REELZ announces documentary on Great White club fire

America’s Deadliest Rock Concert: The Guest List premieres on the 19th anniversary of the murderous event

REELZ announced the network’s original documentary America’s Deadliest Rock Concert: The Guest List Premieres Sunday, February 20 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT featuring the deeply personal stories of lives forever changed by the tragic Station nightclub fire that left 100 dead, more than 200 injured and devastated the close-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 of the fire and the most severely burned.

On the night of February 20, 2003, more than 400 music lovers gathered in the small nightclub of the Station. Just seconds after the ’80s sensation Great White took center stage, pyrotechnics ignited a fire that raced up the walls and through the packed hall ceiling. In less than 90 seconds, most of those who hadn’t yet managed to escape would be trapped inside. They would be burned alive, identified a few 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 America’s deadliest rock concert.

“Seen through the human lens of victims, survivors and their families, the fire and milestones of physical and emotional scar healing are all brought to light in this poignant televised event,” shares Steve Cheskin, vice president programming director at REELZ. “With an intimate glimpse of people who have been touched by the tragedy, it is a powerful portrait of humanity, from deep resentment and brutal suffering to the resilience and power of the community.”

“This documentary addresses the timeless themes of personal responsibility, loss, courage and forgiveness. Those linked to this event are struggling to cope with the consequences of the disaster – some with grace, some less. It’s an abject lesson about the tragic potential of bad decisions, ”adds documentary director David Bellino. “Local pride and the courage of the community shines through when interviewees recount the fire and reflect on their duty to both remember and move forward towards 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 at the scene reporting on the gruesome event as the families of the victims eagerly awaited the news. First responders share their experiences of 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 that was going on around me. The screams were quite loud. Then it got quieter and quieter. Then it was just me. I was like, ‘If I have a choice, I’m not going away like this.’ I heard the voice of a firefighter scream, ‘We have 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 I was discharged, at the end of each day, I felt like I had to go “home” to the hospital. It is one of the most comfortable and relaxing places for me to date, ”says Joe Kinan, who to date has had 136 surgeries, including a hand transplant. He will continue to need 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 documentary production partner and lawyer / 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 celebratory to curiosity, to worry, to absolute terror in the space of about 20 seconds. It was a tragedy on a scale never seen before in Rhode Island. The site of the fire looked like the scene of a battle, fought and lost, ”comments John Barylick. “My horror of the incident increased with the death toll. It was difficult to understand the full significance of this and what missteps could result in such an extreme and deadly fire. Hopefully this story will change our lives a little bit so that we never have a disaster in the Station nightclub again. “

Dee Snider, frontman of Twisted Sister, once performed at Station nightclub and many others in towns and villages across the country, as did many rock and metal bands of the 1980s. Snider, who helped bring other record artists together for a fundraising concert for survivors and families of the victims, can be heard performing a new song, “Stand.”

“No one should have to die because they want to see a band and listen to the music they love. No one should be scarred for life, paralyzed or have their children orphaned because of their love for rock n roll.” Snider adds. “This documentary not only serves as a reminder of this incredible tragedy, but it highlights an incredible group of people who have overcome unfathomable loss, and have survived, if not thrived, the next day.”

America’s Deadliest Rock Concert: The Guest List explores the Station Nightclub fire through gripping tales from survivors and family and friends of the victims who have commemorated their loss through activities ranging from a memorial body art exhibit to a re-immersion in the rock culture that initially brought them and their loved ones to the nightclub Station. Their stories embody courage and are inspirational while others describe much darker aftermath. Great White’s Jack Russell emerged from the experience of a changed man carrying the burden of the accusation with him for what happened that night and in a series of very revealing interviews he shares his research of peace after a fire after a journey of nearly two decades of paralysis grief and depression as a result of 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 that contained rows of names and above them were the words “Guest List.”

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