Katrina: Benefit fatigue?
-Yet another live benefit show is in the works; actually two, since the Sept. 20 ”From the Big Apple to the Big Easy” concert set for New York’s Madison Square Garden has spilled an overflow of performers into a simultaneous show at Radio City Music Hall.
Simon & Garfunkel have joined the roster at MSG, along with Elvis Costello and Diana Krall, Elton John, Jimmy Buffett, Stevie Nicks, Bette Midler, Lenny Kravitz, Ry Cooder, faux bayou dweller John Fogerty, and real regional musicians Fats Domino, The Neville Brothers, Irma Thomas, Clarence ”Frogman” Henry, and Dave Bartholomew.
At Radio City: Tom Waits, Dave Matthews, Dave Matthews soundalike John Mayer, Trey Anastasio, Joss Stone, and such New Orleans mainstays as The Meters and The Mardi Gras Indians. Beneficiaries include the Bush Clinton Katrina Fund, Habitat for Humanity, the MusiCares Hurricane Relief Fund and the Children’s Health Fund.
-While donations have been generous, the TV telethons are drawing much smaller audiences than similar past benefit shows. Last Friday’s ”Shelter from the Storm,” concert, despite airing on virtually every channel, drew fewer than 24 million viewers, compared to 89 million for ”America: A Tribute to Heroes,” the first multi-channel benefit held after 9/11.