A Tribe Called Quest Explain Why They Missed Outside Lands

This past weekend, a Tribe Called Quest were slated to play one of their final shows at San Francisco’s Outside Lands festival, but they cancelled their appearance at the last minute. First, they pushed their performance from Friday night to Saturday, and then they cancelled it outright. Outside Lands organizers blamed the cancellation first on “unforeseen travel issues” and then on “further travel complications.” But that wasn’t the truth. As the LA Times reports, the group themselves have admitted that they were just feeling drained and sad, that the strain of performing without the late Phife Dawg had gotten to them. They also promised that they would “correct this and regain your confidence.” Here’s their full statement:

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

If anything, this just drives home the strength it must take for this group to perform at all. Go see them if you get a chance.