Security a top priority at Ariana Grande show

Fans must bring belongings in clear plastic bags; show is her first since terrorist attack in England
Ariana Grande performing last year in Washington; inset, an example of a clear plastic bag sold on her website.
Ariana Grande performing last year in Washington; inset, an example of a clear plastic bag sold on her website.

Categories: Entertainment

Keeping concert-goers safe has become an increasing focus in the music industry, especially for Ariana Grande. 

Grande is one of the biggest names in pop music–if not the biggest–at the moment. She’ll be performing at the Times Union Center on Monday, March 18 and told fans that her team will be increasing security measures, asking fans to purchase clear plastic bags to carry their belongings into the venue.

“Security is going to be very precise and smooth but for sure super strict,” Grande posted on her Instagram account earlier this year, catching the eyes of her 148 million followers. 

Her “thank u, next” tour is the first since 2017’s “Dangerous Woman” tour, during which her concert at the Manchester Arena was bombed. The terrorist attack killed 22 and injured over 100 people. In that same year, a shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas left 59 people dead and over 500 injured. 

Many promoters and musicians have been spending more on security and on figuring out solutions to keep concert-goers safe. 

It’s something that Jack Geary Jr. can get behind. 

He’s been the security manager at the Times Union Center since 1990, handling security for popular sporting events and performances by bands like Metallica and Mumford and Sons. This March is one of the busiest he can remember since starting at the TU Center, making for many long days in a row.  

A month or so before each show, he meets with the band or artist’s team about what their security needs are. Each is a bit different. For Metallica, Geary had to have 38 security guards by the stage and for Elton John, who performed earlier this month, he only needed six. 

But the Grande show has a few requirements beyond the number of security guards. She’s asking fans to put all their belongings into clear plastic bags. That includes cell phones, wallets, keys and any other essentials. 

“I think this is the way of the future,” Geary said. For every New York Giants football game at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey fans are required to put their belongings in plastic bags, said Geary. 

Ariana Grande’s show is not the first time the TU Center has been asked to do that either. When handling the New York State Bar Exam, all students had to do the same thing. 

Every attendee is going to have to go through the magnetometer, as they’ve had to do since it was first installed there in 2015. Anyone who brings belongings in will have to hold the bag above their head as they’re scanned. 

In Ariana Grande’s Instagram post about the clear plastic bag rule, she wore a clear plastic fanny pack but wrote that bags of other styles will be accepted. They just can’t be bigger than 12 by 6 by 12 inches and have to be clear plastic, not tinted with colors or covered with designs. 

“We are going to be posting signs on the perimeter to advise patrons,” Geary said. That way people have a chance to go back to their cars. If they’re heading in on a train or bus and don’t have any other place to put their things, Geary said that they will offer a coat check. But that’s a last resort. 

“We’re trying to get the message out there,” Geary said, “We want the kids to have fun and we just want to keep them safe. For some, it’ll be their first concert.” 

They expect about 12,000 people to attend the show. Geary said that the TU Center communicates with the authorities in Albany and that there have been no threats regarding the concert. 

For more information about the show and security visit

Know before you go:

  • No signs will be allowed into the concert. 
  • All personal belongings must be in clear plastic bags. 
  • No cameras or recording devices are allowed (cellphones with cameras are allowed)
  • No umbrellas allowed
  • People can use Ziploc or similar sealable bags

More about Ariana Grande:

  • She is the first artist since The Beatles to hold the top three spots on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart at the same time. The songs, all from her new album “Thank U, Next” that was released in February, were “7 Rings” in the No. 1 spot, “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored” at No. 2, and the record’s title track at No. 3. The Beatles held the top trio for five weeks in March and April of 1964, and monopolized the entire top five on the April 4, 1964 chart. That week, the Fab Four’s hits, from No. 1 to No. 5, were “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Twist and Shout,” “She Loves You,” “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” and “Please Please Me.”
  • Grande won her first Grammy last month, scoring Best Pop Vocal Album for 2018’s “Sweetener.” She wasn’t in-house to pick it up though, reportedly opting to skip the ceremony over creative differences with a show producer over what she should sing.
  • Late last year, Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” video smashed YouTube’s all-time record for most views in the first 24 hours of release, with 55.4 million views. It eclipsed the previous record of 45.9 million by K-pop supergroup BTS for their song “Idol.”
  • She has many widely viewed videos on YouTube. As of March 12, her “Side to Side” performance with Nicki Minaj has totaled 1.5 billion views and “Problem,” featuring Iggy Azalea, had accumulated 1.1 billion views. Her singles “Focus” (823 million views) and “No Tears Left to Cry” (759 million views) are also among her most-viewed videos.
  • She has a four-octave soprano vocal range and cites Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston as her major influences.
  • She is reportedly the most followed woman on Instagram.
  • Grande, 25, was born in Boca Raton, Fla.
  • As a child she performed with the Fort Lauderdale Children’s Theater.
  • In 2009, she was cast  in the Nickelodeon series “Victorious,” gaining teen idol status. She then starred in the Nickelodeon show “Sam & Cat,” which ended production in July 2014.

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