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Alderman OK with midweek Guns N’ Roses concert at Wrigley after Labor Day

Ald. Tom Tunney is willing to grant the Sept. 16 concert a one-time exception to rules governing night games and concerts at Wrigley Field, which are intended to ensure residents get some sleep on work and school nights.

An aerial from a drone shows Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.
Guns N’ Roses could be playing a weeknight concert at Wrigley Field later this year.
Getty

The Cubs would get the go-ahead to hold a rare, midweek concert after Labor Day at Wrigley Field — Guns N’ Roses on Thursday, Sept. 16 — under an ordinance proposed by the local alderman to help the team’s billionaire owners recoup some of their pandemic losses.

The ordinance governing night games and concerts at Wrigley includes a strict prohibition to ensure area residents get some sleep on work and school nights: No midweek concerts after Labor Day, when summer vacation is over and kids are in school.

At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, local Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) introduced an ordinance to waive that post-Labor Day ban and allow the Cubs to hold a 6 p.m. concert on Sept. 16 featuring Guns N’ Roses.

That concert originally was set for Wednesday, July 21, but re-scheduled to Sept. 16 — after Wrigley got the go-ahead to return to 100% capacity for Cubs games and concerts.

“I’m trying to help the Cubs, to be honest with you. There’s less concerts than typically. And it’s been a rough season for everybody. Just because we’re mostly out of the pandemic [doesn’t mean there haven’t been] some huge economic losses for the neighborhood and the Cubs,” Tunney said.

“It’s a one-time exception. I’m not loosening the restrictions other than the fact that we had a pandemic year economically, health-wise and otherwise. It’s all trying to resurrect the local economy — not just the Cubs. It’s a school night. People have to get to bed. It’s an 11 [p.m.] shutdown. But I think the majority of residents understand that this is an exceptional year, as was last year.”

Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose (left) and Slash perform on the first weekend of the Austin City Limits Music Festival on Oct. 4, 2019, in Austin, Texas.
Guns N’ Roses was to play Wrigley Field in July. The show has been rescheduled to Sept. 16, but needs a little help from the city — an exemption to the ordinance governing night games and concerts at the ballpark.
Associated Press

The billionaire Ricketts family that owns the Cubs has had a contentious relationship with Tunney over all things Wrigley — so much so that they tried and failed to take him out as alderman; one of their employees ran against him in the last election.

But Cubs spokesman Julian Green said the team appreciates Tunney’s help in recouping its titanic pandemic losses.

Normally, the Cubs hold seven or eight concerts-a-year at Wrigley. This year, there are three.

“This revenue is important to us. We only got to 100% capacity on June 11. After suffering through a year of zero capacity in 2020, then having played a quarter of the season with 25 and then 60% of fans, we have lost millions in revenue,” Green said.

“Anything that we can do to try to recover our business, put people back to work and contribute to the local economy is gonna be helpful.”

Why does the Guns N’ Roses concert need to be held on a school night after Labor Day?

“These concerts are booked years in advance. We had no idea that we were gonna be at 100% capacity. It’s hard to plan shows, even as early as July, when we weren’t certain at the time,” Green said.

“These artists have also not performed. Their industry has suffered. These bands want to make good for their fans who have purchased the tickets. If there is a way from a scheduling standpoint and band availability to be able to hold a concert, it’s a good thing.”

Last month, the Cubs got the go-ahead for a rare Friday night game on June 18 against the Miami Marlins because the team returned to Chicago late the night before after playing the Mets in New York.

Normally, Friday and Saturday night games are a no-no because they exacerbate parking and congestion problems in Wrigleyville on a night restaurants and nightclubs count on to draw their biggest crowds.

But at Tunney’s behest, the city agreed to the one-time exception due to the Cubs’ travel schedule, hoping to field a better-rested team against the Miami Marlins.

It didn’t work. The Marlins clobbered the Cubs, 10-2.