Metal band Great White apologizes for playing show with no COVID-19 precautions

Metal band Great White has apologized for performing at an outdoor North Dakota concert where the crowd didn’t wear masks despite the ongoing threat of the coronavirus.

The band drew criticism on social media after the performance Thursday night as part of the First on First: Dickinson Summer Nights concert series in Dickinson, in the state’s southwest. Spin magazine posted video showing the crowd packed in and not wearing face masks.

“We have had the luxury of hindsight and we would like to apologize to those who disagreed with our decision to fulfil our contractual agreement. The promoter and staff were nothing but professional and assured us of the safety precautions,” Great White said in a statement on Saturday.

Although North Dakota health officials recommend physical distancing and wearing masks when possible, there is no legal requirement to do so in the state, and Great White said the band nevertheless was “not in a position to enforce the laws.”

The band is best known for its version of Once Bitten, Twice Shy. A different iteration of Great White that included longtime frontman Jack Russell — and that performed under the name Jack Russell’s Great White — was involved in one of the most tragic concerts in U.S. history in 2003. During a show at The Station nightclub in Rhode Island, the band’s pyrotechnics sparked a fast-moving blaze that caused a bottleneck as fans tried to flee. The fire killed 100 people.