AceShowbiz - The We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert in New York City's Central Park was called off during Barry Manilow's set on Saturday (21Aug21), due to the approaching Hurricane Henri.
The "Copacabana" singer was on stage at 8.37 P.M. local time when an announcer alerted the crowd that the venue was being shut down "due to approaching severe weather..."
"All persons should move quickly and calmly to the nearest exits and proceed to your vehicles and protected areas," fans were told.
When confused crowds did not immediately disperse, they were told the show had been cancelled.
Headliners Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, and the Killers did not get a chance to take the stage, but Manilow and The Killers performed backstage as part of the coverage of the concert on CNN.
According to reports, city officials had anticipated the outdoor event might have to be cancelled if lightning strikes came within 10 miles and, once the storm hit the Rockaway and Battery areas of the city, they were forced to pull the plug.
The lightning strikes are part of the outer flank of Hurricane Henri, which was estimated to be 270 miles away from Manhattan at the time.
"It's such a shame," Manilow said in a phone interview with CNN nearly an hour after the plug was pulled. "They cut us off and threw us off the stage because they were afraid of lightning. It was getting very dangerous out there."
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who fronted the news network's coverage, shared reports that the concert might resume at 10pm local time, but the seasoned entertainer said that was unlikely, based on his experience with other rainouts.
Smith also spoke to CNN by phone, revealing she was offsite and "on-call."
"I'm in close proximity with my band but it doesn't look that promising," she said. "A lot of my people have gone. I was hopeful that it would happen... If I'm called upon again, I'll be here."
Artists who were able to perform before the weather turned included Jennifer Hudson, who stunned the crowd with a rendition of "Nessun Dorma", backed by the New York Philharmonic.