Pop diva Janet Jackson on Monday called off the European leg of her star-crossed “All For You” tour, citing safety concerns in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks on America.
“If anything happened to anyone on this tour, I could never forgive myself,” the singer said in a statement released in London. “Like most people the events of Sept. 11 have troubled me enormously and I remain concerned about the foreseeable future.”
The statement said the singer had decided the risk to her tour personnel was “too great to proceed comfortably.” Full refunds will be given to fans who bought tickets for the European dates, which were to run from Oct. 31 through Dec. 17.
It was the latest setback for Jackson’s tour, which got off to a late start in July because of problems in shipping stage equipment. She also canceled or rescheduled dates because of flu, emergency dental surgery and a scheduling conflict at Madison Square Garden with a women’s basketball playoff game.
Jackson’s announcement came as U.S. concert promoters struggled to regain their footing three weeks after the hijack bombings of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon forced many of the biggest names in music to put their tours on hold.
The modern rock band Weezer canceled a European swing that had been slated to start next week, but the pop punk outfit Blink 182 will go ahead with its European tour in November, officials for the bands’ labels told Reuters.
TOURS GETTING BACK ON TRACK
Most other major acts with upcoming North American tours were sticking with their plans, including Britney Spears, U2 and Bob Dylan, promoters and publicists said. The Backstreet Boys, one of the few groups to soldier through with concerts in the first two days after the Sept. 11 attacks, will wrap their tour as planned later this month.
Aerosmith is back on the road and adding new dates after a brief disruption, while Rod Stewart and R&B star Maxwell continue their respective outings as well.
U2, in particular, seemed little scathed by an overall slump in ticket sales seen following the attacks. Tickets to the Irish rockers’ upcoming shows in 11 cities have all sold out.
“It’s difficult to regain momentum in sales that you might have had before (Sept. 11), but as U2 proved, if you’re a big enough act, people will still come out and buy tickets,” said Gary Bongiovanni, editor of concert industry magazine Pollstar.
BAD SITUATION MADE WORSE
For the concert business as a whole, as for many industries already smarting from a sluggish economy, the current crisis could hardly have come at a worse time.
“We weren’t exactly having a banner year to start with,” Bongiovanni said. He cited Pollstar research showing that the number of tickets sold for the nation’s 50 biggest touring acts during the first half of the year slumped to 10.9 million, down 15.5 percent for the same period last year.
While heightened security concerns provide a “convenient out” for musical acts looking to cancel shows because of soft ticket sales, Bongiovanni said, “I haven’t seen any evidence of that happening on a large-scale basis.”
As for Janet Jackson, she has drawn respectable audiences for her shows but has fallen short of the mega-business generated by Madonna’s recently completed “Drowned World Tour,” Bongiovanni said.