JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The highly anticipated Stadium Tour fired up with a splash Saturday at TIAA Bank Field as the heavens let loose just as the concert was set to begin at 4:30 p.m.
Headliner Def Leppard’s hit “Pour Some Sugar On Me” was likely running through some concert-goers’ minds as they ran for cover because of lightning in the area.
Jacksonville police asked those who hadn’t arrived at the stadium yet to shelter in place until the worst of the storm had passed, then just before 6 p.m. posted that normal operations had resumed at the stadium and music was set to begin again.
We are being advised the severe weather has passed @TIAABankField and the stadium has resumed normal safe operations. The music is set to begin again shortly as we look forward to @MotleyCrue and @DefLeppard at the #StadiumTour.@CityofJax @THEJFRD @JaxReady @Jaguars— Jax Sheriff's Office (@JSOPIO) July 2, 2022
A larger than normal crowd is expected for the Stadium Tour concert, which was originally slated for summer 2020 but was twice delayed because of COVID-19.
The rain didn’t stop concert-goers, many of whom arrived packing ponchos.
“The rain feels good because it’s been really hot,” fan Grant Wire said. “I’m looking forward to seeing Bret Michaels. He just got out of the hospital, but he’s going to try and perform. It should be fun and we’ll see if we make it in.”
Michaels was hospitalized in Nashville on Thursday, which forced him to miss a performance there, and some had questioned whether he would be taking the stage in Jacksonville with his band, Poison.
But Michaels put those questions to bed Saturday when he shared a statement on Facebook, explaining that despite his medical situation and treatment, he will perform, but would be bowing out of the meet-and-greet planned for fans.
“Doctors have highly recommended that I continue to rest and try to save all the energy I can for the show,” Michaels wrote. “Therefore I will not be able to be at the meet and greet this evening. I encourage you to go see the other guys and enjoy the meet and greet.”
After Michaels missed the show in Nashville, questions arose about whether Poison would be performing with Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts in Jacksonville, the next stop on The Stadium Tour.
But Michaels quelled those concerns Saturday afternoon with his post, saying he will “attempt to bring all the positive energy, vocals and give you all that I have on stage tonight.”
He also thanked his fans for their well wishes and understanding. The specifics of the medical episode that landed him in the hospital have not been released.
“Florida, you know I love you,” he wrote.
JSO advised fans at the concert to expect traffic coming out of the event and to be patient. Officers will be around to help fans exit.