Hurricane Henri Halts ‘We Love NYC’ Central Park Concert Mid-Song
New York City's We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert, a nationally televised star-studded Central Park event which was supposed to include live performances from Paul Simon and Bruce Springsteen, has been called off mid-show due to severe weather.
Around 7:30 p.m., as Barry Manilow sang "Can't Smile Without You," an announcement was issued asking fans to promptly exit the Great Lawn for their safety. Rain and lightning ensued — the first showings of Hurricane Henri, which is due to hit the east coast this weekend.
Earlier in the day, New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio, who had drawn criticism for hosting an (albeit vaccinated-only) large-scale event amid the spread of the Delta variant, had tweeted: "As of now we do not expect the weather to have any major impact on tonight’s concert in Central Park and the show will go on!” A few hours later, DeBlasio declared a state of emergency for New York City.
Prior to the concert's abrupt cancellation, multiple acts including Jennifer Hudson, Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas, LL Cool J, Journey, and Earth, Wind and Fire were able to perform their sets uninterrupted. "I wanted every genre of music represented tonight," legendary music executive Clive Davis, who organized the concert alongside Live Nation, said at the top of the show. The event was also broadcast live by CNN. "I hope this evening you have a stirring and a really memorable night, celebrating music and celebrating the reopening of our great New York City."
Watch Barry Manilow's 'We Love NYC' Set Get Cut Short
In addition to Springsteen and Simon, the performers who were still due to take the stage included Patti Smith, the Killers, Elvis Costello and more.
A similar incident occurred on the Great Lawn in 1983 at a free Diana Ross concert. The singer, who attempted to keep performing despite heavy rain, wind and lightning, was forced to conclude her set after around 25 minutes.
Watch Diana Ross Battle the Weather in Central Park
As Hurricane Henri arrives on the east coast, several other shows have been postponed. Kiss pushed back a date in Hartford, Conn. set for Aug. 22, while the Eagles rescheduled their Aug. 22 Madison Square Garden concert for later this week.