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CNN Live Event/Special

We Love New York City: The Homecoming Concert; Concert May Resume Once Severe Weather Passes. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired August 21, 2021 - 20:00   ET




ERICA HILL, CNN, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But it was scheduled to go until much later this evening. So if they can make that happen, if they can continue the concert, which, of course, we've been watching on CNN, they're trying to figure out a way to do that.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: That would be a good idea.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let's put this into perspective. You have Maluma, who is one of the biggest Latin artists right now. And when you think about all of the artists who came in, rearranged schedules and went through all of the COVID safety precautions, you know, to make this happen, you could understand why they are -- and you can only imagine what Clive Davis, those conversations are right now happening onsite about trying to save this in some way.

Because like Clive and Doug Davis, his son, had been saying is that this was their gift to New York City. They wanted to reward the city that they grew up in, New York coursing through their veins and give back to the city that is back, you know, amidst this, the backdrop of this COVID-19 pandemic that we've all overcome.

And so many of my friends, my brother, people who went to this concert tonight, so excited to be there. Live music is something that we all miss. And like I told you, Anderson, I've interviewed countless stars over the last year who have told me, on Zoom, while I'm in my my living room and they're in theirs that there's nothing like performing in front of a live audience and how much they miss that.

And all the artists, though, it's not just MSG and these venues requiring COVID-19 vaccinations. A lot of these artists don't want to perform unless the audience is vaccinated.

So you're seeing that big push as well. Like I said, Garth Brooks canceling some upcoming dates because he said, I have to do my part, too.

COOPER: I was talking to Sharon Stone recently on my show and she had been speaking out about wanting to be on sets only where people had been fully vaccinated. So it's certainly something the city of New York is focusing on in terms of getting people into restaurants and bars, making sure people have at least started the vaccination process with at least one shot in order to gain entry.

As you can see there, a lot of rain coming down.


COOPER: Let's go back with Erica.

It seems like Chad is saying some time within the next 30 minutes the rain might get a little bit worse first. But there's nothing else following up with this particular band.

HILL: Which is good news. I can tell you I've now walked up into the very front of the stage, where everybody was. I can tell you there are a number of NYPD officers in front of the stage, people who are in discussions about what could happen. The equipment on stage was quickly covered up as you saw, as they were preparing, in case they needed to come back.

The question is can they do this?

Can they get the performers back on as quickly as Chad is laying out for us that it could and continue with the concert even if that means, of course, no one here in the park but could they then continue with what had been planned before the severe weather moved through?

And that's what we're needing further clarification on.

COOPER: Erica, I wish we had the video of Diana Ross performing in Central Park at a free concert. I mean, this was -- I don't even remember what year it was.


COOPER: But I was a lot younger then. But it famously started to pour with rain. And she continued performing and it was sort of one of those iconic moments.

And I'm sure there are a lot of performers who are there tonight, who would be more than happy to just, you know, go on stage, even if the rain is pouring down, as long as there's not a safety concern of lightning.

HILL: Yes. It was really the lightning is my understanding. And obviously that would be the concern, especially when you're so exposed and you have the trees all around you, you've got metal barriers all around.

But I think you're right. So many of these performers, this is such a large part of who they are as artists and being able to share their artistry, their art with a crowd, with people live. And be to able to do that in Central Park, it's so iconic it's almost just like it's not enough, which is right.

COOPER: It's also just a super bummer. The whole concert is about resiliency and New York coming back. It's just a bummer to have, you know, an outer band of a storm kind of put a damper on things -- literally.

HILL: It really is and it literally is a damper in this case. What was interesting is we heard plenty of people in the crowd, they didn't want to leave. And they were here for it. And we heard multiple people say, a little rain is not going to hurt us, so we get a little muddy, a little wet, it's fine.

When we first came in, they were handing everybody a poncho so people were prepared. I saw people take out those free ponchos as they were maybe feeling a little drop and waiting and seeing what happens. People didn't really hesitate for a little bit. It didn't seem -- it seemed a little strange when that interruption came in the middle of Barry Manilow.

And then from my vantage point, it seemed like Barry Manilow wasn't really -- you know, he was still singing it looked like. And everyone was turning around looking at one another. I was looking at my producer, we were looking at our photographer, saying, is this really it?

What's happening?

And that confusion I think really was rippling throughout the crowd along, to your point, they're resilient and this is a little rain, it's not going to hurt us.

COOPER: Not only was Barry Manilow singing, he was about to sing "I Made It through the Rain," which again would have been iconic for having him singing that when it's pouring with rain.


HILL: -- bring him back we start on that --


COOPER: -- the rain on, it would be perfect.

We're going to take a quick break.

Is the concert on, is the concert off?

Clearly, they want to try to have the concert, even if people are not there. We're going to take a short break. We'll have more on the other end of the break.





COOPER: Welcome back. We are continuing our coverage of the "We Love New York City Concert," which right now is on hold. As you can see, there is a lot of rain hitting the concert venue. What you're looking at there is the stage on the right-hand side of your screen. And the empty grass area where people have been standing and some were sitting earlier; 80 percent of that concert was free -- free tickets for people; 20 percent was VIP tickets for people who paid for the seats in front of the stage.

Barry Manilow had been performing, was about to perform "I Made It through the Rain," and they called the concert because of lightning strikes. So let's check in with Erica Hill, at the concert venue, for the latest.

Erica, the talk was they were going to try to have the concert with or without the audience if the weather changes.

What are you hearing?

HILL: We are still trying to confirm where their heads are at, frankly. The other thing I'd point out is, as everybody was leaving, everything's shutting down. So we saw a lot of the security staff, hired for the event, we saw them leaving.

It's not clear if they were then being moved into perhaps an area where they can stay dry in case they were needed. I'm actually standing in a concession stand right now, which has been fully broken down, the tables were just put away. We're standing here with some members of the NYPD as we're all trying to just stay dry.

But they were selling food here. They're not selling anything right now and they packed everything up. So again, not clear, if they were to bring people back in, I don't think that they can. So if they're doing it with no one here, we would see them on TV, which would be amazing.

But again, we can't get a straight answer. I think they're trying to figure it out.

Can they get those performers on stage.

Can they get through what they had planned, which was a pretty incredible show as we saw. We'd seen a good portion of it.

So can they get those performers back?


HILL: It's still raining pretty heavily here and I know Chad said it's going to dissipate in a little bit. When I was up close to the stage when we came in and sought shelter under this tent, we did see a number of officers up front. (INAUDIBLE) that was to keep people away from the stage.

But everybody had cleared out at that point. They were already picking up the trash on the field. People were discussing what was happening on stage. But it was still pretty quiet up on that stage. There were only a handful of people. And I just heard thunder. So it sounded like thunder and when you hear thunder and lightning, it's tough to have those performers back on stage. There's going be a lot of concerns obviously about safely.

COOPER: Erica, thanks. I'm here with Chloe Melas.

What are you hearing?

MELAS: So I have been messaging with Clive Davis' son, Doug, who says they are trying to bring the concert back by 10:00 pm and that his father is currently in talks with Mayor de Blasio, going back and forth. Clive Davis and Mayor de Blasio having conversations right now about what to do, right?

As you see a monumental undertaking. This was -- would normally take months crammed into eight weeks to put this together, to get the biggest music artists of the last century together.

And I just got video of these VIPs and these stars backstage. I mean, they're in an enclosed safe-ish area back there, just kind of waiting in the wings to see what's going to happen.

Although people may have gotten in cabs and subways to head home, I think there's still hope we might get to see possibly maybe Barry Manilow sing, in the rain, which again, like you said, would be iconic. And I have to say we talked about this earlier, Anderson, some of the most iconic performance of all time have taken place in the rain, like Prince, Purple Halftime Show.

COOPER: Diana Ross, I keep bringing up Diana Ross. I'm waiting for the video.

MELAS: One of my favorite songs, "Singing in the Rain," Gene Kelly.

COOPER: So the idea would be, what you're hearing, try to have a concert say from 10 o'clock to whenever --

MELAS: Well, tomorrow is Sunday.

COOPER: And unclear which acts -- I don't know -- what's unclear is, would they try to -- would all the performers who were slated to perform still be able to perform?

MELAS: That is my understanding. So after Barry Manilow, we were expecting to have artists like Maluma and then Bruce Springsteen.

COOPER: Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, (INAUDIBLE) --


MELAS: Right, so again, some of these biggest names we were waiting for, even though we had 75 percent of the show with incredible people like Carlos Santana and Jennifer Hudson and the New York Philharmonic.

But, yes, from what I'm being told and from the video I just got, these celebrities, they're still there. They're still waiting. COOPER: OK, I think the biggest question tonight is does Barry Manilow

continue his performance?

Or do they move on from him?

Is Barry Manilow still there?

We should try to get Barry Manilow to call in.

MELAS: Barry, if you're listening, give us a call.

Because I would assume he wants to perform that song as well.

COOPER: He was doing a medley of all his greatest.

MELAS: I know.

COOPER: He did "Copa," he did "Mandy."

MELAS: I know, he did.

COOPER: Oh, my god.

MELAS: I was waiting for Maluma because I love him so much and then sounds of silence, "The Graduate." I mean I've seen that movie so many times I wanted to have my Simon Garfunkel moment but minus the Garfunkel --


COOPER: Simon and Garfunkel actually played a free concert in Central Park in, I think it was 1981, maybe they did two--


MELAS: Were you there?

COOPER: I may -- I honestly don't remember. I know I went to - I think I was at a James Taylor free concert, which would have been like '79, '80. Yes, but I would have been like 11 years old.

MELAS: I think also just seeing --


MELAS: -- I think so many people also came out to see Bruce Springsteen, The Boss. And obviously he's a legend especially here in the Northeast. So obviously we have been tracking at CNN, you know, throngs of his fans were coming. And they are devoted.

So if they hear The Boss is still on premises, I could imagine all the cafes around Central Park up and down Fifth and Central Park are all just filled with people.

COOPER: If they were able to start the concert again at 10 o'clock, there's no doubt a lot of people who were at the concert, who have passes and tickets and who have been vaccinated, would want to come back if they were able to.

The question, as Erica Hill was just saying, a lot of the security staff who had been hired for the venue, they obviously -- they're not visible, at least, and maybe they're just seeking shelter and waiting this out.

MELAS: I think also part of the conversation is between Clive Davis and Mayor de Blasio about with an audience or without an audience. And I think that, obviously, the safety of all the concert goers, along with the performers, is obviously the number one priority right now.

But what I'm hearing, though, is that they want Clive and his son, Doug, for the show to go on.


MELAS: As cliche as that sounds, the show must go on, even if that means without an audience and they're trying to make that happen because the length, this mega moment that this concert is, it's not that easy to just say, you know what, we'll just do it the second part in September.

COOPER: Just the sheer number of, you know, top talent that they have waiting backstage still -- and again, part of this has got to be probably up to them whether they want to stick around and some may be flying out.

MELAS: We know Carlos Santana would probably still get back on stage.

COOPER: Carlos Santana doesn't believe in time or gravity so this is nothing for Carlos Santana because what's two hours until 10 o'clock? It's nothing.

MELAS: Exactly. So you know that he'd go back on stage.

COOPER: If you wonder what we're talking about, Carlos Santana came here after he performed today and we taped an interview that maybe, at some point we'll play, which it was just illuminating and like he was just such a cool guy and in a different plane of existence.

MELAS: And he wants to have a television show with you.

COOPER: He talked about doing some programming for CNN, maybe CNN Plus, which I'm all for. I don't make the rules around here. But if he wants to do programming, I'd hear that pitch meeting.

MELAS: He also said something I'd like is to leave with is leave with gratitude. And how he was overseas and that we all -- he saw it on a street sign somewhere and that we should all live with gratitude more. And I did find that poignant, though, because everything that we've all been through during the last year with the COVID-19 pandemic, to be thankful for those little moments and little things.

COOPER: He really changed -- he touched your life tonight.

MELAS: You said he did as well. COOPER: He kind of blew my mind, sort of like --

MELAS: You said it was one of your favorite interviews of all time.

COOPER: Well, I don't know. I was carried away in the moment.


COOPER: I don't know how that interview will hold up over the course of time.


MELAS: And his new album, which is coming out very soon, by the way.

COOPER: He said he was going to send a lot of stuff. I'm not holding my breath but he was a lovely guy. And I kind of wish I could live in Carlos Santana's world because it looked a lot of fun.

MELAS: I feel a podcast with you, him and Andy Cohen could be in the works.

COOPER: I don't know about that.

MELAS: But living in gratitude, like Santana said, these words to live by, at least we've seen 75 percent of this concert. Like, we have seen a lot of great acts.

COOPER: Yes, it was good. It's been fun. Yes, OK, definitely.


COOPER: Joined on the phone now by Barry Manilow.

Mr. Manilow, it's Anderson Cooper.

Can you hear me?

BARRY MANILOW, ENTERTAINER: Hey, Anderson, really, you know I would love to give you a wisecrack. But it's such a shame that this is happening. It took so much work for so many people to put this show together. It really -- it just is so disappointing.


COOPER: Well, Barry, to me the shame is you were on the verge of singing "I Made It through the Rain."

And to me it was going to be one of those iconic like Diana Ross singing in the rain in Central Park. And I was so ready for that, Barry.

MANILOW: Really, so was I.

(LAUGHTER) MANILOW: They just came and cut us off and threw us off the stage because they were afraid of lightning. It was getting very dangerous out there.


Did you know this was coming?

When you were on the stage --

MANILOW: No, no.

COOPER: No, you didn't?

MANILOW: No. Well, you know, when I was in the wings I saw it start to drizzle but I had no idea it was going this far.

My music director, Ron (ph), give me a chord.


MANILOW: Well, maybe one of these days we can do this again and it won't rain.

COOPER: Barry Manilow, you just made our week. I mean, that was awesome.

By the way, do you have a musical director just standing by at all times in your life?

MANILOW: Well, look, yes, we're all huddled in our dressing room and we have a piano there. So it was easy.


MANILOW: Well, thanks for asking us. I was so looking forward to playing it and now I just did.

COOPER: I'm so glad. But you were so great on stage. You started with "Copacabana," with a classic, and of course, a New York based song. You moved into "Mandy." I mean --

MANILOW: Oh, please I had this long medley of all the hits.

COOPER: I know, they were all --


COOPER: I could tell.

MANILOW: -- yes, I was so excited to do it. Oh, I'm so disappointed.

COOPER: You know what?

What you just did, I'm so glad you actually did it, because I mean there's some talk now they may try to bring the show back on, even if an audience isn't there.


Have you heard that?

MANILOW: Well, I've been hearing both ways. We're ready to go. Whatever happens, we're ready to go.

COOPER: OK. Now, here's the question, would you start -- if they brought it back, would you start with Copa again? Or would you just go from right where you left off with Mandy and just bring in the other hits?

MANILOW: I don't know. Look, I'll tell you what it feels like when we get up there. I've got so many songs. I can -- I can take care of the whole night.

COOPER: You got too many hits, Barry Manilow. You have too many.

MANILOW: Too many. I know you're right. I'm so the Jewish guilt is kicking in.

COOPER: Don't -- know, don't let that happen.

Listen, hey, I actually once went to a concert, it's a long story. But Prince was playing in a hotel room in the Gansevoort Hotel. I don't know why I was invited, but I was. And on the stage, he kept saying, because it got later and later in the night, he kept saying, I got too many hits, I got too many hits. So that's what I say to you, Barry Manilow, you have too many hits.

BANILOW: Can't get enough hits -- sorry, can't be enough hits.

COOPER: You've -- I'm looking at the record here, you've recorded and released 51 top 40 singles on the Adult Contemporary chart, 13 of them hit number one, 28 appeared within the top 10, 36 in the top 20. And you are still going? I mean, you are ageless and timeless.

MANILOW: I'm just getting started.

COOPER: And so, what is -- so is it -- was this the first -- have you been performing at all? Is this the first time you were -- be able to be on the stage?

MANILOW: Yes, this is the -- first of all, not only as performing, but to get together with the band. And my group and my crew and -- oh, yes, this was a wonderful, wonderful experience up until this rain hit. So, yes, we wouldn't -- we hadn't performed in what a year and a half. You know, we were so excited to do this.

COOPER: You -- were you nervous at all? I mean, obviously, you know, people were vaccinated in the audience. But still, you know, it's obviously the first time back on stage after this, you know, this mishegoss?

MANILOW: Yes. No, I was not nervous. I trust that everybody -- well, first of all, they wouldn't even let us in the park without making sure that everybody was vaccinated. And we must have taken three tests in five days. So, you know, I felt very safe about that. And I felt very safe about the whole -- the whole event.

It was so well put together too. Honestly, it's such a shame that this happened. It was so -- you know, I went to the men's room and it was -- you could eat off the floor. It was so clean. They took care of everything.

COOPER: I don't recommend that, Barry.

MANILOW: I know. But you don't want to get -- it was so to -- it was so together. You know, it really is a shame that -- I hope -- you know, I would love for them to do it again. But it's such an incredibly difficult event.

COOPER: Barry, I got to ask you a question that's been on my mind really for a long time. Since I first heard Copacabana, and I'm embarrassed to ask you this, especially publicly. Is it music and fashion were always the passion or is it music and passion were always in fashion?

MANILOW: Yes. Well, music and passion were always the fashion.

COOPER: Thank you. You know what, this has been debated. You will not believe how many times I brought this up with people and wondered and now it's been answered.

MANILOW: Oh, OK. Anderson, that means a lot to you. OK.

COOPER: Let me wait -- well, let me just ask you. Because I don't know if you're stuck there. I'm enjoying talking to you. So please, if you got to go, just, you know, just give me a hint or something. Just say like.

MANILOW: No, not at all. It's fun.


MANILOW: Really, it's such fun on a terrible night.

COOPER: I know. So, you're in a -- you're in a -- what are you in a trailer right now with your team and a piano?

MANILOW: Yes. We are next door to Patti Smith. What -- is it Patti -- yes, Patti Smith and Elvis Costello. And I think there's a couple more people in this particular --

COOPER: I guarantee you Patti Smith and others are not having as much fun as you are having it in your --

MANILOW: Well, that's because of you.

COOPER: Well, I don't know about that. Actually, Barry, I still -- I do -- Elvis Costello may have been the first concert I ever went to for his Armed Forces album. It was either Grandmaster Flash with Furious Five, because at the time, they had their --

MANILOW: Talented guy -- talented guy. I love what he did with that album.

COOPER: Totally, yes.

MANILOW: But I mean, your career has been so extraordinary. I mean, you think the -- you know, you when you got through -- I actually now have your setlist for what you're going to play. You got through Copa, you did Mandy, it was going to be, I can't smile without you, even now, Weekend in New England ready to take a chance again, looks like we made it, daybreak, this one's for you, and I write the songs, and then I made it through the rain.


MANILOW: Yes, yes. It would have been great.

COOPER: You're going to -- you know what, if they -- if you're able to stay tonight, and I think they're going to do this concert, I think they're going to start at 10:00 o'clock. I -- that's the word that's floating around. I certainly hope that's the case.

MANILOW: Well, if it's something -- if it stops raining, well, we're there.

COOPER: Yes. What if -- what if it's no lightning or thunder but rain, would you still go for it?

MANILOW: I'll go -- whatever they want. Really, sure. You know, the only big problem that keeps raining. You know, the electricity with the band, The -- all the -- all the machinery that's outside, you know, in the rain, I just don't -- I can't -- you know, we -- I've been down this road so many times in the other venues. And when it does rain like this, they just -- they can't do it. They can't plug anything in. They all -- you know, it's dangerous.

COOPER: Yes. Well, I you know, I could see an acoustic Barry Manilow tonight. I think the -- I'd go for that.

MANILOW: Well, let's see what happens. I really -- I do hope they can bring us all over. We'll see what happens.

COOPER: Yes. Well, listen, Barry Manilow, I don't want to keep you because I'm sure you got more important things to do than --

MANILOW: You're too much. Thanks for asking me to do this, Anderson. Thank you.

COOPER: It is such a joy. I -- Is there anything you want to sing us out with? I mean, I know I'm pushing it. I know I'm pushing it.

MANILOW: Oh, give me a (INAUDIBLE) You know I can't smile without you, I can't smile without you, if you only knew what I'm going through, I just can't smile without you. And a special voice too.

COOPER: Man. Barry Manilow, God bless you. Thank you so much. You made -- you made our night. Thank you. I hope you get back on.

MANILOW: Bye-bye, everybody.

COOPER: All right. Bye-bye. Wow. I mean, I got to say of like for live television moments.

MELAS: OK. So first of all, the power of Anderson Cooper, you literally did what Oprah talks about where you spoke it into existence, where you said, imagine Barry, if you're listening call in right now and Barry picked up the phone and called you.

COOPER: No. I'm sure we call -- I'm sure somebody some smart enterprising producer just --

MELAS: And then he sang, I've made it through the rain.

COOPER: I mean, incredible.

MELAS: I just want him to go next door to Patti Smith and Elvis Costello. Barry, why don't you tell him -- call in --

COOPER: I shouldn't -- no, that's what I should have done.

MELAS: Patti Smith and Elvis Costello --

COOPER: I should have said to him --

MELAS: Knock on their trailer.

COOPER: Barry, just send somebody over, knock on, and say, you know what, we're having a little kinky and come on over. We're all singing into the phone in CNN.

MELAS: I know. Maybe we could just have everybody FaceTime in tonight and just do it from various trailer. He has a piano in his trailer.

COOPER: Wow. This night has been really a revelation in my -- I don't know if we're ever going to play this Santana interview, frankly. I'm not sure what's going on. I'm sure that the controller has a lot of important things going on, but there's been a revelation.

MELAS: I think that what this is, is the night of the unexpected, and we just don't know what's going to happen next. So, even if this concert doesn't happen in the next few minutes, it sounds like we might just have the artists call in perform Elvis Costello show for you.

COOPER: One by one. One by one. Exactly. Eric, I'm sorry. I didn't hear you. I think you said I can -- We're going to take a quick break. I'm talking to control room. We're trying to find the Santana interview, perhaps. We'll have more from New York, the concert that may not be over, the concert that may come back just like New York the city itself. We'll be right back.



COOPER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the concert that was and then it wasn't, but it still may be, that we love New York City and might see concert that made it through the rain and Barry Manilow.

If you're just joining us here on CNN, things have completely gone off the rails. We -- the huge --there are a lot of rain and the lightning strikes, so the concert -- everyone had to leave as you can see the venue. All the celebrity stars are in like a big venue back in the backstage. They're all still there.

Barry Manilow, kindly, we reached out to him, I guess, and he called in and he just performed for us from his trailer where he has a piano. He's there with his friends and his team. Maybe they're watching out. I mean, I'm forever appreciative of Barry Manilow.

He had a piano he's seeing, I made it through the rain which is what he was going to sing and what it would have been such an iconic moment, him singing that while the rain is pouring down. It would have been akin to the Diana Ross -- fame Diana Ross thing which we can't get the video for either, but it's like a movie playing in right now. And Barry Manilow was just a joy, wasn't he?

MELAS: I mean, first of all, that I'm getting tweets right now at me saying that this is New Year's Eve, Anderson in August right now, so.

COOPER: I haven't had any shots, but I feel like I have because Barry Manilow just, you know, like, you know, he writes the songs.

MELAS: Well, like we were saying though before his trailer is right next to all the other big stars. So, we just got video of some of the celebrities who are backstage hanging out because people are waiting to see if there --

COOPER: His trailer is next to Patti Smith, and I guess -- Bruce -- Elvis Costello as well, which, you know, if they want to call in too, I would totally sing some Armed Forces stuff with Elvis Costello. Oh, here's Anna Ross in the rain. Check this out.





Maybe this is the first time you're seeing it, but it's worth it. Where's the rain note? That there's -- the point is -- OK. Thank you whoever got the clip. But the point is, when it starts to rain, she famously is like, it doesn't matter, like, we all stay, if you stay and then she like, you know, and then she's there and the rain is pouring down and she's like being Diana Ross.



MELAS: Is that it right there?

COOPER: It's not raining. No, she's talking about the rain. And like, when she's saying about, you know, if you stay.

MELAS: So, were you there? Were you there at that one too?

COOPER: No, I wasn't there --

MELAS: You have so many by so many --

COOPER: But like it's iconic. It's a -- it's something, you know, of -- if your other generation you might --

MELAS: So, to claim she sang in the rain, although there's no --

COOPER: No, please. Let's go to Erica Hill. Erica, things are off the rails here. What are -- what's going on there?

HILL: I am actually in the rain. So, if you need somebody in the rain, I'm your girl? But you don't want me singing -- you've known me long enough to know that that's a bad idea.

In all seriousness, I can tell you that we are under a pinch, it was at 1.8 concession. They have cleared everything out. They're thinking the signs down, they're finally leaving the tent up for our team and about a dozen NYPD officers were also under here with our ponchos on. We just saw a little bit more lightning, we just heard a little bit more thunder. Rain is coming down fairly steadily.

You know, people just kind of waiting to see if in fact, if this decision is made, it's always been talking about to bring the performers back to try to finish a concert. That is what we will see. You know, people have cleared out -- what's interesting is I actually just learned from our colleague (INAUDIBLE) song, she was one of the entrances around 7:30. And she told me at 7:30, just before this was called that there was still a long line of people to get in.

And keep in mind, it was a much more extensive screening process than you would normally see for an event in Central Park, because they were checking everybody's vaccination status or other identification they needed, checking their bags. You weren't allowed to really bring anything in. So probably all of that was happening. That was taking a little bit longer.

Again, there's still people waiting to come in. We have seen event staff, presumably leaving -- all leaving in a big group. These would be events after would be dealing with people in the park. I don't see a way that they would bring anybody back. So, obviously, they would be leaving for the evening.

But again, we're all just kind of on standby at this point as we wait to see. I'm looking at the state a little bit further away than it was before. I don't see any movement on the stage at the point from my vantage point. But, you know, again, maybe Barry Manilow knows more than we do in terms of whether they're going to bring people back, but the rain hasn't led up yet, that I can tell you.

COOPER: Wow. So, it's -- Erica, I mean, the -- you, I know you were saying earlier that the -- you know, the security staff who which would have been hired to, you know, for the crowds, that they obviously are outside -- out of the rain, do you know -- I mean, have they gone away? Have they been dismissed? Because if they're no longer there, then it seems very highly unlikely that the crowd would be allowed to return.

HILL: Yes, it's a good question. I haven't able to get a firm answer on that. They were really confused for people who are just joining us when they were moving people out. I was asking some of the security staff what their instructions for bed, what they were told to tell the concertgoers and they hadn't yet been given any instructions. We did see a large group of men that's moving out. I haven't seen any more of them that it's not clear if they just went to be somewhere, perhaps in shelter.

But it's tough to imagine any way that you could bring tens of thousands of people back into this park. Again, this was -- it's a massive undertaking when you're not dealing with a COVID paid concert. But when you think about all the extra security measures and checkpoints that were put in place, even as a member of the media, we went through three different checkpoints on our way in as our bags protected. They checked our vaccination cards for a second time. I don't see how they could bring that many people back, certainly not in a timely fashion.

COOPER: Yes. Erica, we'll continue to check in with you.

MELAS: Well, I'm just messaging with Doug Davis who says at the concert, according to him, he's the son of Clive Davis, that they are going to be bringing it back at 10:00 o'clock.

COOPER: At 10:00 o'clock.


COOPER: That's the plan.

MELAS: Now, again, obviously, this is all subject to change. You just heard Erica saying that she saw some more lightning, heard some more thunder, and obviously that can't happen at 10:00 o'clock if there's still lightning and thunder.

COOPER: Right. But if there's no -- if there's not lightning, it could --

MELAS: The show will go on without an audience.

COOPER: Right. MELAS: That's the new -- that's the latest right now. We'll continue to follow that. We have, as I mentioned, Carlos Santana -- amazing Carlos Santana stopped by after he performed at the -- at this concert. We talked to him. This is the interview. It's -- you know, interpreted as you will. It's freeform.


Joining Chloe and me right now is Carlos Santana. The legendary Grammy-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member who just performed in tonight's concert. You were amazing tonight. How was it being on that stage?

CARLOS SANTANA, MEXICAN-AMERICAN GUITARIST: It was so wonderful to connect one more time with the heart of New York. The center of the world in bringing a message of hope and courage.

COOPER: Have you -- have you been on the stage -- I mean, in the last 16 months or so during this pandemic?

SANTANA: The first one was last weekend at the new home for the Raiders.

COOPER: Oh, wow.

SANTANA: Yes. We put -- we -- they -- my brother, friend, Mark Davis, invited us to, you know, pop up the place. And we had a lot of fun. It's very wonderful to connect one more time with people's hearts in that volume of, you know, of -- in multitude.

COOPER: Well, also, yes -- I mean, just to see, you know, we were talking earlier, but just to see so many people gathered together and especially in this city, which, you know, it's a lot of frontline workers were there, nurses and doctors and people who have really been, you know, out on the front lines all during this. What did you hope the message was?

SANTANA: The message is that we can transmogrify fear and darkness. We can coexist with unity and harmony, accepting our totality, accepting our own light, and we can create miracles and blessings.

MELAS: You know, I've spoken to so many artists throughout the COVID- 19 pandemic, who talk about being able to feed off of that energy from the audience. What was it like tonight this particular audience?

SANTANA: Very thirsty, they're very thirsty, you know, we're bringing a living water, which is sound resonance vibration. And so, it feels very invigorating. And to know that -- we are at the right time, at the right place to present to them another frequency, frequency be a little different than fear, darkness, and separation, which is what we've been, sort of, dealing with the last two years, you know. And most people have crystallized their intentions in this time of, sort of, incubation, you know, that you crystallize your intention and purpose and then you really prioritize, why am I in this planet?

COOPER: And for you, that's -- for the last few years, that you feel like you've been doing that also in your own life?

SANTANA: Oh, yes. Yes. And so, you have a lot more equilibrium balance, and confidence.

MELAS: And, you know, I have to say, the other day, I re-watched your Woodstock performance. That 45-minute incredible performance that really made you an international superstar. I mean, can you believe it's been over 50 years since that moment?

SANTANA: Well, I am. Time is an illusion. You know, where I am, I discard time and gravity.

COOPER: I want to be there. I want to be there too. Why do I -- I'm stuck in gravity and stuck in time. I'm lame.

SANTANA: No, no, no.


SANTANA: You just have to spend more time with your heart and less time up here.

COOPER: Well, yes, I do. You are like speaking to my soul right now. You're absolutely -- How do I You don't even know me and you know.

SANTANA: Because that's what's happening with everybody. We've been bamboozled. You know, we were imbued. Before we came out of the womb, we were imbued with heavenly powers, which means we can create miracles and blessings. But the world, it programs, there's imbued and being programmed.

They programmed us to believe that you're a wretched sinner, unworthy of your own light. I don't think so. You can keep that. Those beliefs to yourself, man. I am made and the same essence that God is, which is, you know -- and you can look it up in the Bible, you know, he made us in His image.

And God is only good, anything that's less than that. There's a lot of Godzilla energy in the Bible with jealousy and he'll -- if he doesn't like something he hoped flat it like, no, no, that's not God. God is love. So just like you update your phone and your laptop. We need to update the Bible and the Constitution.

MELAS: I feel like I need you to like record some sort of like hype man, something for me to listen to in the morning.

COOPER: Because I was actually thinking more like a daily -- Carlos Santana meditation thing that I could just log on to every day and kind of get a little rethinking of my -- reshaping of my mind.

SANATANA: Gratitude is very powerful. When you say that word, even before you said, you know, because we are that place that you can program your whole molecular structure to say, today, I'm only going to contemplate and entertain thoughts that are inspiring and elevating. Anything else, I'm going to go, no, no, no. That's going to put me in a mystery ditch. I'm going to be sad, lonely and depressed. No, that's boring. That's predictable. I don't want to be boring. I want to be a fulgid.


MELAS: Well, speaking of things --

COOPER: This is the best interview ever. Like you're blowing my mind. But you -- also, your new -- your new album is called Blessings and Miracles.


COOPER: Which I love -- I mean, what are the blessings and miracles? First of all, what can we expect with the album?

SANTANA: I love to see people cry and laugh and dance at the same time, because it means that -- my metaphor is like when you see a shaggy dog that's totally wet, you know, and he starts shaking up the water. And then he creates a rainbow next to the sun, but because -- that water shakes out -- we ward off fear, we would have lack of self- worth, you know?

So, I love all the things that I learned from all the people that I love, John Coltrane, Mahatma Gandhi (INAUDIBLE) you know, people who are still alive today. Harry Belafonte, I love who I am becoming because I'm becoming those, you know, Martin Luther King, I'm becoming those that had impeccable integrity on a very, very high level. And so, it's fun to be Carlos now.

COOPER: I bet. The new album comes out in October. I can't wait to hear it and the new sounds. The word -- the phrase you used earlier, living --


COOPER: No, it's like living water.


COOPER: The music and the vibrations are like a living water.


COOPER: I love that.


COOPER: It's -- and I love that you're putting that out into the world.

SANTANA: I love what you're doing with the television yourself and Cuomo and Don Lemon, you know, all of you are raising the bar, you know. And some people are going to resist because they kind of like living in this nightmare dream that they're living, you know. But you're raising the bar, because what I focus on, when you present you and Cuomo and Don Lemon, is here comes again for the highest good of all people impeccable integrity. If you're not with that, catch the next train because this one's leaving.

COOPER: Well, thank you. I appreciate that.

SANTANA: Thanks a lot.

COOPER: Carlos Santana, it's truly an honor.


COOPER: The world-famous rapper, French Montana, is joining us on the phone now. He was lucky enough to perform before the rain for the concert and to this long delay. French, it's Anderson Cooper and Chloe Melas, thanks for talking to us.


COOPER: Congratulations. How was it to be out on that stage?

MONTANA: All right. All right.

COOPER: How was it? Hey, French, it's Anderson. Can you hear me? Hey, French. Hey, French.


COOPER: And now, we're just hanging out. We're on air and how was it being on that stage? You were awesome.

MONTANA: Man, I loved it, man. It's so beautiful to be outside to see the New York people, you know. I felt like it was -- it was war -- you know -- the scene everybody back there, LL Cool J to Melle Mel, to Fat Joe to Remy Martin. It just felt like, you know, we are the world records back to hit. The whole Bronx, the whole New York is in the building.


MELAS: French, I got to ask you, are you in the car with any of the people that you performed with tonight on stage? Like you and I were friends, you and I know each other, so --

MONTANA: Of course.

MELAS: I got to know though. Who you with right now, anybody?

MONTANA: No, no, I'm not with nobody. Once it started raining, we all scattered. Everybody went their own way.

COOPER: So, they're talking that the concert may come back. Have you been performing? Is this the first time you've been on a stage in a while?

MONTANA: Oh, no, no. Actually, I performed in my residency in Vegas, but it was indoors. It wasn't outdoors.

COOPER: OK. MONTANA: Yes. So -- and we're performing tomorrow at Summer Jam at MetLife Stadium so -- if the hurricane doesn't hit.

COOPER: That's awesome. So to look out and see -- I mean, you know -- you know New York well. You know the Bronx well.