By Friday morning, power began to flicker on across the areas affected by Thursday’s massive power outage, but the repercussions of the biggest blackout in North American history stretched into the weekend, forcing the rescheduling of concerts and appearances all across the East Coast, Midwest and Canada.
Among the acts affected by the loss of power were Radiohead, the Libertines, Aaron Carter and Hanson, all of whom had to cancel weekend shows.
Radiohead’s sold-out Saturday gig with Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks at the Molson Amphitheater in Toronto was canceled two nights after Steely Dan were forced to pull the plug on their show there. The hat trick came courtesy of a scratched sold-out show by Hanson at Toronto’s Guvernment club on Saturday night. Information on refunds and rescheduled dates for all three are pending, according to a spokesperson for House of Blues Canada.
The Dandy Warhols were slated to perform on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” on Thursday but were bumped to Friday when the New York show was unable to go on the air due to the blackout. Friday night’s slot had opened up because the scheduled musical guests, the 24-member Polyphonic Spree, were unable to load in their gear in time due to the power failure. The Sex Pistols were bumped from their late-night appearance Friday on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” but their spokesperson said the veteran punkers fell victim to immigration, not power, problems.
Kelly Rowland’s Friday appearance on “TRL” to promote “Jason Vs. Freddy” was also canceled, though the Destiny’s Child singer called in on Monday (August 18) to discuss the slasher film’s surprise #1 showing over the weekend (see ” ’Freddy Vs. Jason’ Bludgeons The Box-Office Competition” ). Also falling victim to the blackout were punks the Fever, who were unable to play a show at Sin-E in New York on Friday night.
Like the Indigo Girls, who managed to play a gig at New York’s Summerstage on Thursday night thanks to a generator, indie rockers Ted Leo & the Pharmacists resorted to backup power to play a show at the South Street Seaport’s Pier 17 on the first night of the power failure. The bandmembers were set to go on at 6 p.m. and were ready to cancel when a Starbucks truck with a pair of generators drove up and lent some juice to the Pharmacists’ PA system.
According to a post on the band’s Web site, “It was a little odd playing to mostly people who just kind of stumbled down to the seaport to wait for ferries … but it was really quite an amazing evening nonetheless.” Leo said people got out of their cars on the FDR highway overpass and watched the show as they sat in traffic and more than 500 stranded commuters were treated to one of the only live events in the city that night. Leo was so overwhelmed by emotion at the end of the gig that he said he gave away all of the band’s T-shirts to stranded commuters.
Teen pop singer Aaron Carter was not as lucky, as he was forced to cancel his show in Wantaugh, New York, at Jones Beach Amphitheater on Thursday night. Information about a rescheduled date has not yet been announced, his spokesperson said.
Bob Dylan has rescheduled his August 14 show at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom for August 20, according to the folk legend’s official Web site.
Pop punkers Rufio showed a bit of the can’t-stop-the-rock spirit, shooting the video for their upcoming single, “White Lights,” on the roof of an eight-story Brooklyn building with the mostly dark New York skyline and blackened Williamsburg Bridge as backdrops. The director and crew had to spend hours lugging equipment up the steps because the building’s elevator was out, a spokesperson for the band said.
The Bouncing Souls got caught in the middle of the Canadian blackout zone, but they also toughed their way through it with some ingenuity and tenacity. The Souls played an acoustic show on Thursday night in the powerless Ottawa at the Babylon without touring partner Hot Water Music. Both bands were able to make their Friday night shows in Toronto at the Opera House, though showtimes were pushed up just in case rolling blackouts hit, according to an Epitaph Records spokesperson. Both bands made it back to Ottawa on Sunday to play a full, plugged-in make-up show at the Babylon.
Saturday night’s inaugural Labatt Blue Hometown Bash in London, Ontario, had a superstar lineup featuring Korn, Nickelback, Simple Plan and American Hi-Fi. Unfortunately, the area also had rolling four-hour blackouts as power was coming back on. As a precaution, the entire six-hour show was run on a pair of massive generators, just in case the juice dropped out midway through.
The cancellations could cost bands, venues and promoters millions, said Pollstar Editor in Chief Gary Bongiovanni. “If you think of the size of the markets effected … it’s huge,” he said. “And it’s not just those cities, but bands in those cities who were not able to go to the next city for a show, even when the power was back on. Even with rescheduled dates, you are looking at millions in losses and significant out-of-pocket expenses … probably the biggest since September 11.”
Before the weekend hit, the unexpected loss of power had already derailed a number of high profile shows in Detroit (see “Largest North American Blackout In History K.O.’s Summer Tours” ), among them an eagerly anticipated hometown reunion show by punk pioneers the Stooges on Thursday, as well as Friday stops by the Kiss/Aerosmith tour and Tori Amos’ latest outing.
The Stooges have rescheduled for August 25, Amos will perform Monday night and the Kiss/Aerosmith show — the only stadium date on the veteran bands’ summer tour — is tentatively rescheduled for September 7.