Last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would stage a massive concert in Central Park this August as part of a weeklong New York City reopening celebration. Today, he announced the first three performers who will be taking part in the show: Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, and Jennifer Hudson. Heard of ’em?
“This will be in August, a lot of details to come, but it will be a great moment for the city, marking our rebirth, marking our comeback,” de Blasio said during a press conference on Thursday morning. “This is something you do not want to miss, something for the ages.”
One of the greatest Central Park concerts in history is coming. Excited to announce that Paul Simon, Jennifer Hudson, and Bruce Springsteen will be performing at our Homecoming Concert and will help us welcome back our city! It’s going to be an event for the ages. See you there. pic.twitter.com/1FtD5yJvxM
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 1, 2021
He ran through all three artists and their bonafides—Queens-born Simon, for example, has been involved in two major Central Park concerts—but gave special attention to Springsteen, who just restarted his Springsteen On Broadway show last weekend. “He just did something amazing by bringing back his show on Broadway, and starting the Broadway rebirth,” de Blasio said. “He’s beloved in New York City in an extraordinary way, even though he happens to come from New Jersey, nobody’s perfect. He’s amazing.”
De Blasio confirmed that more performers will be announced, and the city is expecting around 60,000 people will be able to attend in person on the Great Lawn, but the show will also be broadcast on TV.
The concert, whose working title is “The Official NYC Homecoming Concert in Central Park,” has set a tentative date of August 21st, though that hasn’t been confirmed.
It is being organized by 89-year-old music industry legend and impresario Clive Davis. The NY Post reports that he approached Diana Ross to perform recently, but she turned down the gig because she isn’t planning to tour again until 2022. (Like Simon, she performed a legendary concert in the park in the 1980s.)
The Post adds that sources tell them Springsteen is expected to do a duet with Patti Smith (Springsteen gave Smith his half-written song “Because The Night,” which became her biggest hit single), and the show is likely to be four hours long now.
Central Park has been the setting of many iconic concerts, from Simon and Garfunkel’s “Concert for Central Park” to raise money for the park in 1981 to Diana Ross’s unforgettable performance in a rainstorm with lightning on July 21st, 1983. When Garth Brooks performed on August 7th, 1997, in what might be one of the park’s biggest shows (estimates range from 750,000 to a million spectators), he brought Billy Joel out to sing “New York State of Mind.”