Sept. 11 Concerts Will Be Scarce
With the one-year anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon looming, most artists touring the U.S. are planning a solemn day off for Sept. 11, Billboard reports in its JulyWith the one-year anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon looming, most artists touring the U.S. are planning a solemn day off for Sept. 11, Billboard reports in its July 27 issue. The Rolling Stones tour, which opens Sept. 3 in Boston, will skip that date, as will outings by Cher, the Goo Goo Dolls, Aerosmith, and Bonnie Raitt/Lyle Lovett. George Strait will wait until Sept. 12 to start his next trek, while tours by Bruce Springsteen, the Who, Jimmy Buffett, Santana, and Creed have all scheduled multi-week breaks that keep them off the road on Sept. 11.
Most in the touring community believe Americans will want to spend Sept. 11 quietly at home with their families. "I think that everyone -- agents, artists, promoters -- all felt the same way: We should not be playing that night this year," says Larry Vallon, senior VP of House of Blues Concerts. "The country's attention will be diverted elsewhere. They'll be solemnly remembering that day... Partying down with rock stars doesn't seem to be the most appropriate thing."
Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robby Takac says he wouldn't have minded playing that day, and that he was not involved in the decision not to. "The idea behind the whole [terrorist plot], you gotta remember, is to foil everyday life. So if we had had a show that day, I wouldn't have said I didn't want to play. Should you remember the day? Hell, yeah. But do I think everyone should sit in their house and be gloomy and mourn? No. I think that's counterproductive. I don't think you should interrupt life to acknowledge and act like that."
Booking giant Clear Channel Entertainment did not set a corporate policy for the date; however, few of its venues are booked for Sept. 11. One exception is Saratoga, Calif.'s Mountain Winery, which has slotted Jewel for that date. Explaining the policy, a spokesperson said the company "left everything up to the individual artist on how they wanted to commemorate that day."
Bluegrass singer Rhonda Vincent says she made a conscious decision to skip Sept. 11 during her current national outing, because "this will be a date that people want to give serious thought to." But she remembers how she went ahead with performing next to Andrews Air Force Base only four days after last year's tragedy -- "I thought there would be not one person there. But it was absolutely packed. It was the most incredible day" -- so she's not dismayed by those artists who are stepping out on Sept. 11, such as Jewel, and Kenny Rogers, who will perform that night at the Skyreach Centre in Edmonton.
TBA Entertainment's Charlie Brusco is readying two fund-raisers for families of the New York/New Jersey Port Authority Police victims, starring such bands as Styx, Bad Company, REO Speedwagon, and Survivor. But Brusco is planning the gigs -- one at East Rutherford, N.J.'s Continental Airlines Arena Exposition Center and another at Cleveland, Ohio's Gund Arena -- for October, not Sept. 11.
Several musical tributes appear to be in the works for Sept. 11. The President's Commission on the Arts and Humanities -- chaired by First Lady Laura Bush -- is developing "A Concert for America 2002" at Washington D.C.'s Kennedy Center. Pop and classical artists will be on the bill; details are not yet available.
New York's Madison Square Garden has put a hold on Sept. 11. Although a spokesperson for the facility declined to comment, Creative Artists Agency's John Huie says some of his artists have been asked to participate in a gospel-oriented affair, "An Evening of Hope and Grace," tentatively planned at the venue.
In addition, a group of Seattle singers is organizing a series of worldwide choir performances of Mozart's "Requiem" for Sept. 11, and already has 30 choirs around the world signed on. Each performance will begin at 8:46 a.m. locally -- the time of the first attack on the World Trade Center in New York -- starting at the International Date Line and moving westward. More information on the movement can be found at the official Rolling Requiem Web site.