ZZ Top cancels performance: Why the show did not go on

Published 12:23pm Sunday, June 17, 2012

“We’re definitely from ‘the show must go on’ school,” members of the rock band ZZ Top said in a recent release. But the show did not go on last week at Wind Creek Casino and Hotel when the band, along with openers 3 Doors Down, canceled their performance at the last minute citing safety concerns.

Officials with Wind Creek have since expressed concerns that the cancellation was due to equipment issues rather than issues of safety.

At the time of the cancellation, the bands’ production team cited safety concerns about the stage that they were to perform on despite the fact that ZZ Top had performed on the same stage in Louisiana that was also provided by Sound Associates, the company that owns the same stage used by Wind Creek.

Brent Pinkston, who serves as vice president of PCI Gaming, which operates the Atmore casino, said safety is always an issue with the facility, however, safety may not be the reason behind the band’s cancellation of the show.

“No one is more concerned about safety — both our performers and, of course, our customers, than we are” Pinkston said. “Sound Associates has provided the same stage for over 30 of our shows. There have been no concerns about the structural validity of the stage by any of these professional performers.  The morning of the show, the band brought up safety concerns only after they saw their     equipment would be exposed to the elements. Preparing for all kinds of weather is something that other bands who have performed here have dealt with professionally and with no negative effect on the audience. ”

Wind Creek officials say Sound Associates representatives related that information concerning every aspect of the stage had been provided to the production company representing ZZ Top and 3 Doors Down. In addition to providing information on the stage, Production Associates also expressed concerns about the size of lighting and video equipment the bands planned to use on the stage, but received no response to those concerns, officials said.

A heavy rain blanketed the venue area in the hours leading up to concert time and band personnel asking for additional assistance from the stage owner to provide protection for the equipment. Wind Creek officials say the stage company made special attempts in meeting those needs. However, despite concerted efforts by work crews, the bands’ production crews elected to cancel the concert after fans had been put on hold more than two hours beyond concert time.

Steve Mack, an executive with Sound Associates, said he was confident that safety would not have been an issue if the band had chosen to perform.

“We are confident that the concert could have been performed.” Mack said. “This decision was based on concerns about equipment, not safety. The bands’ production crew knew that this was an outdoor venue and they should have been prepared to adapt accordingly. We believe that it is reasonable to expect that professional entertainers to plan carefully and be prepared for the show to go on.

Wind Creek officials say ticket holders will be issued a refund, even though the facility was not to blame for the concert cancellation.

Wind Creek has requested reschedule dates from ZZ Top in accordance with a contract signed between the facility and the band, however no response from the band has been received.

  • jeff

    I am a crew member of 3 Doors Down, I was there the day we cancelled. I have chosen not to go public with the pictures that I have of gross negligence and safety issues. I felt that the immediate danger was averted, and we can just let the lawyers figure it out without tarnishing anyones reputation, and hopefully reschedule a safe and enjoyable show for everyone. The report you just filed is riddled with speculation and untruth. Now you have chosen to bring Sound Associates, a reputable company who may have had some poor representation that day, into the discussion, that can of worms is now open. I will state in no uncertain terms, the reason for the cancellation was 100% due to safety concerns! We play shows in all kinds of weather, yes the show must go on. If it’s safe! If you and the representatives of Wind Creek wish to propagate the narrative you have put forth, I will be forced to go public with the pictures that I am still keeping to myself. No OSHA representative or structural engineer would have ever allowed anyone on that stage. If you goggle “stage collapse” you will see that fatal stage failures have become almost epidemic in the past few years. We, as touring professionals, have an obligation to ensure the safety of our performers, audience, and ourselves. It seems to me that the folks at PCI gaming wagered budget over safety, a bet that we are not willing to cover. I only hope that all parties now know that safety is a #1 concern, and will never be compromised. And a sincere apology to the fans, we do this for you!
    Jeff Chase
    Touring Professional
    PS, I am speaking on my own behalf and am not an official representative of the band.

    I also want to add that these issues were spotted at around 8AM, not last minute. Also, there were negotiations to perform a scaled down show, at the last minute, in order to get paid, but alas safety does not have a price, it is a moral imperative. this is biased and irresponsible reporting.

  • rollercoaster

    As a 30 year vet of touring rock-n-roll shows and large scale events, I have been involved in some shows that should never have gone on, and would have been one of the ones that fingers would have pointed at if something had gone.

    The below article, I believe may address your questions. There have been far too many “the show must go on” comments from people that have nothing to do with show business and clearly do understand the production side and recently these atitudes have resulted in death.

    One Dead In Radiohead Stage Collapse

    UPDATE Sunday, 6/17, 11:50 AM PDT. We had the name of the crew member killed in the Toronto collapse yesterday afternoon but opted to wait until we were sure his family had been notified before posting it. Drum Tech Scott Johnson was killed in the collapse. EMS personnel declared him dead at the scene. Brian Collins was transported to a local hospital with a gash on his head, a concussion and both ankles broken. Two others were treated at the scene and released.

    Our thought are with the families and crew fam of both Scott and Brian.

    If something isn’t right SPEAK UP. If no one will listen then WALK AWAY and call the authorites and the media. If we can’t do that then this shit will continue.

    UPDATE: Sat. 7:21 PM. Brian Collins is the rigger that was injured during the stage collapse in Toronto today. gash on his head, concussion, both ankles broken.

  • LAOnTour

    Let me guess Lisa, your usual gig is writing articles for the home and garden section or classifieds ….??? It is OBVIOUS you know NOTHING about what you are talking about.
    Did you walk through the venue with someone from OSHA ? And Electrical inspector ?? Structural Engineer ? If not then you have no business even opening your mouth or setting your little manicured fingers to the keyboard.

    That is what is wrong with your business, a lot of people putting THEIR opinion into the pot when they have NO idea what they are talking about.

    ZZ Top is a stellar band, they also travel with the latest equipment and back up equipment if that digital console happens to fail.

    However due to the incompetence of the many those of us still in this business are paying a higher price “Literally” for everything.

    Have you checked the liability insurance costs lately ?? Have you checked with those companies that WERE in business until their Roof ended up on top of people because those “In Charge” refused to pull the plug on a show?? I’m guessing NOT !! And most who have had a roof collapse are now out of business.

    I for one am glad the crew finally stood their ground, IT IS ABOUT TIME!!! We all need to refuse to work in un-safe environments.

    In case you are wondering, I have worked in clubs where the roof leaked, and a waterfall was cascading down the breaker boxes! The club owner said… “its ok just stick your hands in there and attach your distro box.” I have worked in fire traps (Remember The Station fire??) I have worked on a outdoor stage in Ohio that had electrical lines running to FOH electrifying the ground ! The dirt actually registered with the Amp Meter! ..needless to say there were no follow spots that weekend due to our crew getting electrocuted every time they touched a light.

    I could go on but all this is probably way over your head. If Jeff says it was unsafe then it was. I notice you have no response to his Photographic Proof ……

    Go back to the society page where you belong… before you try reporting on something you know nothing about, you should “Join” a tour and see how the real world works and stop talking to the Club owner… I can guarantee you had something happened, they would have blamed it all on the ” Indians” even though we all know there is an evil white man in Vegas with the $$$ pulling all the strings. And Club and Venue owners are experts at CYA, being a “Reporter” and I use that term loosely…you should know this…

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