Maryland's Teresa Gunn Group had already played an impressive opening set at Lisner Auditorium Tuesday night when the production manager for the headlining Romantics took the stage at 9:40. "I have some bad news for you," he told the crowd. "For reasons beyond our control, the promoters have canceled the show. The Romantics came to play, but the show has been called off." He stalked off the stage without giving his name, and within minutes both he and the power-pop quartet from Detroit had left the building.

Howls of protest went up from the small, mostly student crowd, which had been dancing in the aisles to Gunn's music just minutes earlier. They clustered in the lobby, where a representative of the promoter, Concerts America, assured them they would all receive refunds.

Inside the production office, promoters Sia Shod and Mike Shreibman told their story. The Romantics' contract had required that they be paid in full in cash before going on, they said, but due to the low attendance (fewer than 300 in a 1,500-seat hall), there was not enough cash on hand to meet that requirement. The band's stage set was all in place and the musicians were prepared to go on, but no compromise could be reached.

"We tried to work out some way for the band to go on," Shod said. "We offered a check, but they wouldn't accept it." Shreibman added: "They weren't talking about anything but cash."