Great White Issue Apologetic Statement About Maskless North Dakota Show


Great White drew the ire of the metalsphere over the weekend for performing a show in North Dakota with no requirements that the audience wear masks or attempt to social distance. While any band’s decision to put on a show right now without those safety requirements would’ve attracted criticism — video showed the maskless masses packed tight in front of the stage — Great White have a particularly loaded history with regards to audience safety, having been responsible for 100 deaths at a Rhode Island nightclub in 2003 after illegal pyrotechnics caused it to catch fire.

The band has now issued a somewhat apologetic statement for performing the gig, essentially saying that while the state of North Dakota recommends facemasks, the concert’s promoters (and the band) weren’t in a position to enforce that. It’s not clear whether Great White are saying they played the gig because they expected concertgoers to follow the state’s recommendations — their statement’s closing line, “We are far from perfect,” indicates some remorse — and there’s a bit of hedging to placate both sides. The statement, too, is far from perfect. I give it a solid C rating.

Jack Russell’s Great White, meanwhile, the version of the band led by the original frontman that played the Station gig back in 2003, issued their own statement distancing themselves from the version of Great White that played in North Dakota. Russell, to his credit, was already on record as pro-facemask well before the gig took place.

Great White’s statement reads as follows:

“We understand that there are some people who are upset that we performed this show, during this trying time. We assure you that we worked with the Promoter. North Dakota’s government recommends masks be worn, however, we are not in a position to enforce the laws.

“We have had the luxury of hindsight and we would like to apologize to those who disagree with our decision to fulfill 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.

“We are far from perfect.”

Jack Russell’s statement came via a brief video message in which the singer, shown wearing a mask, clarifies the difference between Great White and Jack Russell’s Great White, reiterates that “we take this Covid thing very, very seriously” and encourages his fans to social distance. You can watch that below.

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