As the Republican National Convention gets underway with a delayed start Tuesday (August 28) thanks to Tropical Storm Issac, it’s not the only event of the week affected by the potentially dangerous weather down in Tampa. Southern rock royalty Lynyrd Skynyrd canceled an invitation-only RNC gig last night (August 26) due to the weather, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Skynyrd singer Johnny Van Zant released a statement explaining: “With the weather conditions unknown and for the safety of our fans and friends, it is best to cancel the show and not put anyone in harm’s way.”
Lynyrd Skynyrd may have canceled their main performance, but Rolling Stone reports that they’re still scheduled to play “Sweet Home Alabama” and the title track from new album Last of a Dyin‘ Breed “during a salute to Ann Romney.” In the same interview, Van Zant has a number of positive things to say about Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan, calling the latter’s Medicare plan “pretty doggone good.”
Van Zant is not alone is his endorsement of the candidates (Romney faithful Kid Rock chief among them), while other acts perceive the appearance as simply another gig. Journey, who will play a private fund-raising show on Thursday, are not coming out in support of Romney-Ryan, their rep confirms in a statement to Rolling Stone: “It’s not an endorsement of any candidate and/or party – it’s just another private show. These dates are simply listed as ‘Private Event’ on the tour grid.”
Likewise, many performers will play shows that are not directly tied to the Romney-Ryan camp, but rather, specialty causes. Country stars Zac Brown Band will perform at a show for the American Petroleum Institute, while singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw will leads a benefit for Musicians on Call, a charity that connects musicians with hospital patients. Dave Navarro and Guns N’ Roses/Velvet Revolver drummer Matt Sorum will be joined by members of Jane’s Addiction and The Cult for a benefit show for families of wounded or deceased soldiers.
As for the rest of the RNC performers, 3 Doors Down and American Idol alum Taylor Hicks will play the convention’s main stage, held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, while Kid Rock will play an invite-only show on Thursday.
(Shortly before press time, Journey canceled their show in Lafayette, Louisiana on Tuesday due to Tropical Storm Issac, though it is not expected to affect their RNC performance.)
– Jillian Mapes, CBS Local