I did. But there's definitely casualties and 50, about a hundred wounded — severely. It's horrible."

"Initially, I was confused because it felt like an earthquake, and I was thinking, 'Why would there be an earthquake right now?'" an audience member at the concert who narrowly escaped injury told The New York Times. "As soon as that happened. I watched as the entire roof collapsed on everybody, basically right where we were standing."

The concert was part of MORBID ANGEL's 2023 U.S. tour, featuring support acts CRYPTA, SKELETAL REMAINS and REVOCATION.

According to the venue's official Facebook page, doors were scheduled to open at 6:00 p.m., with CRYPTA set to perform at 7 p.m., SKELETAL REMAINS at 7:45 p.m., REVOCATION at 8:40 p.m. and MORBID ANGEL at 9:40 p.m.

The collapse was reported as severe storms with 90 mph winds blew through the area.

According to local reports, at least 20 ambulances were dispatched to the theater, which is located roughly 14 miles outside of the city of Rockford.

Photos and video taken at the venue show that the theater's marquee and façade had crashed on to the street, with debris littering the area as first responders worked to help the injured.

Belvidere is located in Boone County, about 72 miles from Chicago.

The Apollo Theatre opened in 1921 as a stage play, movie, and vaudeville venue.

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