NYC Homecoming Mega-Concert: First Look at Setup

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The NYC Homecoming Week stage at Central Park’s Great Lawn (Photo on August 19, 2021 © Greg Brodsky)

The behind-the-scenes preparations are well underway for the so-called “Mega-Concert,” billed as “We  NYC: The Homecoming Concert,” that takes place this Saturday evening, August 21, 2021, on the Great Lawn in Central Park.

The concert features Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, and Jennifer Hudson as its biggest names. They’ll be joined by such stars as Carlos Santana, Andrea Bocelli, Elvis Costello, Journey, Barry Manilow, Earth, Wind & Fire, LL Cool J, and more.

Related: Our review of the concert

The star-studded event is the culmination of what is being called NYC Homecoming Week.

Dozens of workers were busy on the stage and at various other parts of the Great Lawn two days before the concert (Photo © Greg Brodsky)

The giant stage for the concert has been set up at the northern end of the Great Lawn (equivalent to roughly 85th St. to those familiar with the park). As visitors approach the park, one sees temporary gates and fences that have already been installed in anticipation of the Aug. 21 concert.

Workers at the site told Best Classic Bands that the stage began to be erected on Monday (Aug. 16). While we were there, dozens of workers were busy on the stage and at various other parts of the Great Lawn. The “C” in “NYC” was still not in place.

Of the numerous passersby we encountered while walking through the site, none had scored the coveted tickets to the event. One woman in her sixties didn’t recognize most of the boldfaced names. Sizing her up, a security guard mentioned Bocelli and her eyes brightened. “I like him,” she said.

Temporary gates and fences have been installed (Photo © Greg Brodsky)

The late summer weather on Thursday ranged from sunny skies to overcast. The AccuWeather forecast for Saturday evening calls for mostly cloudy and humid conditions, with a couple of mid-afternoon showers. Tropical storm Henri is expected to become a Category 1 hurricane, on nearby Long Island by Sunday.

The concert is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Attendees will be allowed on the Great Lawn beginning at 3 p.m. but will need a ticket and proof of a Covid-19 vaccination. Eighty percent of the tickets will be free with a two-ticket limit for the general seating section. There will also be Gold and VIP sections, a standing section and a seated Platinum section. VIP tickets can purchased here. Free tickets were released in batches beginning Aug. 2 here. They were immediately snapped up.

When nature calls… (Photo © Greg Brodsky)

The audience is being limited to 60,000, and dozens of Call-Ahead units are being installed.

The Mega-Concert will air on CNN worldwide.

“This is going to be one of the greatest Central Park concerts in history,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in the July 27 announcement. “This is something for the ages.”

The Mayor called upon legendary record label executive Clive Davis to book the performers and he’s chosen many acts that he’s had longstanding relationships with. While Davis was at the helm of Columbia Records decades ago, Springsteen, Simon and Santana recorded for the label. He also shepherded the career of Manilow, while running Arista Records.

The view of the Central Park South skyline that the performers will have from the stage (Photo © Greg Brodsky)

“I can’t think of a better place than the Great Lawn of Central Park to be the place where you say that New York is reopening,” Davis said.

Simon famously reunited with Art Garfunkel in Central Park 40 years ago.

Related: Our earlier coverage of how the “Mega-Concert” came together

Best Classic Bands Staff

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