CONCERT TRAGEDY After interviewing more than 280 witnesses, Danish police issued a preliminary report yesterday that blames Pearl Jam rather than concert organizers for the nine deaths at the Roskilde festival last month. Apparently, police believe the rockers encouraged the frenzy that preceded the stampede in a way that organizers could not have anticipated. Today, the group’s manager Kelly Curtis lashed out at their conclusions. ”Pearl Jam [is] well known for their exciting live shows, but they have never, in their 10 year history of performing, ‘appealed for violent behavior,”’ he said in a statement. Curtis went on to emphasize Pearl Jam’s devastation over the tragedy. The band’s North American tour begins Aug. 3 in Virginia Beach. There is no word yet as to whether Pearl Jam will face prosecution for the tragedy.
BIG BOYS Expect to see ‘N Sync grow to previously unfathomable heights this October — with the release of their supersize Imax concert movie that was filmed during a performance at Detroit’s Pontiac Silverdome. The imaginatively titled ”’N Sync: Bigger Than Live” will allow fans to examine everything from tricky dance moves to pimples on their foreheads as they strut their stuff on stage. The flick is bound to bring far more nouveau-pubescent screamers than the last Imax rock show ”The Rolling Stones: Live at the Max.”
POTTER WATCH Brits are undoubtedly pleased that Tim Roth is pondering the part of ”Harry Potter”’s nasty Professor Snape, but it would surely cause a ruckus if Jersey boy Liam Aiken, age 10, is cast in the role of beloved young wizard Harry. ”I Dreamed of Africa”’s Aiken is the latest to join the ”Potter” movie rumor mill that currently has about 12 kids vying for the part, according to USA Today. After the story hit the English tabs, BBC reports that J.K. Rowling herself called director Christopher Columbus to ensure that the young Yank had not been cast. She should have known that Warner folk are all muggles.
STAR SEARCH Ed McMahon will host his first live webcast contest July 22 on Nextbigstar.com, in search of the world’s future talents. Hopefuls will compete for $1 million in cash and prizes in the categories of music, comedy, dance, and the ever-elusive cheerleading competition. The 77 year old McMahon — who helped launch the careers of such disparate acts as Britney Spears and Dennis Miller as the emcee of ”Star Search” — has become a huge proponent of the Internet as a vehicle for talent discovery. ”[It’s] the next big thing,” he said. ”What a great thing it is for ordinary people.” So, all those ordinary folk aspiring to be the next ex-Mouseketeer can go to the site, download an application, and send it in to McMahon.
SPY Apparently Mike Myers is in deeper than anyone thought. Variety reports that word has leaked that the would-have-been ”Dieter” star hired a private detective to help him in his legal battles with Universal over the abandoned project. The charismatic dick, Anthony Pellicano, has a history of helping celebs out of difficult jams. In ’93, when the Michael Jackson sex scandal was all over the press, he informed everyone that the allegations had been fabricated by frustrated extortionists. It must have been hard to come up with a theory like that in Hollywood.
EM UPDATE It doesn’t look like Eminem is going to get off easy, if Detroit officials have anything to say about it. Rolling Stone reports that Macomb County prosecutor Carl Marlinga says he is determined not to plea bargain with the rapper over his sentence. The lawyer says he has already cut the Slim Shady a break by acknowledging that his gun was unloaded when he allegedly pistol whipped the man he spotted kissing his wife. ”Knowing what I know now, I would personally be asking the judge to consider six months to one year in jail,” he said. That’s a mean rap.
MUSIC NEWS Barbra Streisand announced yesterday that she will end her touring career after performing four final concerts in September. The singer, 58, who has acknowledged her anxiety over appearing in front of audiences, said that the two farewell concerts will be given in New York and L.A. From there on out it’s all ”Memories.”