Net cues Hall of Fame anniversary special
Jann Wenner and Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman have come aboard to exec produce the four-hour HBO spesh built around next month’s Madison Square Garden concerts celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Joel Gallen will direct the special, set to air Nov. 29. Confirmed headliners for the Oct. 29 and Oct. 30 concerts so far include Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band; U2; Eric Clapton; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Friends; Aretha Franklin; Metallica; Paul Simon playing solo and with Art Garfunkel; plus Stevie Wonder. There will also be special guest appearances by Jeff Beck, Chuck Berry, Jackson Browne, Dion, Little Anthony & the Imperials, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Sting, Van Morrison and James Taylor. Other surprise guests will be added.
Robbie Robinson and Cameron Crowe, who are creatively involved in planning the concerts, will also be involved in producing capacities.
The broadcast will be made up of the highlights from two concerts, each of which will run 4½ hours, featuring a different lineup each night.
Wenner said the exercise began as a fund-raiser for the Cleveland-based Hall of Fame, a shrine created 25 years ago by Ahmet Ertegun and a group of his record exec colleagues. Once Wenner got the managers of Springsteen and U2 to book the date around their tour schedules, the bill grew. He then connected with the Playtone partners, who are regulars at HBO with the Emmy-nominated series “Big Love” and the 10-part miniseries “The Pacific,” which airs in March. Wenner wanted a live broadcast, and HBO proposed two hours. They compromised on a length they felt would capture the spirit of the shows.
“Once you’ve got Springsteen and U2, it became easy to make calls and say, ‘Do you want to play on a bill with these guys,'” Wenner said. Crowe is overseeing and producing interstitials that will be shown at the concert and precede each band. They’ll give a sense of the periods of rock history and the artists’ influences.
“We’ve asked each act to do special things, like tributes to their influences, so they won’t just be taking an hour out of their existing shows and dropping it in here,” Wenner said. “Bruce is figuring out which Elvis song he’ll play.”