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Pics; @MaryJBlige Rocks the House for Opening Night at Fillmore Silver Spring

September 16, 2011

Hundreds of fans lined up along Fenton and Cameron streets Thursday evening in anticipation of watching Grammy-award winning artist Mary J. Blige electrify the stage during the first performance for the Fillmore Silver Spring.

One fan was so excited and determined to be the first person in line that he started an early journey on Metro from his home in Anacostia, D.C.

Darren Green said he was standing in front of the Fillmore Silver Spring by around 3:45 p.m. He watched Montgomery County Police officers and Fillmore security guards set up barricades, the rollout of the red carpet and other finishing touches being made to the venue.
Green said it was worth his time.

“I think this concert was absolutely wonderful," he said. "To have [Mary J. Blige perform her album] My Life in its entirety spoke volumes to me."

Crystal Jones drove from Northern Virginia to watch the performance and said she had a good time but that the performance could have been extended.
“I loved it, however, it was quite short,” she said.

Jones said she enjoyed Blige's treat to the audience. The artist sang one of her new songs, "25/8." The song's title refers to the amount of hours in a day and days in a week that she needs in order to show her love to her man. The song is part of an album that will be released in October.

But Jones wasn’t the only concert attendee who thought the performance could have been longer. Linda Callist, a Takoma Park resident, said she thought it would start much sooner than around 9 p.m.
“We stood in line in the cold, and she did one album," Callist said. "That’s not cool, and I paid $100.”
To be fair, Callist said she didn’t want to blame the delay on Blige, and she understands it was opening night for the new music venue. Despite her concerns, she will patronize the business again, she added.
A request by Patch for a comment about the concert's start time was denied.

Police Take Proactive Security Measures
Additional police officers were ushered in to assist with the crowd of 2,000 people to ensure they safely crossed the streets and exited the music venue.

Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said in order to make sure opening night went smoothly, the department wanted to be proactive.

“We wanted to make that we channeled the crowd so they could get in and out safely,” Manger said.
Some of the additional measures included putting up barricades to guide the crowd away from flooding the streets, staffing crossing guards and putting an additional 12 officers out to help monitor the crowds.

Did you attend Thursday's show at the Fillmore? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.

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