The Stage Between The Twin Towers at Austin J. Tobin Plaza
One convenient aspect of the summertime shows was that each artist actually played an identical set both at 12:15, and then again at 1:15. Latecomers who caught the tail end of the early performance could hang around and see the balance of the show after a 15 minute intermission. This format worked wonderfully for artists with a solid catalog of hits. Then there was Chubby Checker.
It was a beautiful August afternoon when Mr. Checker took the stage between the towers for his summertime spotlight. A strong crowd filled ¾ of the standing room on the plaza. And things got off to a roaring start with his biggest song, The Twist. Hundreds of New Yorkers were clapping and swiveling their hips. Next came his follow-up hit, Lets Twist Again, also fondly received. And then… the singer – apparently short on worthwhile material - elected to repeat the same two songs twice more. And this just to round out the opening set! A good portion of the early crowd left, looking perplexed during the first repeat. Later arrivals headed for the exit after the second duplication, leaving just a handful of spectators to take in the 1:15 show. The confused faces of the departing fans summarized the shortcoming of this sometimes limited format. Especially when the headliner was a legendary two-hit wonder.
|Davy Jones of The Monkees at the World Trade Center|
Back in 1995, cell phones were not as commonplace, or as sophisticated as we now know them to be. As a result, few photos and even fewer videos exist of these magical summer freebies. One would have had to have owned a bulky camcorder and been close enough to the stage to pick up both the audio and video of the show. Only a handful of YouTube clips have surfaced.