Last night (August 21), lightning halted a massive, multi-act concert in Central Park, as The New York Times reports. “We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert” was cut short around 7:30 p.m., right in the middle of a set by Barry Manilow. Organizers waited three hours before officially canceling the event at 10:30 p.m. Many of the scheduled headliners, including Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, the Killers, and Paul Simon, did not get to perform. Read the Times’ full report here.
The concert was put on as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s efforts to celebrate the city’s comeback after months without live music amid the pandemic. Prior to last night’s storm, LL Cool J, the New York Philharmonic, Jennifer Hudson, Earth, Wind and Fire, Carlos Santana, and others played to a massive crowd camped out on the Central Park lawn.
Lightning struck as Manilow performed “Can’t Smile Without You,” and an announcer quickly instructed audience members to “seek shelter for your safety,” as seen in the clip below. The moment was captured during CNN’s live broadcast of the event. Later in the evening, the Killers performed a brief acoustic set, including “Mr. Brightside,” from a backstage dressing room. CBS’ Gayle King filmed the performance on her phone. An estimated 60,000 concert goers evacuated Central Park that evening. Storm conditions, including heavy rain, continued into late last night.