Entertainment & Arts

Cancelled concerts: Seven strange excuses

One Direction Image copyright PA

One Direction left fans in tears after they pulled out of a show in Belfast minutes before they were due on stage.

The cancellation came after band member Liam Payne fell ill, with his bandmates tweeting their apologies to heartbroken Directioners.

But One Direction are not the first band to scrap a show at the last minute. Here are seven notorious concert cancellations.

Image copyright AP

Neil Young's sandwich tragedy

Harvest Moon singer Neil Young had to scrap an entire European tour in 1997 after he sliced off the top of his finger while making a ham sandwich.

"I'd have eaten the thing in one piece if I'd known that cutting it in half would jeopardize the tour," he said in a statement. "It's macaroni and cheese from now on."

Young was urged to stay away from guitars while the finger healed. He missed 16 dates, including an appearance at the Glastonbury festival.

Kings of Leon attacked by pigeons

Kings of Leon were forced to cut short a performance in St Louis, Missouri, in 2010 after a flock of pigeons nestling above the stage took a dislike to their act.

The band quit three songs into their set, with drummer Nathan Followill explaining to fans that a bird defecated directly into bassist Jared Followill's mouth.

"Too unsanitary to continue," he wrote on Twitter. "Don't take it out on Jared, it's the venue's fault. You may enjoy being [defecated] on but we don't."

The Telegraph called it "the most eloquent live review in history."

Image copyright Press Association

Morrissey's penne pasta poisoning

Former Smiths frontman Morrissey has terrible luck when it comes to live shows - having suffered flu, throat infections and sinusitis on the road.

But in 2013, he had to scrap nine dates of a South American tour after a serious bout of food poisoning. He described the circumstances in a typically melodramatic statement:

"I can't give words to the sorrow I feel at the loss of perfect Peru. Oh, black cloud. After such a victorious and uplifting welcome of Lima love, the contaminated jinx had its way via a simple restaurant meal of penne pasta and tomato. Three hours later, both I, and security Liam have collapsed with a deadly and delirious bedridden disease. Five days of round-the-clock medical supervision just barely controls the corrosively toxic food poisoning. I know my luck too well. Sorrow replaces joy, and in every dream home a heartache. It could only be me."

The following year, Morrissey cancelled a string of dates in the US, blaming his support act for giving him a "horrendous cold".

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Keith Richards falls out of a tree

The Rolling Stones postponed the start of their 2006 European tour after guitarist Keith Richards fell out of a coconut tree in Fiji.

He and fellow-guitarist Ronnie Wood were apparently trying to climb the tree when he fell 15 feet to the ground, hitting his head.

Richards suffered a blood clot in the brain and required brain surgery. His neurosurgeon later joined the band on their A Bigger Bang world tour.

But he tried to play down the incident, saying: "It was a very little tree," while gesturing to indicate a plant the size of a shrub.

"If you saw the tree, you'd realise the joke."

Image copyright Jeff Vinnick / Getty Images

Janet Jackson gets vertigo

Pop star Janet Jackson suddenly fell ill during a sound-check in Montreal during her 2008 Rock Witchu tour. She was rushed to hospital and discharged two hours later, only for her symptoms to recur, forcing the cancellation of nine dates across the US and Canada.

It later emerged she had developed migraine-associated vertigo - a rare condition that causes dizziness and a constant feeling of being off-balance, something that would have played havoc with the star's intricate stage choreography.

"It can be very disabling until it's brought under control, I really can believe she's unable to meet her obligations," said Dr Steven D Rauch of Harvard Medical School.

Although the tour resumed two weeks later, the 2009 Japanese leg had to be cancelled, with promoters blaming the global financial crisis.

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Liam Gallagher goes house hunting

Oasis star Liam Gallagher failed to show up for the band's 1996 tour of America, four days after pulling out of an MTV Unplugged gig citing a sore throat.

But, speaking to the New York Times in 2011, Noel said there were more domestic reasons for his US no-show.

"As I'm getting on the plane he's getting off because his wife called, saying: 'We need to buy a house,'" he fumed.

"What they were doing for the previous three months is anybody's guess. Probably picking gnats out of each other's hair like monkeys."

He continued: "The first gig was a 16,000-seat arena, and the singer's not turned up. That killed us stone dead in America. Would Johnny Rotten have gotten a house on the eve of an American tour? Keith Richards? John Lennon?

"You either want it or you don't, and I blame him for us never becoming as big in America as we were in England."

Noel stood in for his brother on the opening dates of the tour, before Liam eventually rejoined the band.

Oasis later split up minutes before going on stage in Paris, after a backstage altercation that began with Liam throwing a plum at his brother's head.

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The Black Keys' surfing injury

Rock group The Black Keys were forced to cancel their 2015 European tour after drummer Patrick Carney sustained a serious injury in a body-surfing accident.

The musician dislocated and broke his shoulder after a wave slammed him into the ocean floor on 3 January.

He then developed adhesive capsulitis, also known as frozen shoulder, which delayed the healing process and led to the cancellation of further dates in Australia.

His bandmate Dan Auerbach wasn't too concerned, however, telling The NME: "I felt bad that we had to cancel for our fans but at the same time, having a break for me personally was great.

"It was really nice to spend a lot of time hanging out at home. It was really good!"

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