Way back in 1991, the year Walnut Creek Amphitheatre opened in Raleigh, it booked the closing show of its debut season in November -- R&B singer Patti LaBelle. It was an utter catastrophe, as temperatures plummetted down to near the freezing mark. That might still be the most uncomfortable night I've ever spent out there, and it was all for naught. After an interminable delay following opening act Freddie Jackson, LaBelle came onstage to announce that, due to the frigid temperature, she didn't feel as if she could give us "the show you deserve," with the clothes and the hair and the wailing. So she wasn't going to perform.
The crowd erupted into boos, with many shouting at her to leave and never come back. LaBelle did return to play Walnut Creek a few years later, during the heat of the summer, and all seemed forgiven. But Walnut Creek has never booked a show in November since, choosing instead to end every outdoor-music season in October (including this year, which is scheduled to wrap with Martina McBride on Oct. 4).
Cary's Booth Amphitheatre, however, is going to roll the dice. Just announced: A Nov. 8 date with country singer (and Hannah Montana dad) Billy Ray Cyrus as headliner. It's part of a concert celebration "recognizing the missions of the American Red Cross and the National Veterans Freedom Park, while honoring our Nation's veterans, military personnel and their families."
We'll see how that goes. Meanwhile, tickets go on sale at noon Tuesday.