by Rob Evans
March 21, '03 1:45 p.m. PT
Matchbox Twenty has called off plans to embark on a European concert tour that was scheduled to get underway in Germany on Tuesday (3/25).
In a statement issued on Friday (3/21), Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas said: "Our concern is not only for the safety of our band and our crew, but, more importantly, for the well-being of our fans, whom we certainly do not want to put at risk just by coming out to see us play. As global citizens, not just as Americans, we also feel that it would be inappropriate to be doing gigs just as this conflict has begun.
"However, we are a touring band, and our commitment to playing live for our fans remains as strong as ever. We promise to cross the Atlantic and do these shows as soon as possible, and we thank everyone for their patience and understanding during this incredibly difficult time in world history."
According to Atlantic Records, the dates will be rescheduled for later in the year.
The decision to cancel the dates, according to the label, was made in response to a number of factors, including a "Worldwide Caution" issued on Wednesday (3/19) by the U.S. State Department that said, in part, "As a result of military action in Iraq, there is a potential for retaliatory actions to be taken against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world... Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian targets."