The timeless, tireless 92-year-old interpreter of the Great American Songbook is scheduled Friday at 7 p.m. at Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center on the University of Northern Iowa campus, Cedar Falls — 141 miles northwest of Davenport. Bennett's tour announced earlier this week that “due to sudden and unavoidable scheduling conflicts,” his performance in Davenport on Wednesday couldn't take place.
A tour spokeswoman said Tuesday that last week, its booking agency was advised by the promoter that “due to flooding and a bad weather forecast for this week that it was best to consider a postponement and based on that advisement we concurred.”
On Monday, the tour was informed that flooding and weather was not an issue, “but by that point, in time we had already altered Bennett’s schedule and it was not possible to reinstate the original touring plan,” the spokeswoman said. “Again, we understand that this may have caused inconvenience to his fans in the area and we regret that he is not able to perform as originally planned.”
Another Bennett tour spokeswoman, in Nashville, Tenn., said: “I know the buzz in Nashville is that the entire state of Iowa is underwater.”
Various parts of downtown Davenport were affected before and after the Mississippi River's historic record crest hit 22.7 feet on May 2. The Adler (136 E. 3rd St.) however has not been adversely affected by flooding, nor were any other dates before Bennett canceled, theater spokeswoman Heather Brummel said Tuesday.
“Flooding has never been an issue. The theater hasn't been directly impacted since the flooding,” she said. “Certainly we would have conveyed that the theater is not directly impacted by the flood. If we can work in another date, we would welcome another opportunity to house Mr. Bennett at the theater. We have tried for years to get him.”
“We're still trying to make this happen, trying to make it happen,” Rick Palmer, executive director of the RiverCenter/Adler Theatre, said. Many Bennett ticketholders planned to come from the show from outside the Q-C area.
“Chicago the Musical” performances, scheduled for early May at the Adler, were postponed to this fall because of changes in the tour's route, unrelated to flooding.
The Adler hosted two Quad City Symphony concerts, screening “Star Wars: A New Hope” in two performances June 1; on Friday, the RiverCenter is hosting Flood Fest; Saturday the Adler has a recital, and then Sunday has a nearly sold-out Steve Martin and Martin Short show.
Last Sunday, the National Weather Service reported the Mississippi River crested at 21.68 feet, the second-highest level since the '93 flood, and was expected to slowly fall through the week.
“What a shame,” Nancy Urban, of Fairfield, Iowa, said Wednesday of the Bennett cancellation. Her 28-year-old son Kesryth — like Bennett an avid painter — had a ticket to the concert and hoped to give the star a portrait he did of him.
“He's always loved, Tony Bennett. He has always been such a fan of Tony's and his art,” Urban said. “He has really inspired him. He's self-taught, he just has a gift. He listens to his music while he paints.”
“He was going to go by himself. All he wanted for his birthday was to see him,” she said, noting his birthday is June 21 and they got a message from the Adler the show was off. “It was so disappointing. His universe has been working toward this for so long.”
"His music is awesome," Kes Urban said Wednesday. "If I could paint as half as good as he sings...It's effortless. I wanted to do a painting of him for a while."
Bennett — who's in good health and turns 93 in August — is scheduled to perform at the Ravinia Festival in the Chicago area June 21; Royal Albert Hall in London June 28-29; Madison, Wis. July 26, and Minneapolis July 28, according to tonybennett.com.
Refunds to Adler ticketholders will be issued via the original point of purchase. For more information, contact the box office at 563-326-8522. The box office is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.