As a native Texan, Lyle Lovett is no fool when it comes to football. The famed and eclectic singer/songwriter may have loyal fans, but he also knows when not to test that loyalty.
That time would not be at 5:40 p.m. Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs are set to do battle against the New England Patriots for the AFC Championship at Arrowhead Stadium.
As such, the Lovett concert with the Kansas City Symphony — originally scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts — has been rescheduled for 2 p.m.
The Symphony announced the decision Tuesday after receiving a deluge of requests.
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“Our ticket holders are never shy about speaking out,” said Jeff Barker, the Symphony’s director of marketing. “As soon as the Chiefs won (against the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday), they have been emailing and calling and instant messaging, all saying, ‘Have you considered moving the Sunday Lyle Lovett concert to an earlier time? Is it even possible with his people?’
“So we ran it by Lyle’s people and they said, ‘You know what? That sounds like a great idea because we want to watch, too.’”
Logistically, the change is not easy, with 80 musicians and at least 25 other workers backstage, along with Lovett and his contingent. The 1,600-seat Helzberg Hall was about 80 percent sold out for the concert.
“These are changes we are happy to make,” Barker said. “We’re all behind them, too.”
Lovett — better known to some as Julia Roberts’ one-time husband — is also performing with the Symphony on Friday and Saturday nights.
For Sunday night, the Symphony had been planning to place large-screen televisions just outside the concert hall. The televisions may still be used, because at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre on the other side of the Kauffman Center, will be the final performance in a touring production of “The Sound of Music.”
That time has not been changed.
“There has been no talk of that, honestly,” said Ellen McDonald, spokeswoman for the Kansas City Broadway Series. “You never cancel a performance. Like the Chiefs, these are serious fans.”
The performance time could not be changed even if they wanted to do so, as a 1 p.m. matinee is also being held that day.
Citywide, the Chiefs’ success has prompted all manner of last minute rescheduling, or attempts at rescheduling. Numerous other events are being held around game time: fashion shows, the last night of KC Restaurant Week, concerts, a watch party for the lunar eclipse at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens.
The Cause Church, 4646 Belleview Ave. near the Country Club Plaza, typically holds a 6 p.m. service on Sundays. Last Sunday, the day after the Chiefs’ victory, the church announced the 6 p.m. Jan. 20 service would be canceled.
At Knuckleheads Saloon, the music venue at 2715 Rochester Ave., owner Frank Hicks has been struggling with what to do. Guitarist Hamilton Loomis is set to play at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
“He’s real popular. He comes through like once each year,” Hicks said. Loomis typically plays to a crowd of 150 to 200 fans. Last year, the venue pre-sold about 75 tickets to the show. For Sunday, they have sold only 15. Hicks said he and Loomis talked about moving the show to an earlier time.
“He said, ‘How ’bout if I play from like 4:30 to 6:30,” Hicks said. But that would hardly be better, still in the middle of the Chiefs game.
“He said if it was no better to play earlier, he may as well play at the normal time and see what happens,” said Hicks. The venue also plans to have the game on television. Hicks nonetheless worries that Loomis may be playing to a very small crowd.
“It’s his livelihood,” Hicks said.
Meantime, Kay Olive, the skate school director of the Kansas City Ice Center, is holding a free skate open house from 5 to 6 p.m. Sunday. Finding open ice time can be difficult. Changing the time was not an option.
“Because ice time is very limited, I had to stick to the day,” she said.
Olive said she will be there. The plan is to have four televisions showing the game.
“I have 60 people scheduled to come,” she said. “They haven’t told me they’re not coming.”
About 100 children, all young hockey players, from cities that include Kansas City, Des Moines, St. Louis, and Lincoln, Neb., will be at the rink at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena for a tournament running Friday through Monday. The tournament has been scheduled for months. Teams have already paid. Reservations have been made.
Running such tournaments depends largely on parent volunteers.
“Our parents are pretty much helping with everything around the rink that whole weekend. Some are pretty bummed” said Jim Krueger, director of travel hockey for Kansas City Youth Hockey Association. “I know some of the dads have said their kids are on their own that weekend. The moms can take them.”
Again, they’ll also have TVs broadcasting the game.
“It’s still not sitting in front of your TV at home, or sitting at a bar watching the game,” Kreuger said. “You’re kind of keeping one eye on the rink and one eye on the game.”
For them, there was no reason to contemplate changing the date of the tournament. Nor was it possible.
“The kids want to play hockey. They love the Chiefs, but they want to play hockey,” Kreuger said. “We didn’t know this weekend would be one of the biggest weekends in Kansas City sports history.”