Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Aretha concerts canceled

The Queen of Soul is not Brooklyn-bound after all!

Aretha Franklin’s two free shows here next week — first on Aug. 9 at Wingate Field in Crown Heights, and then again on Aug. 12 at Asser Levy Seaside Park in Coney Island — have been canceled due to an unspecified injury that the singer claims to have suffered on Sunday (recent reports say she fell in the bathtub).

“We’re quite bummed,” said Laura Sinagra, a spokeswoman for Borough President Markowitz, who hosts both concert series. Sinagra added that Markowitz and his producer are hoping to re-schedule Franklin’s dates, but do not yet know if that will be possible this season.

Sinagra referred all questions to Debra Garcia, the organizer of Markowitz’s free summer concerts. Garcia did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Calls to Franklin’s agent about the injury were not returned as well.

For 20 years, the borough president has been enticing the 66-year-old Franklin — known universally as just Aretha — to play his free concert series. This would have been his biggest coup since succeeding Howie Golden, and Franklin’s first shows in Brooklyn.

“Certainly thousands of music lovers were eagerly awaiting these historic shows, her first ever in Brooklyn, in the heart of our African-American community in Crown Heights and in world-famous Coney Island,” said Markowitz. “Believe me, for the more than 30 years that I have been presenting free concerts here, Ms. Franklin has been at the top of my wish-list, and that dream was about to come true. We can only hope she will reschedule when she’s feeling better — and we Brooklynites will be thrilled to welcome the Queen of Soul to the County of Kings.”

On the Sunday in question, Franklin performed at the South Shore Music Circus in Cohasset, Mass., for 85 minutes, which included a 10-minute intermission when she “slipped to the side of the stage, took a seat in the shadows and toweled off while her massive orchestra took over,” according to the Boston Herald. Throughout the performance, the hefty soul legend also seemed out of breath, according to the paper.

The remainder of Markowitz’s concert series will continue as scheduled, with John Legend performing this Thursday at Asser Levy Seaside Park.


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