'Unfortunately the gig has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances'...who are you kidding...we know the drill...ticket sales have been poor. 'Unforeseen circumstances' my arse. A catch all phrase that means both artist and venue save face. Sometimes though, on occasion, there are genuine reasons for cancelling gigs. Everything from physical injury to missed planes to partners giving birth to...well...death.
Your heart sinks when you get that last minute email, text, tweet, Facebook post and occasional recorded voicemail informing you of a cancelled show. Whether it's from the venue, the artist, fan club or wicked old Ticketmaster themselves it usually reads something along the lines of 'we are sorry to inform you that tonight's show has been cancelled'. All dressed up but no where to go. Tickets in pocket, foot out the door...then that sinking feeling. Pub it is. Admittedly sometimes you get a bit more notice than a day...but not always.
1) July 13th 1990: Rolling Stones @ London Wembley Stadium
Reason for cancellation: Keith Richards' Septic Finger
Yep the legendary guitarist had finger issues caused by no less than his guitar. He had 'stabbed it on the end of a guitar string' at an earlier gig and two shows had already been cancelled. However in the days pre mobiles, pre internet and pre social media we made our merry little ignorant way down to London. It was only after four hours that we were to be greeted by signs at Brent Cross roundabout declaring the show had been cancelled. As gutting as that was we had already been to a previous Wembley show and on July 18th we headed up to the Newcastle gig, a gig which to this day is one of the best I ever went to. Front row no less.
2) August 26th 1998: Rolling Stones @ Sheffield Don Valley Stadium
Reason for cancellation: Tony 'Bloody' Blair's New Labour
Hey look I'm a wannabe leftie but if the Stones say the tax was too much then fair enough. After all Mick isn't a political animal. I remember been gutted at the time but the gig was rescheduled for a year later and what a cracker it was.
A lot can happen in a year, indeed between cancelled (technically postponed) and rescheduled gig my then wife left me. She left on April 1st so at first I thought it was a joke...a bad one but a joke none the less. When she didn't come back after a few months I figured actually she probably was being serious. It did mean though that my Stones loving friend came with me to the new date instead.
A great day, a great show but not getting out of the car park for three hours was a bit of a bastard.
3) August 28th 2009: Michael Jackson @ London O2 Arena
Reason for cancellation: Jacko bit the bullet
Yep there are some cancellation reasons that seem tame and then there are some that, in retrospect, are probably legitimate. 50 dates at the 02 Arena was always going to be a push for someone who looked frail and of ill health but we hoped beyond hope that he could pull it off. The press conference was bizarre but then let’s face it so was Jackson. A troubled soul, the butt of many a joke, probably misunderstood, but an absolute true legend who left behind some of the greatest music of all time. Sadly missed
4) April 30th 2011: Ade Edmondson & The Bad Shepherds @ Dublin Village
Reason for cancellation: Poor Ticket Sales
You may not have heard of the Bad Shepherds. They manage to play punk covers but in a folk way. Ok I know that description sounds horrendous but they are genuinely excellent. You may be more familiar with lead singer Ade Edmondson. A comedy hero and all round good guy. We were leaving the house on our way to the gig when we got the phone call telling us that it had been cancelled. Ade always was a no bullshit kinda person and after I tweeted my disappointment he messaged to tell it as it was.
5) June 20th 2012: Ting Tings @ Dublin Academy
Reason for cancellation: Logistical reasons
Cancelling a gig a few weeks after confirming it seemed a little odd as did the cancellation reason. ‘Logistical reasons’ seemed vague at best and disrespectful at worst especially as they played gigs in Europe days later. Frustrating. Still haven’t seen them live. Probably now won’t bother...I'm not bitter.
6) May 21st 2016: James @ Nottingham Royal Centre
Reason for cancellation: Tim's dodgy throat
Lead singers can, on occasion, display prima donna type behaviour. Sometimes though shit just happens. Their job is to sing. If a band cancel a gig because their guitarist has hurt his finger then they can also cancel if the singer has a throat infection. Tool of the trade. Tim Booth sings high and low and it was probably no surprise that after weeks of touring and promo he finally felt the effects. Sadly this was due to be the last gig of what had been a triumphant trek. Cancelling at the last minute wasn't great however this is a band that rarely cancel and only do when absolutely necessary. For those that travelled from some distance for the show...well we found ourselves at a loose end. We will be back in December though to see the rescheduled date... until then drink plenty of lemsip Tim.