(WATCH) The fire at the station’s nightclub is recalled in the documentary: “The guest list”
“AMERICA’S DEADLIEST ROCK CONCERT: GUEST LIST” ORIGINAL Documentary premiere on the 19th anniversary of the station nightclub fire in the small town of West Warwick, Rhode Island, New England, when pyrotechnics by an 80s rock band ignited a killing fire 100 persons
REELZ and YourView have partnered with the broadcast of the original documentary of the REELZ network America’s Deadliest Rock Concert: The Guest List which will premiere locally on February 21 at 5:30 p.m. ET.
Cox customers at RI will be able to watch the documentary on YurView, Channel 4 and the documentary will air multiple times through the end of February and into March.
This project presents the deeply personal stories of lives forever altered by the tragic fire at the Station nightclub which left 100 dead, more than 200 injured and devastated the tight-knit community of West Warwick, Rhode Island. It is also the story of the triumph of the human spirit, as evidenced by the resilience of a community and the recovery and rebirth of Joe Kinan, who was the last survivor pulled from the fire and the most badly burned.
On the night of February 20, 2003, more than 400 music fans gathered at the small Station nightclub. Just seconds after 80s sensation Great White took the stage, pyrotechnics ignited a fire that raced up the walls and through the ceiling of the crowded venue. Within 90 seconds, most of those who had not yet escaped would be trapped inside. They would be burned alive, identified days later only by dental records or tattoos. The station fire was a perfect storm of human error that became one of the worst nightclub tragedies in US history. It remains the deadliest rock concert in America.
“Seen through the human lens of victims, survivors and their families, the fire and the milestones in healing physical and emotional scars are highlighted in this poignant television event,” said Steve Cheskin, Vice President director of programming at REELZ. “With intimate insight into the people who have been affected by the tragedy, it is a powerful portrait of humanity, from deep resentment and brutal suffering to the resilience and power of community.”
“This documentary tackles the timeless themes of personal responsibility, loss, courage and forgiveness. People connected to this event are struggling to cope with the aftermath of the disaster – some with grace, some less so. It’s an abject lesson in the tragic potential of bad decisions,” said David Bellino, director of America’s Deadliest Rock Concert: The Guest List. “Local pride and community courage shine through as those interviewed recount the fire and reflect on their duty to remember and move forward in healing. Survivor Joe Kinan’s courage and even humor in the face of the horrific challenges he faced during his recovery are powerful reminders of the endurance of the human spirit.
Viewers will also see rare and shocking footage of the first news crews on the scene tasked with reporting on the horrific event as the families of the victims anxiously awaited news. First responders share their experiences fighting the fire, dealing with casualties and dealing with the chaos as it unfolded.
“They said the building was 1,000 degrees inside. I could hear everything going on around me. The screams were quite loud. Then it got quieter and quieter. Then it was just me. I thought, ‘If I have a choice, I’m not going that way.’ I heard the voice of a fireman shouting, “We’ve got one here. I was placed on a stretcher and rushed to the nearest hospital. Weeks later, when I woke up from my coma, I immediately understood and accepted what was happening. I spent the next 50 weeks in the hospital. Even after my discharge, at the end of each day, I felt like I had to go “home” to the hospital. It’s been one of the most comfortable and relaxing places for me to date,” said Joe Kinan, who to date has had 136 surgeries, including a hand transplant. He will continue to require surgeries for the rest of his life. “This experience taught me that I am a tenacious person. I persevere every day.
America’s Deadliest Rock Concert: The Guest List is partially based on the book,”Killer Show: The Station Nightclub Fire, America’s Deadliest Rock Concert,” written by John Barylick. who is a producing partner of the documentary and an attorney/law professor in Rhode Island. His book is considered the first and most comprehensive exploration of the chain of events leading up to the fire, as well as its legal and human consequences.
“The mood of the crowd inside the station went from celebration to curiosity, concern and absolute terror in the space of about 20 seconds. It was a tragedy on a scale never before seen in Rhode Island. The site of the fire looked like the scene of a battle, fought and lost,” John Barylick said. “My horror at the incident grew with the death toll. It was hard to comprehend the full scope of this and what missteps could lead to such a violent and deadly fire. Hopefully this story will change us all a bit our lives so that we never have another disaster in the Station nightclub.
Dee Snider, the frontman of Twisted Sister, once played in the Station nightclub and many others like her in cities and towns across the country, as was the case with many rock and metal bands of the 80s. Snider, who helped bring fellow recording artists together for a fundraising concert for survivors and victims’ families, can be heard performing a new song, “Stand.”
“No one should die because they want to see a band and listen to the music they love. No one should be scarred for life, crippled or have their children orphaned because of their love for rock n roll,” a said Dee Snider “This documentary not only serves as a reminder of this incredible tragedy, but it shines a light on an incredible group of people who overcame unfathomable loss and survived and even thrived afterward.”
America’s Deadliest Rock Concert: The Guest List explores the fire at the Station nightclub through compelling survivor stories and family members and friends of the victims who commemorated their loss through activities ranging from a memorial body art display to the reimmersion in rock culture that initially brought them and their loved ones to the Station nightclub. Their stories embody courage and inspire while others depict much darker consequences.
Great White’s own Jack Russell emerged from the experience of a changed man carrying with him the burden of the blame for what happened that night and in a series of very revealing interviews he shares his search for peace after the fire after a nearly two-decade journey of paralysis grief and depression after surviving the tragedy. In the afternoon before the concert, Russell met many Great White fans in the West Warwick area and graciously added their names to the guest list for the show that evening. For many of these fans, what seemed like their lucky day turned out to be their last.
Weeks after the fire, a charred handwritten notebook page was recovered from the ashes of the Station nightclub which contained rows of names and above them were the words ‘Guest List’.
YurView, a local RI network owned by Cox Communications, is proud to partner with REELZ on this important and compelling documentary. America’s Deadliest Rock Concert: The guest list can be seen in RI on Cox Communications’ YurView Network, Channel 4 on the following days and times:
February 21, 2022 5:30 p.m.
February 24, 2022 5:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.
February 26, 2022 10 a.m. & 8 p.m.
February 27, 2022 8:00 p.m.
February 28, 2022 5:30 p.m.
March 3, 2022 5:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.
March 5, 2022 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
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