Fans praise, jeer Taylor’s decision to cancel concert

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AFTER five-time Grammy winner James Taylor announced Wednesday he had decided to cancel his February 2017 concert in Manila because of alleged extrajudicial killings linked to the Duterte Administration’s anti-drug war, the public took to social media with mixed reactions.

Taylor, the American singer and songwriter who shot to fame in the early ‘70s with hit songs such as “You’ve Got a Friend” and “Fire and Rain,” drew praise from netizens for his political stand, but others jeered him for meddling in another country’s affairs.

“It’s time everyone took a stand against the thug murderer of the Philippines, he should be held in international court and tried for crimes against humanity,” user Terry Lightfoot said on Twitter.

Hong Kong national Dorothy Tse posted, “I am from Hong Kong glad to see a singer speak up and stand up for rule of law and human rights. I didn’t know you before but now I am interested to know more about you and your songs.”


Supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte rallied behind the leader, with Facebook user John Asuncion leading the pack with the post, “I’m a big fan but you are misinformed. Our country needs this and it’s just small political opposition that’s noisy. I hope you reconsider. Come over and see for yourself.”

Cris Aldea pointed out, “James, how about the killings in your country? What are you going to say about it? As your incoming president says it’s because of drugs too and it has doubled last year. Before you insult another country check yours first.”

The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday said Taylor should visit the country to see for himself that there’s “no alarming’ cases of extrajudicial killings.

PNP spokesman Sr. Supt. Dionardo Carlos told reporters in Camp Crame the decision to cancel the February concert was likely because of the “incorrect information that he [Taylor] is getting on the peace and order situation in the Philippines.”

Poor sales?

Shortly after Taylor released his statement, there were speculations that the concert was cancelled due to poor ticket sales. The Manila Times sought the reaction of the Philippine promoter of the show, Ovation Production’s Renen de Guia who denied the allegation.

“This type of adult contemporary market is starkly different from that of the millennial market in terms of fans’ buying patterns…A seating plan layout does not explain that older people start buying tickets two weeks prior to the event. It is only young people who buy as soon as artists announce their upcoming concert. Young fans know that tickets can sell out in minutes due to online selling so they buy early. And although tickets to older artists’ concerts are also available online, older audiences have not changed their buying ways,” he said.

Ovation Productions tried to convince Taylor to change his mind about canceling his concert, but was unsuccessful.

On Wednesday, Taylor took to social media with the statement: “I’ve been eagerly looking forward to playing for my Philippine audience ever since we added Manila to our tour of the Pacific this coming February. So it saddens me to cancel our concert there. I don’t think of my music as being particularly political but sometimes one is called upon to make a political stand.”

The 68-year-old artist apologized to his Filipino fans for the inconvenience his decision caused. He said all tickets would be fully refunded and his performances in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand won’t be affected by the cancellation of his show in Manila.

WITH ANTHONY VARGAS

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5 Comments

  1. You’got a friend and Wandering are his only signature songs more or less. Nothing to hype about. You can watch this artist concert on DVD or youtube. Your only wasting your money if the concert push through. He’s has outlived his popularity and bald becomes him. It;s his loss. Journey is the better option.

  2. “When we make judgements we’re inevitably acting on limited knowledge, isn’t it best to ask if we seek to understand, or simply let them be?”
    Poor James Taylor, part of the ignorant and judgemental international community.

  3. Do you honestly think that this concert would be cancelled if it was a sellout? James Taylor is not only a drug addict he is also a liar. He fully intended to do a concert in the Philippines that is why it was part of the tour but he received a lukewarm response. He was expecting to make a lot of money in a country that has the 4th biggest population in the world but failed. Imagine a picture of James Taylor in a concert and so few attendees? This would be like the very much hyped up rallies of the yellows where the pictures show sparse numbers. It would be such an embarrassing situation and not good for his succeeding concerts. So his friend and fellow Clinton supporter Loida Nicolas Lewis gave him a way out of an embarrassing situation. Cancel the concert with a political statement supporting the yellows and just keep quiet about the big flop at the gate. Sorry James, we were not born yesterday!