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Atlanta hurricane cancels show

But the band play in the car park to make up for it

14 Sep 2002

Atlanta hurricane cancels show
Guy Berryman
Guy Berryman

Arriving in town the night before and flipping on the TV, it was pretty hard to avoid the news that there was a huge storm on the way. Essentially every local channel was running a ticker saying “if you do not absolutely have to leave the house, please stay inside until further notice”. Pretty much ideal conditions, then, for an outside show!

It was made clear to us that we’d be doing everything we could to put the show on – regardless of whether any of the audience actually braved the elements to come see it. The hurricane was estimated to pass through mid-afternoon, so the equipment was wrapped in plastic sheeting and everyone hoped it’d miss us.

I forget who it was that pointed to the horizon at the tiny funnel shape reaching up into the clouds. We then worked through every item on the disaster movie checklist. Sky goes black? Tick. Crazy chaotic winds? Uh huh. Funnel-shape getting bigger and appearing to come directly towards us? Yessir. Everybody appearing to move in slow motion as everyone starts to shout and run about? You get the picture…

It was over in seconds, but the force it hit with was immense. “Tear the roof off the sucker” has long been concert-lingo for a great gig. Here – not so much. The flimsy outdoor roof had been torn from the truss and every lighting fixture above us was pouring out water. The sound system had been thrown around like a sock in a washing machine (and probably taken on proportionately as much water).

The entire stage was now unsafe electrically and for all anyone knew, structurally too.

Tour manager Jeff Dray took stock of the scene and made the executive decision that he wasn’t putting the band or audience in danger. It was off.

The band were horrified that there were already folks outside who’d braved the weather – they’d been hit by the storm too – and they were about to be told it was all for nothing. The radio message came to dig out some acoustic guitars from the mess of flightcases.

Out in the parking lot, they gave an impromptu acoustic session for the somewhat soggy masses. They later joined Ash for a make-up show at a small club (indoors!) nearby. It’s not the last time we’ve wrestled with the elements, but *so far* it’s the worst.


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