YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

The Week Ahead

To play or not on Sept. 11

September 08, 2003|Geoff Boucher

In the concert industry, will the sounds of silence again greet Sept. 11?

In the wake of the terrorist attacks of 2001, the live music business was shuttered short-term and still shaky in the weeks that followed. It's now, two years out, back to business as usual, but the exception may be the anniversary of that day that life in America changed.

This Thursday, many of the biggest tours trucking across the country will go dark. Bruce Springsteen, Toby Keith, Fleetwood Mac and the tandem show of Aerosmith and KISS are among those taking it off.

Is the decision due to anxiety about security? Or deference to the somberness of the day? A bit of both, says Gary Bongiovanni of Pollstar, the concert industry magazine. But there isn't much of a stir about the matter, he adds.

"It will be quieter than a normal Thursday will be, but it's not something you're hearing everyone talk about," Bongiovanni says. "You know, most weeks the touring acts are playing just three, four or maybe five days, so there are going to be days off anyway. However minimal, there might be an elevated security risk on that day, and it's also difficult to gauge the mood of the country and whether it's a night they want to go out and party."

Some say that it is exactly the right night to go out and sing with a crowd. Andy Hewitt, one of the leading promoters in Los Angeles, has no shows on this Sept. 11 but said that's a function of coincidence, not plan.

"I wouldn't think twice about booking a show that day. It's important for everyone in the country to go on with their lives, and isn't the best way to memorialize the victims by not paying heed to the terrorists?"

There are plenty of acts that are playing on Sept. 11, among them Huey Lewis & the News locally, R.E.M., the Eagles and Willie Nelson elsewhere. "We play on Pearl Harbor Day," Hewitt said, "so we should all go out and pray that nothing like it ever happens again."

-- Geoff Boucher

Los Angeles Times Articles