As the second anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks
approaches, some artists have elected to avoid playing shows Thursday night. Three of
the summer's biggest tours, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Kiss/
Aerosmith, and Cher have scheduled an off-day for Thursday, while the House of
Blues is keeping the doors closed at its major venues in the U.S. in
honor of the solemn day.
Springsteen will perform in Toronto on Wednesday, then stay off the road
until a Saturday show in Landover, Maryland. Kiss and Aerosmith play West Palm
Beach, Florida, on Friday, after taking more than five days off on their summer
juggernaut. Others skipping Thursday bookings include country star Toby Keith
and boomer faves Fleetwood Mac. Godsmack avoided the anniversary entirely by
booking the kickoff of their upcoming tour for September 12 in Buffalo, New York.
Though not all bands are necessarily avoiding the date because of its
association with the attacks, the anniversary holds a strong place in people's minds
and has become a day to reflect and honor the dead. Also, the threat of new
attacks on large gatherings continues to serve as something of a deterrent for
some acts, said Pollstar editor-in-chief Gary Bongiovanni.
"Most tours only work four days a week anyway, but if you look at the
calendar and see it's September 11, you think it has some significance and possibly a
slightly elevated security risk and you factor that into your thinking,"
Bongiovanni said. "With all the remembrances and the mood of the day, you may
think, 'This is not the best time for my artist to perform.' So you just make it a
For others, the opposite might be true, Bongiovanni said. Thursday could be
seen as the perfect opportunity to not alter their lives and attempt to go
forward even as we remember the tragic day.
Such was the case for R.E.M. The veteran band needed to fill a date between a
Los Angeles show on Wednesday night and a gig in Denver on Saturday and,
because of the way their tour was routed, Sin City was their only option. "There's
no real significance to us playing or not playing [that date], other than
that is where it fell in the routing on our tour," said R.E.M. manager Bertis
Downs of the band's gig at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas on Thursday.
"We have respect for what happened, but we didn't avoid it or go out of our way
looking to play [on it], either."
R.E.M. are among a number of major acts that are playing on September 11,
among them the Eagles, Goo Goo Dolls, Dashboard Confessional and Willie Nelson.
Others performing around the U.S. on Thursday include Andrew W.K., Kings of Leon and Damien Rice.
The Take Action Tour, which will benefit the suicide awareness and prevention program the National Hopeline Network 1-800-SUICIDE, kicks off on September 11 in Minneapolis. That trek features Thursday, Avenged Sevenfold and others (see "Thursday, Avenged Sevenfold, Poison The Well Take Action Against Suicide").
One group personally affected by the terror attacks is approaching the day as
a way to pay tribute to a friend. New York funk band Afroskull will play the
Paradise Lounge on Thursday, with all proceeds going to the Paul J. Battaglia
Memorial Scholarship Fund, in honor of a friend of the band who worked at the
World Trade Center. Hard rockers Hatebreed, Madball, Ringworm, Embrace Today,
Some Kind of Hate and My Revenge will play a benefit for the "Families of
September 11" at the Mass Skate in Westfield, Massachusetts, on Thursday night as
The House of Blues is observing the somber holiday its own way, by not
booking shows at any of its 20-plus large venues. "There is no company policy
regarding booking shows this Thursday," said Jack Gannon, senior vice president of
marketing for HOB. "But there are no shows scheduled for that day in the U.S.
at our large concert venues. A lot of that is driven by whether the artists
want to play or not. There's still a heightened sensitivity to playing on that
Unlike last year's many televised tributes and specials, network programmers
are mostly steering clear of 9-11 events this year, with the broadcast networks sticking to their regular prime-time schedules.
New York is also reducing September 11 commemorations from last year. The
largest public event will be a reading of the names of the more than 2,900
victims in the WTC attacks by their surviving children and family members at Ground
Zero. The two light beams that shone into the sky for the six-month anniversary of the attacks will be illuminated for the night. President Bush will attend
a special church service and observe a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., which is when
the first plane struck the WTC. In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, a bell will sound
at 10:06 a.m. at the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel to commemorate the time at
which one of the hijacked planes was reported down in that area.