In a ridiculously tone deaf move, hard rock outfit Great White have played a show in North Dakota completely unprotected against the spread of COVID-19, strongly suggesting that despite their namesake, a fearsome beast who hasn’t needed to evolve in millions of years, Great White the band have indeed taken a few evolutionary steps backwards.
With no masks or distancing measures in place, the band took to the stage in a performance part of an outdoor summer concert series, which apparently wasn’t cancelled and saw the band simply show up to meet their obligations, and the photos of the event will make your skin crawl.
Apparently, social distancing is more of a light suggestion than a law in the state. Great White issued a statement following the criticism, noting that with “the luxury of hindsight”, they would like to apologise to “those who disagreed with our decision to fulfil our contractual agreement. The Promoter and staff were nothing but professional and assured us of the safety precautions. Our intent was simply to perform our gig, outside, in a welcoming, small town. We value the health and safety of each and every one of our fans, as well as our American and global community.” Yikes.
Great White are no strangers to both controversy and tragedy, having lost their guitarist Ty Longley to a horrific nightclub fire in 2003. The Station nightclub fire is one of the most deadly in United States history, killing 100 people and injuring over 200. The fire was caused by the pyrotechnics that were to accompany Great White’s performance, which ignited flammable foam in the walls and ceilings surrounding the stage. The band’s tour manager, Daniel Biechele, pleaded guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter.
The United States is currently clocking over 130,000 deaths from COVID-19, with over 3 million cases recorded. Given the scale of that tragic impact, it’s hard to imagine that any state would approve such an event taking place, especially when there are no precautions visibly evident in the clip of Great White playing below to a closely packed in audience.