Saturday, August 31, 2002

Singer leaves a bitter Taste

Blue Ash tries to reschedule Al Green concert

By Susan Vela,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BLUE ASH — It'll be awhile before the Rev. Al Green, who failed to show up at the recent Taste of Blue Ash, can make amends with this Hamilton County city.

        The soul star has promised to give a free show here, after an unexplained illness kept him from catching an Aug. 24 flight from Memphis to Cincinnati. He was supposed to take Taste's main stage hours later.

        Festival organizers hoped he could perform Sept. 28, but the Rev. Mr. Green is booked that weekend, said Bruce Henry, a Taste organizer and assistant city manager.

        Now, the question is whether he'd be willing to play at the Blue Ash Sports Center on July 3, 4 or 5, 2003.

        Mr. Henry doesn't expect a confirmation any time soon.

        “These negotiations will probably go on through next week,” he said. If the Rev. Mr. Green settles on a date and then doesn't appear, “it's his bad reputation, not ours. He's extended this offer.”

        Proceeds could go to the Wellness Community, a non-profit, Blue Ash-based company that provides support services to cancer victims.

        “We sure could use the money,” said Chris Conlan, executive director.

        Omar Farag, Taste's producer, is presenting potential concert dates to the Rev. Mr. Green. He declined to comment.

        Caroline Feagin, the singer's administrative assistant, said there'd be no decision for at least another two weeks. She refused to say whether the Rev. Mr. Green was suffering from a cold or something more serious when he became ill.

        On the night he was supposed to appear, there were 15,000 music fans in the crowd. Band members told Taste organizers that they had talked to Mr. Green 90 minutes before he was set to catch a flight to Cincinnati.

        He never showed and his band took the stage without him. The city continues to withhold the group's $50,000 fee.

        City Manager Marvin Thompson, who was there, is anxious to see the Rev. Mr. Green appear.

        He keeps an Al Green CD in his car.

        “It's unfortunate that this happened,” he said. “But if you can get a free concert out of that ...”


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