AND WE WONDER WHY AN ARENA ISN'T BUILT…Wonderous Story about a cancelled Jones Beach show

Noon: Sometimes the smaller stories prove the bigger point. Today’s theme: WTF has happened to Long Island?

Stay with me for a few minutes. I heard about this story late last night, around the time I was reading your comments on our NIFA piece and the front-page story in Newsday.

By the way, how about this quote from NIFA member Leonard Steinman?

“This is a referendum on a property tax increase. We will be watching closely to see if the residents of Nassau County, the highest-taxed county in the nation, have an appetitite for a property tax increase.”

That was a front-page story in Newsday. Anyone still think the Islanders should tippy-toe through their PR campaign for fear of rattling opponents into voting no on Aug. 1? (It’s a moot point. The team’s radio, TV, print and social media blitz kicks into high gear next week).

Anyway, back to my non-hockey story that is oh so relevant.

Get this: a Long Island classic rock cover band had its concert tonight at the Jones Beach bandshell cancelled because of…fear of too many people showing up.

You cannot make this up.

Wonderous Stories is a great band comprised of five locals, professional musicians who have been producers and sidemen on major recording projects, television shows and in Broadway orchestras. I highly doubt they play their once-a-week gigs for the money, but more for what Springsteen calls, “the ministry of rock and roll.” They love to play music and enjoy how much it moves people.

Wonderous Stories doesn’t rehearse much. If you go to their shows in Bellmore, Freeport, Franklin Square or B.B. King’s in Manhattan, usually one of the members will call out a song by Peter Gabriel-era Genesis or Badfinger and they’ll just play it. They’ll do it well. They’ll play entire albums start-to-finish like “Abbey Road” and “Tommy.” They play classics, B-sides and one-hit wonders with equal dexterity and passion. One night last winter they brought out Dave Kilminster, who was Roger Waters’ lead guitarist on “The Wall” tour that had just played the Coliseum. They played “Comfortably Numb” and blew the F’ing roof off little KJ Farrell’s in Bellmore.

The band is so good that even though I was never a fan of Yes as a kid, I like watching these pros play ten-minute Yes songs like “Yours is No Disgrace.” (I guess it’s not about Kate Murray).

Tonight, Wonderous Stories was supposed to play one of their favorite shows of the year. You know that legendary bandshell at Jones Beach, right? They’ve played it before and get a great crowd. Well, a few days ago they got a call saying tonight’s show had to be scrapped. Other concerts planned this summer for the boardwalk have been cancelled as well.

Kenny Forgione, one of the band members, reached out to the man in charge – George “Chip” Gorman of the New York State Parks commission. Forgione detailed the conversation on Facebook:

“He actually said that my band and a few other bands just draw too many people and that the people at the concessions say that they are not making enough to pay for the band and extra security.”

I have verified the story. Just like the end of the fireworks on Jones Beach, this little FREE rock-and-roll show will not happen for financial reasons.

So tonight on iconic Jones Beach on Long Island in New York State, a concert by a local classic rock cover band has been cancelled on short notice because too many people were expected to show up on a beautiful Friday night.

And we wonder why it has taken more than a generation to come up with a deal for a new Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. We wonder why a modern home cannot be constructed for the New York Islanders, family shows and concerts.

Wonderous Stories, so looking forward to playing for several hundred Long Islanders, suddenly has no place to play their rock and roll tonight. How’s this for irony? In honor of Paul McCartney playing a pair of sold-out shows at the new, taxpayer-financed Yankee Stadium this weekend, their second set at Jones Beach was going to be completely filled with McCartney classics.

Here’s an idea: maybe Wonderous Stories can play somewhere on the 70 acres of asphalt on the Coliseum property.

Comments welcomed.