Mother Nature Cancels NYC ‘Comeback’ Concert in Central Park
The show did not go on. Well, it didn’t get to finish, at least.
The weather was overcast leading up to “We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert,” a genre-spanning showcase produced by the city itself, in partnership with legendary music executive Clive Davis and Live Nation. The sun miraculously peeked out just minutes before the 5pm start time, a fitting metaphor as the show was designed to herald the return of city life in the face of the coronavirus. COVID19 has put the usually unflappable city through the wringer, emotionally and financially, among other ways. This was the city’s way of saying: we made it through together, let’s celebrate together.
The event had received criticism for its not-strict-enough COVID policies amid a rise in new cases connected to the spread of the Delta Variant. But that didn’t stop the enthusiastic promotions for the event, which was broadcast live on CNN. Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Jennifer Hudson, Barry Manilow, Andrea Boccelli, Run DMC, and others were all set to perform.
Join CNN tonight for a once in a lifetime concert event!
— CNN (@CNN) August 21, 2021
Around the two-hour mark, at 7:15 pm, a bolt of lightning struck nearby, to gasps in the crowd. As no doubt furious decision-making was going on behind the scenes, the night’s MC, DJ Cassidy, assured everyone the show would go on.
— Arlene Getz (@arlenegetz) August 22, 2021
Then, as if the audience was transported to a smokey cabaret, Manilow appeared to a rousing instrumental introduction before transitioning into “Copacabana,” as rain spattered the crowd. Soon, the downpour knocked out the power, and Manilow was left singing only to his band (later he sang a wry version of “I Made It Through the Rain” over the phone to host Anderson Cooper). Crowds bolted for the exits a full 90 minutes before Springsteen, Simon, and Patti Smith could hit the stage.
The event had plenty of vocal critics, but they weren’t complaining about the weather.
No better way to capture the mood of our "waning days of the American republic" moment than NYC trying to hold a huge celebratory concert for the end of the pandemic that gets canceled in the middle by storms ahead of a hurricane that's taking direct aim at the city.
— Damon Linker (@DamonLinker) August 22, 2021
— Let's Get Vaccinated 💉😷 (@damanda835) August 22, 2021
— Tara Dublin (@taradublinrocks) August 22, 2021