The Concert That Counts has no Madonna, is still awaiting an official announcement from the White House and may not take place in the Rose Bowl.
The 11-hour anti-drug concert whose promoters hope to telecast live from the 105,000-seat Pasadena stadium on April 26 hit one snag after another this week, beginning with a stern and stolid Pasadena Board of City Directors.
The board, which acts as Pasadena's city council, voted 6-0 late Monday to stick to a tough 30-page draft contract for use of the Rose Bowl for the rock concert, despite a last-minute plea from promoter Hal Uplinger to ease the terms.
Dave Jacobs, acting director of the municipal department that oversees Rose Bowl rental, told the board that Uplinger, president of Global Media Ltd., telephoned just before the Monday meeting to ask for renegotiation.
Uplinger told Jacobs that the flat rental fee of $175,000 combined with security and maintenance cost of $265,000 that the city is demanding is at least $100,000 higher than similar fees other arenas would charge.
"I would get the impression that they (the promoters) are seeking to consider some other venue," Pasadena Vice Mayor John Crowley told The Times on Tuesday. "I don't think it (the contract) will come before the board again. The concert will either go forward on the basis of the contract we have now or it won't go at all."
Uplinger and his partner, television producer Tony Verna, were out of town and unavailable for comment Tuesday. The two men were responsible for the international telecast of last summer's hugely successful Live Aid concert. Global Media spokesman Leigh Bonnelle said, however, the Rose Bowl remains one of three sites that the Marina del Rey-based company is considering for the concert. The other two previously reported sites are the L.A. Coliseum and the Silver Dome in Pontiac, Mich.
"We did speak to them (the Pasadena board) Monday and basically all we said was we were in the process of evaluating the contract," she said. "We found that there was a lot more to do than we thought. There's nothing wrong; we're just in the process of evaluating contracts."
During the public-comment portion of Monday's board meeting, a Rose Bowl area resident who identified himself as a bass player for pop vocalist James Taylor told the board that he had spoken with representatives of several of the acts that were listed on Global Media promotional brochure as "confirmed" or "expected" and found that they were not planning to appear on the program.
Bass player Lee Sklar told the board that Don Henley, Sheena Easton and his own band that plays backup to Taylor were not planning to be at the concert.
In addition, Madonna, the biggest name listed on the "confirmed" list distributed among the Pasadena city directors was never confirmed and will probably not be there, according to her manager.
"I'm sure they were led to believe by Global that Madonna would be there, but she's doing a movie right now and it's running slightly off schedule. So I doubt she'll even be in the city," her manager Freddy DeMann told The Times late last week.
DeMann said that several weeks ago a local concert promoter had made a cursory and informal inquiry about Madonna's participation in the Concert That Counts. From that point, DeMann said his "maybe" reply mushroomed into Madonna's name climbing to the top of Global Media's "confirmed" talent list, which was distributed among Pasadena officials.
"She's not confirmed," DeMann said.
Global Media's Verna and Uplinger said two weeks ago that First Lady Nancy Reagan would call a White House press conference to announce her endorsement of the concert and to reveal the official talent lineup. Monday was the tentative date given for the White House announcement.
Bonnelle said Tuesday that Global officials "anticipate that (the announcement) could be this week. It's moving, moving. . . ."
She said that all other details surrounding the concert are being kept confidential.