Here are some articles I found. There was a bit of an uprorar at the time, I recall -- particularly since he claimed he didn't want to play in a country that was mourning, but that seemed to contradict his rush to put together the Concert for New York after 9/11. I have to admit I thought that was weird too and that there had to be something else to it (like slow ticket sales or concerts not selling out), particularly after it became known that the Queensland government had thrown a lot of monetary inducement at Paul to play exclusively in Melbourne. Anyway, here are the articles that I could find, and a couple of comments from various places:
Paul McCartney cancels Australian concert
By Andrew Heasley
October 28 2002
Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney has postponed his promised Melbourne concert next month, citing the Bali bombings.
"As a mark of respect to both the families who have lost loved ones and to the families of the injured, I have decided to postpone my planned concert in Melbourne as this is not the appropriate time for a rock show," McCartney said.
"Like many who have a deep fondness for Australia, I have been shocked and saddened by the recent terrible events in Bali. My sympathies . . . are with you in all your grief," he added.
The no-show is a blow to Major Events Company chairman Steve Vizard and Premier Steve Bracks, who announced the concert on October 10 with taxpayers' money ensuring it would be exclusive to Melbourne.
"Sir Paul's decision is a personal response to the tragic events in Bali. I know he has been deeply moved by these events and this has not been an easy decision," Mr Vizard said.
"It is particularly understandable as this concert features freedom as a theme." He said work would begin "to explore future possible dates".
A spokesman for Mr Bracks said the government respected McCartney's decision. "Major Events looks forward to when Mr McCartney does tour in Melbourne," the government spokesman said.
Opposition Leader Robert Doyle said his party "maintained it was inappropriate that taxpayers' money was used to entice McCartney to come here".
Tour promoter Paul Dainty said 30,000 tickets had sold in the five days since tickets went on sale. Prices ranged from $99.50 to $449.50 for "diamond circle" seats. The money would be refunded, Mr Dainty said.
An entertainment industry insider said McCartney employed a large number of Australians in his road crew of 150 and they had been deeply affected by the Bali attacks.
No revised concert date has, as yet, been set.
Bracks defends public funding of McCartney concert
The Victorian Premier, Steve Bracks, has rejected claims Paul McCartney's Melbourne concert was cancelled because of slow ticket sales.
Sir Paul has cited the Bali bombings, saying it is not the appropriate time for a rock concert.
The concert created controversy earlier this month, when the Opposition criticised the Government for using taxpayers money to ensure the show was exclusive to Melbourne.
Mr Bracks says the Government will work to find another date for the concert, adding that tickets were selling well.
"Of the 45,000 available tickets 30,000 were sold," Mr Bracks said.
"So the task will now go ahead to try to recoup, send those refunds back to those 30-people so it was well on target.
"In fact there was planning under way for a second concert."
Questions remain over McCartney no-show
By Patrick Donovan, Paul Daley, Steve Waldon
November 2 2002
Melbourne, it seems, just can't work it out. After this week's news that Paul McCartney would not be, as advertised, performing in Melbourne on November 23, key figures in persuading the former Beatle to bring his present tour to the Telstra Dome said fans had to accept his explanation that the Bali bombings changed everything - that a "celebratory" rock concert seemed inappropriate.
Among those figures was Victorian Major Events Committee chairman Steve Vizard.
By yesterday, Mr Vizard was less conciliatory. If Sir Paul was so affected by the murder of innocent holidaying Australians, perhaps he could have performed a benefit show, he said.
"If you're committed to that, come and do a concert and turn some of the proceeds over, or dedicate something to those people (victims)," he said.
Mr Vizard also said he was disappointed Sir Paul had not consulted the organisers of the Melbourne event before deciding to postpone it.
"I'm disappointed because I didn't understand the decision, and because they made the decision without getting the full information (from) the people they are supposed to be working with - the promoter, us, and the stadium," he said.
"It's incredibly disappointing, given the work we did."
Sir Paul's decision is said to have been made after he spoke to relatives in Adelaide and Sydney.
The musician, who was in Los Angeles with his band, said he was horrified at reports of the carnage in Bali and, say those close to him, his heart went out to the families who were desperately trying to identify and retrieve their loved ones' bodies.
His relatives had told him that the mood in Australia was one of deep loss and grieving, but they did not advise him to call off his concert. According to confidants, that was a decision he made after talking to his wife, Heather Mills, and advisers, including long-time spokesman Geoff Baker.
In a series of late-night phone calls to co-promoter Paul Dainty, one of Sir Paul's business advisers explained the musician's sentiments.
Mr Baker also had numerous conversations with senior figures in the Paul Dainty Corporation, to explain Sir Paul's position.
"The only reason, the entire reason why the concert was postponed is that Paul thought it would be inappropriate, highly insensitive, to stage what is a very joyous, happy rock show at a time when there as so much grief in Australia," Mr Baker told The Age.
But as the week unfolded, the sudden postponement triggered speculation that the Bali tragedy was not the only explanation for Sir Paul's decision.
He commands $6 million a show and sources told The Age that promoters would have covered their costs only if they sold out two concerts at Telstra Dome. They said tickets for the first show had not sold quickly enough to warrant a second.
But a spokesman for the Dainty Corporation had earlier confirmed that 30,000 of the 38,000 available tickets had been sold, 6000 to interstate buyers.
As for another theory - that Sir Paul and his entourage were spooked by the terrorist threat so close to Australia - Mr Baker was emphatic: "That is the biggest load of bollocks of all. If that were the case, do you think he would be playing to crowds of 60,000 in the States?"
Mr Baker said Sir Paul understood his decision would rankle with fans in Australia. "But Paul would much rather be in this situation than to be seen as in any way being insensitive towards people who are suffering so much grief," he said.
Furthermore, he said, the concert had not been cancelled, just postponed.
Premier Steve Bracks said he believed "fans are quite rightly disappointed" but he still hoped, that Sir Paul would perform a Melbourne concert.
posted by david on Tue 15 Oct 2002 @ 09:33 PM
Late last week, the Victorian State Government copped some flak for not disclosing the amount of the financial inducement made to Paul McCartney and his tour promoters to stage a show in Melbourne. Whatever the amount, it seems absurd for a government to throw tax payer dollars at one of the richest men in England. I'm sure many Melbourne musicians would have preferred to see that amount spent on supporting the local industry. Any hopes that the concert will boost the local economy is presumably based on the assumption that there will be an influx of out-of-state visitors, but in light of the announced ticket prices, I'd imagine that only the truly nutty or very wealthy fans will be able to afford both the travel costs and the ticket price. To quote the Ticketmaster email: Ticket prices will start at $99.50 for Bronze, $174.90 for Gold Circle and selected Platinum tickets at $299.50. A very, very limited number of Diamond Circle tickets will also be available. $300 for a pop concert? In a cavernous stadium venue? So far they haven't disclosed the price of the "Diamond Circle" tickets but somehow I don't think they'll be very affordable. I guess what really saddens me is that when the real legends of pop and rock music come to town, the prices are so extreme that your average aspiring musician has little hope of being part of the experience. It's obscene Paul, it's simply obscene and you should be ashamed of yourself.
update: Were they having trouble selling tickets? Some have asked that question in light of the decision to postpone/cancel the concert. Paul has cited the Bali bombing as the reason for not going ahead with the show, which seems strange given his prominent involvement in New York concerts and fundraisers after September 11. Steve Vizard from the govt "Major Events" group has claimed that 30,000 tickets for the show had been sold (which would represent revenue of at least $3 million, given the ticket prices). Everyone has been promised a full refund (including the Ticketmaster handling charge?) so we'll have to wait and see whether the show is merely postponed or cancelled altogether. It all feels very fishy.