​A Tribe Called Quest cancelled festival gig due to “a wave of grief” over loss of Phife - News - Mixmag
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​A Tribe Called Quest cancelled festival gig due to “a wave of grief” over loss of Phife

They felt "the huge void of Phife’s absence"

  • Harrison Williams
  • 15 August 2017

This past weekend A Tribe Called Quest were set to perform their last gig at an American music festival at Outside Lands in San Francisco, but were forced to cancel because of what was initially said to be “unforeseen travel issues”. Now the group has shared a statement detailing how the cancellation was actually due to “a wave of grief” over the loss of the late Phife Dawg.

The rush of emotion that band members felt was sparked by an earlier performance at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater last Thursday. In a statement, A Tribe Called Quest revealed how the loss of their dear friend still weighs heavily on their minds.

“The beautiful Red Rock amphitheater was filled with voices helping us get through a difficult performance without our brother Phife. You would think that with every performance we heal a little more and the sadness is easier to handle. Sometimes that is the case and sometimes the grief and loss is compounded. Although the house was filled with love and we felt it all, we also felt the huge void of Phife’s absence. We walked off that stage deep in grief.”

Phife Dawg passed away in March 2016, eight months before the release of the latest A Tribe Called Quest album titled 'We Got This Covered, Thank You For Your Service’. Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and other members have been on tour this summer and have put on spectacular performances, but this last one could not take place.

“In show business there is a notion that the “show must go on” no matter what. Sometimes though, when you have lost someone close, you are riddled with the notion that there is no going on. That Friday morning upon traveling to San Francisco, a wave of grief was still on us and in that moment we could not see the “on” to go on to.”

Coming up in September, A Tribe Called Quest is set to perform at Electric Picnic in Ireland. Read the full statement below.

Dear Questers,

We want to sincerely apologize to you for our absence at the Outside Lands Music Festival. Your love, dedication and support of our music is important to us. Our performance at the festival has been months in the making and in those months we have been fraught with an emotional and eager excitement to touch the stage in the place where Phife Dawg made his home.

Upon the eve of playing for you, we performed not to a mixed crowd of festival patrons but to a filled house of solely Questers. It was humbling. The beautiful Red Rock amphitheater was filled with voices helping us get through a difficult performance without our brother Phife. You would think that with every performance we heal a little more and the sadness is easier to handle. Sometimes that is the case and sometimes the grief and loss is compounded. Although the house was filled with love and we felt it all, we also felt the huge void of Phife’s absence. We walked off that stage deep in grief.

In show business there is a notion that the “show must go on” no matter what. Sometimes though, when you have lost someone close, you are riddled with the notion that there is no going on. That Friday morning upon traveling to San Francisco, a wave of grief was still on us and in that moment we could not see the “on” to go on to. Eventually though in face of loss you find that glimmer of light to bring you to your center and you find the “on.”

We missed Friday but we found our “on” the following day. We wanted to play for you and we wanted to honor Phife’s wife in their hometown. Unfortunately, everything did not come together before the closing curfew. For that, we are deeply sorry. We look to correct this and regain your confidence.

Actually, let us restate that — we will correct this and regain your confidence.

A special shout out goes out to Another Planet Entertainment, the promoter/organizer of Outside Lands.

They put together an incredible event that was enjoyed by many despite the fact that we were unable to add to that joy. We want to express our appreciation for their efforts and encourage our fans to continue to support them. And to those who traveled far and wide, we sincerely apologize and are looking for ways to make this up to you. We are fully aware that without you (the fans), we would not be where we are today. We appreciate you having our back during this challenging period.

We are not making excuses for our absence. We just wanted you to know that we are still grieving and yet we want to honor each and every one of you for 28 years of music love. Thank you for the support.

Sincerely, Tribe

Harrison is Mixmag's East Coast Editor. Follow him on Twitter here

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