Hurricane Henri interrupts Barry Manilow’s New York performance at COVID recovery concert

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NEW YORK – This time Barry Manilow didn’t survive the rain.

Unlike the Grammy-winning artist’s 1980 hit, “I Made It Through Rain,” the superstar-laden “Homecoming Concert” in New York City’s Central Park was canceled due to dangerous weather conditions as the hurricane Henri was approaching from the northeast on Saturday.

Manilow started playing “Can’t Smile Without You” as part of a medley of his hits when the ad interrupted his performance, ordering spectators to immediately leave the park and take cover. The singer continued, not realizing what was going on at first.

Organizers reiterated in public that spectators “move calmly to the nearest exits and move to areas outside the park.”

FOLLOWING: Follow Henri live as the hurricane turns to the tropical storm

The five-hour concert, intended to celebrate New York City’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, was halfway when weather became a problem. Heavy rain and lightning filled the sky.

As the crowd – estimated at over 60,000 – began to leave the concert area, there was a moment of optimism that the show would resume once the weather cleared. But minutes later, another ad said it had been canceled as the downpour intensified.

Mayor Bill de Blasio then tweeted: “While it was disappointing that tonight’s concert had to end early, the safety of everyone present had to come first.”

The highly promoted mega-concert featured Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Jennifer Hudson, Carlos Santana, LL Cool J and Andrea Bocelli among the performers.

Fans keen to see Springsteen, Simon and The Killers – who had yet to take the stage – expressed disappointment as they left. You could hear a man shout belligerently that he had paid to see Springsteen. The majority of tickets for the show were distributed free of charge, provided proof of vaccination could be presented. But high-priced VIP tickets ranging from $ 399 to around $ 5,000 were also sold. There was no word on if there would be any refunds.

Although the headliners weren’t able to perform, the show that ended abruptly still provided an outstanding performance.

Jennifer Hudson, supported by the New York Philharmonic, performed a breathtaking version of “Nessun Dorma” from the Italian opera “Turandot”. Equally impressive was that his performance followed Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. Subsequently, Hudson told Gayle King that the performance was like “an out-of-body experience.”

The famous New York Philharmonic opened the show with numerous New York-themed pieces, including “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin, “New York, New York” by Leonard Bernstein and “New York State of Mind” by Billy. Joel. The orchestra also supported Bocelli.

Earth, Wind & Fire was joined by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds for a two song set. And Santana with Wyclef Jean performed “Maria Maria”, before Rob Thomas took over “Smooth” and their new collaboration, “Move”.

The eclectic lineup also included “old school” hip hop with Miss Mel dusting off the Grandmaster Flash classic “The Message”. Busta Rhymes performed “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See”.

In one of the liveliest performances of the evening, a group of backing singers hummed the iconic opening to “Mama Said Knock You Out” as a lively LL Cool J wearing mint green sweats and yellow kicks emerged from them with a catchy version of the song that sent the crowd into hyperdrive. He was then joined by the Reverend Run of Run DMC for a preview clip of “It’s Tricky”.

Guest speakers included Stephen Colbert, Gayle King, Clive Davis and New York Senator Chuck Schumer.

Schumer praised New York City’s resilience for its comeback after tough times, citing the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Storm Sandy, the financial crisis and now, COVID-19.

“After COVID, New York is bigger, better and stronger than before,” he told the crowd.

He then thanked the frontline workers, saying the city had come back because of them.

Held in early summer, the concert was meant to be a celebration of New York City overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic. But on Saturday, the concert kicked off amid concerns over the highly contagious delta variant of the virus.

Matt Schweikert, who came from New Jersey to the show, said he was concerned about the rise in cases, but was not particularly worried about his health at the concert.

“They’ve been great in taking the proper precautions by getting you through multiple checkpoints. I’m sure everyone here is vaccinated. They’re sober too, so that’s good, and I think we’re on the right track. direction, ”said Schweikert. .

New Yorker Imani Duckette was “excited” to regain energy in public.

“Everyone seems pretty safe and I feel pretty comfortable,” said Duckette.

Over the past week, New York City recorded an average of just under 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day, according to state statistics. This represents just under 200 cases per day at the end of June. Only around 54% of all city residents are fully immunized against the virus.

Before the concert on the grass, spectators were mostly socially distant. And while many wore masks, some ditched face coverings as the concert progressed.

Copyright © 2021 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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