New Yorkers were met with disappointment on Saturday night when, amid the ongoing Hurricane Henri in the northeast, the city’s We Love NYC homecoming concert at Central Park was canceled. It was unfortunately canceled smack dab during the live stage performance from Barry Manilow. Right as he was singing the 1978 hit “Can’t Smile Without You,” concertgoers were told over the loudspeakers to “proceed to your vehicles and protected areas outside of the event center.” Watch the moment below.
The halt to the Manilow performance occurred around 7:30 p.m., and saw 60,000 fans in attendance, including those in the VIP area, exit immediately.
At the time of the evacuation, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio expressed optimism that the show would still go on. “We need everyone for a brief period of time to move to some place safe because of thunder and lightning, and then we will bring the concert back,” he said, as reported by the New York Post.
The New York Post added, “Sources said the mayor stubbornly pushed the NYPD to allow the show to resume from 10 p.m. to midnight, but persistent thunder and lightning made that impossible. Police officers had to help people out of the park in vans, including one woman whose wheelchair ran out of power.”
As Variety reported, “For nearly three hours afterward, as some of the performers who yet to play waited things out in their trailers, Clive Davis and other organizers talked with city officials with the idea that the show might resume without an audience and wrap up as a pure broadcast event. But the hope of a crowd-free resumption proved to be in vain, with host network CNN announcing just before 10:30 — with rain and lightning still in the area — that there was no possibility of even an impromptu, informal finale.”
Springsteen, Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, The Killers, and Colombian pop star Maluma all had performances that were called off by the storm. Still, portions of the show still went on. Among the performers who got the chance to play onstage were Andrea Bocelli, Jennifer Hudson, Earth, Wind & Fire, as well as Santana and Rob Thomas. The Central Park concert was programmed by Clive Davis.