By: David Schultz
The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a pair of All-Star concerts at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. The October 29 show will feature Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Paul Simon playing solo and with Art Garfunkel, Stevie Wonder and Crosby, Stills & Nash and Friends. The next night will showcase U2, Eric Clapton, Metallica and Aretha Franklin. If the Queen of Soul joins Metallica for “Enter Sandman,” it goes down as the greatest show of all time. Everyone announced as performing at the celebration is an inductee in the Hall of Fame. Unlike any sporting event featuring participation from Hall of Famers, this one shouldn’t be embarrassing in the least.
Notwithstanding Madison Square Garden’s status as the Mecca of all arenas, it’s hardly surprising that these shows are occurring in New York City. Ever since awarding the Hall of Fame to Cleveland, Ohio and hosting a mega-concert at Municipal Stadium in conjunction with the opening of the museum in September 1995, its trustees have a horrible tendency to seem like they are distancing themselves from the city. The recent creation of the New York annex rankled some feathers with Clevelanders who have grown sensitive to this issue, especially in light of the fact that practically every induction ceremony has been held in Manhattan and not at the Hall of Fame.
Having the shows in Cleveland would have been a great boon to the city and probably made it possible for fans unconnected to the music industry to get in to the show. As long as they are being held in the Big Apple, look for these icons to play the equivalent of corporate boondoggle. Sniping and grousing aside, the proceeds of the show are earmarked for a permanent endowment for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.