There’s more than a walk in the (Central) park in Carlos Santana’s future…
Amid concern over the Delta coronavirus variant, a mega-concert in Central Park to celebrate New York City’s reopening will go forward as planned next month, with performers including the 74-year-old Mexican-American guitarist/musician.
Santana, considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time, will perform alongside Rob Thomas. The pair teamed up in 1999 for “Smooth“, a dynamic cha-cha stop-start number co-written and sung by Thomas of Matchbox Twenty and laced throughout with Santana’s guitar fills and runs. “Smooth” spent twelve weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming in the process the last No. 1 single of the 1990s.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined music industry legend Clive Davis, who is co-producing the concert, for a press conference to unveil the details of what de Blasio promised will be a “historic,” “blockbuster” event. Officially titled “We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert,” the event is set for August 21 at 5:00 p.m., it will be broadcast live globally on CNN and 80% of tickets will be free.
While de Blasio initially proposed having vaccinated and unvaccinated sections, he said that attendees will be required to present proof of vaccination.
“New York City is back,” de Blasio said. “You can see it, you can feel it, and it’s time to celebrate on the Great Lawn.”
The lineup, which includes many New York natives, so far spans Jon Batiste, Andrea Bocelli, Kane Brown, LL Cool J, Elvis Costello, Earth, Wind & Fire joined by Lucky Daye and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Cynthia Erivo, Jimmy Fallon, Jennifer Hudson, Wyclef Jean, Journey, The Killers, Gayle King, Don Lemon, Barry Manilow, The New York Philharmonic, Polo G, Carlos Santana joined by Rob Thomas, Paul Simon and Patti Smith duetting with Bruce Springsteen.
“As a born, bred and true New Yorker, I well know how resilient we are and how New York always comes back,” Davis said. “I cannot think of a more appropriate way to celebrate this than an unforgettable concert in the most special venue in the world: the Great Lawn at Central Park. My team, along with our partners at Live Nation, has been hard at work for weeks curating what I submit to you will be a once-in a lifetime event […] It will celebrate a spectacular range of musical genres, styles and eras while including some of the most iconic artists in the history of modern music.”
Davis, who was raised in Brooklyn, is co-producing alongside Live Nation. Restauranteur Danny Meyer, the recently-appointed chairman of the New York City Economic Development Corporation board of directors, is also involved, as is Universal Hip-Hop Museum executive director Rocky Bucano.
“We’re so honored to be part of this event,” added Live Nation regional president Geoff Gordon. “I too have goosebumps after hearing that, even though we’ve been involved in lining this up. Live music has the unique ability to bring us all together, which is really what we’re doing. There’s nothing like a live music experience.”
Tickets for the concert go on sale on Monday, August 2 at 10:00 a.m. EST on the new NYC Homecoming Week website, and the Great Lawn has a capacity of 60,000. The 20% of tickets not designated as free are VIP tickets available for purchase. De Blasio said that event workers will be checking for proof of vaccination as attendees enter, with more details to come. Asked by a reporter whether the vaccination requirement means the concert is for attendees aged 12 and over only, de Blasio said, “right now, that’s a fair assumption.”
The event will cap off a reopening celebration dubbed NYC Homecoming Week, during which the City of New York will host concerts in each of the five boroughs starting August 14, leading up to the Great Lawn spectacle on the 21st. The lead-up concerts will be held Aug. 16 at Orchard Beach in The Bronx; Aug. 17 at Richmond County Bank Park in Staten Island; Aug. 19 at Brooklyn Army Terminal in Brooklyn; and Aug. 20 at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens.