It probably wasn't the loudest event ever held in Madison Square Garden, but Friday's premiere of The Walking Dead season six was most likely, at times, the quietest.
More than 15,000 fans from all over the world converged on New York City's famous venue Friday night to get a chance to watch the season kick-off of AMC's popular show two days early.
The three-hour-or-so event opened with Yvette Nicole Brown (Community and die-hard TWD fan) taking the stage to thunderous applause as stand-in for Chris Hardwick, the host of post-show televised chat The Talking Dead.
Brown did a great job of running the audience through the evening's plans, warning them not to video the premiere or spoil it for the public, and promising an after-show cast interview that would be worth the wait.
Among the attendees were super fans, celebrities, AMC executives, employees from show creator Robert Kirkman's Skybound and even a few hundred folks who work on the show's grueling production in Georgia.
The evening's main event, the early premiere of season six — a season that Kirkman promises will be the most intense in the show's history — started about 8 p.m. to applause and cheers.
While I can't yet write about what I saw, I can say that watching the show with 15,000 or so other people changes the experience. At times it was like Rocky Horror Picture show light, with the audience cheering fan-favorites and cat-calling advice or gasping in unison to shocking moments. At other times, the vast arena was eerily quiet as thousands of fans seemed to hold their collective breath.
After the premiere ended, Brown came back on stage to introduce the current cast of the show and talk to them about what we had all just seen.
The cast, introduced in pairs or one at a time by Brown, all received loud ovations, but one of the loudest came for Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon) who made his entrance by driving down the center of the arena floor on a motorcycle.
The on-stage interview was broken up at times by audience questions, pre-filmed celebrity questions, the cast competing with one another over trivia questions and a number of surprise appearances.
Among the unannounced guests were Emily Kinney (Beth Greene), Jon Bernthal (Shane Walsh) and Michael Rooker (Merle Dixon). The event also included the first ever induction into The Walking Dead hall of fame.
Scott Wilson, who played Hershel Greene on the show, was introduced to accept the award live. Before he could finish giving his acceptance speech, though, David Morrissey, who as The Governor killed Greene, interrupted to first berate and then congratulate Wilson.
"I really enjoyed beheading you," he said at one point in character.
The event wrapped up with Brown getting all of the cast to stand on the stage together so fans could take what she hoped would be the biggest selfie ever.
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