Extreme Reasons Musicians Canceled Tours

Famous musicians are mere mortals just like we commoners. They encounter issues such as fatigue, vocal problems, and other unforeseen setbacks, and often times, these situations can cause them to cancel tours. In fact, once upon a time, Neil Young sliced his finger while preparing a ham sandwich, and that injury cost him some dates on his 1997 European tour (via MTV).

However, some musicians have to cancel tour dates for reasons that are way more extreme. Sometimes, it's thanks to an act of God — a situation that's just outside of their control — and other times, it's due to a terrible personal tragedy. And while occasionally it comes down to fighting between band members, every so often there's an event with such worldwide impact that multiple musicians have to back out of their shows at the same time. So today, we're taking a look at these intense circumstances and examining some of the extreme reasons that musicians have had to cancel tours.

Ariana Grande canceled shows following the Manchester terrorist attack

On May 22, 2017, a bomber set off an explosive device outside of the Manchester Arena following a concert that featured Ariana Grande as the show's headliner. According to The Guardian, 22 innocent victims, along with the terrorist, were killed in the attack. Many of those who lost their lives were in their teens.

Per the BBC, Grande immediately canceled multiple European tour dates following the Manchester tragedy. The pop star also took to social media to share her sorrow regarding the incident. "Broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words," Grande tweeted. She returned to touring in Paris on June 7 (via CNN).

In the summer of 2019, Grande openly spoke to Vogue about the experience and also about a charity concert she held at Manchester United ground Old Trafford. "I'm proud that we were able to raise a lot of money with the intention of giving people a feeling of love or unity, but at the end of the day, it didn't bring anyone back," she said at the time. She also added, "I have a lot that I still need to process myself and will probably never be ready to talk about."

9/11 put much of the world on hold

The terrorist attacks that struck New York City, Washington D.C., and Somerset County, Pennsylvania, on 9/11 changed life in the United States and around the world in the days, months, and years following those horrific incidents. All kinds of events in the areas directly affected were either postponed or canceled. 

As explained by Rolling Stone, musicians and other entities across the United States canceled shows, tours, and events following 9/11. The Latin Grammys, which were scheduled the day of the attacks, were called off "due to the unimaginable events that have occurred this morning." Madonna and Janet Jackson canceled shows that were scheduled for the night of September 11. On top of that, acts such as Tool, Aerosmith, Cake, 98 Degrees, and Godsmack all postponed performances.

As for U2, the Irish group delayed the original on-sale date for the band's "Elevation Tour." The following February, the band delivered an inspiring and moving tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks during one of the most memorable Super Bowl halftime shows in NFL history.

A broken hip sidelined Lady Gaga's tour

Anybody who's ever had the privilege of watching Lady Gaga perform live knows her shows involve much more than merely singing in front of a microphone. One of the consummate entertainers of her generation, Gaga often completes cardiovascular workouts on stage that would put some professional athletes to shame. Needless to say, Gaga needs to be as fit as possible to give fans the shows she envisions each time she performs.

So, as noted by CNN, Gaga was forced to cancel the remainder of her "Born This Way Ball" tour in February 2013 after a hip injury forced her to have surgery. And in July of that year (via Women's Wear Daily), she admitted that the setback was even worse than originally believed. "I had broken my hip," she said. "Nobody knew, and I haven't even told the fans yet. But when we got all the MRIs finished before I went to surgery, there were giant craters, a hole in my hip the size of a quarter, and the cartilage was just hanging out the other side of my hip."

Yeah, that sounds like a pretty good reason to cancel a tour. We're kinda' impressed she even managed to make her way to the hospital. And it's a good thing she went when she did, as Gaga added, "The surgeon told me that if I had done another show, I might have needed a full hip replacement. I would have been out at least a year, maybe longer."

A vegan lifestyle failed Morrissey

Some public figures prefer to keep certain aspects of their lives, such as their daily diets, private. Morrissey has never been such an individual. In fact, Vegan.com refers to the singer/songwriter as "perhaps the most outspoken vegan of all time." In 2018, he told Tremr that he believed "vegans are actually superior beings." He also admitted that he found eating out difficult due to his strict beliefs and that he normally orders off of the kids' menu. 

Those eating habits cost him in the summer of 2013. According to The Guardian, a case of food poisoning resulted in Morrissey postponing tour dates in South America that July. Per the The Huffington Post, he later went into detail about that setback. "The contaminated jinx had its way via a simple restaurant meal of penne pasta and tomato," he explained in a letter. "Five days of round-the-clock medical supervision just barely controls the corrosively toxic food poisoning." Not for nothing, but anybody who's ever experienced food poisoning knows that ailment is no joke.

Selena Gomez canceled a tour due to some serious health issues

Fans on the outside looking in usually assume the life of a famous musician and pop star is always enviable. After all, such celebrities are often able to work via their schedules and travel to exotic places whenever they wish. What's not to like?

Well, Selena Gomez offered a glimpse at the other side of that life while speaking with Billboard. As the story goes, in January 2014, Gomez admitted herself into an Arizona rehabilitation facility, a choice that led to much speculation about her lifestyle. However, she later explained that she'd been diagnosed with Lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease.

As mentioned by Sky News, Gomez canceled the European leg of a tour in August 2016 and explained that she "discovered that anxiety, panic attacks, and depression can be side effects of lupus, which can present their own challenges." In September 2017, she shared via Instagram that she'd received a kidney transplant. And as explained by USA Today, in 2019, Gomez hit out those who'd criticized her body over the years. "It's the medication that I have to take for the rest of my life, it depends even on the month, to be honest," she said about her weight fluctuations.

Keith Richards climbing a tree cost the Rolling Stones tour dates

Many modern-day music lovers weren't born when the Rolling Stones were out there rocking in their physical primes. Nevertheless, those younger fans still list seeing the Stones perform live as one of the top items on their bucket lists, especially since the group could say farewell to their touring days anytime now. And because of their advanced age and the physical tolls that come with touring for decades, fans buying tickets at any point during the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s took major risks, knowing that any show could be canceled for one of several reasons.

And as a matter of fact, the Stones went through multiple setbacks that resulted in the cancellation of dates during their 2006 "Bigger Bang" tour. According to the BBC, the band had to postpone shows in the fall of that year after Mick Jagger experienced recurring throat problems that affected him earlier in the tour. More noteworthy, however, was an incident that occurred in April 2006 involving Keith Richards. Per The Independent, Richards and bandmate Ronnie Wood climbed a tree while on holiday in Fiji. Richards was the more unsteady of the two, and he took a spill that resulted in a concussion. The accident led to the Stones postponing tour dates.

Will the Gallagher brothers ever get along for good?

The sun rising in the east and setting in the west, grass growing in a recognizable shade of green, and the Gallagher brothers from English rock band Oasis feuding with each other. Fans have been able to set their watches to all of these from the 1990s through the 2020s.

According to The Evening Standard, both Liam and Noel were scheduled to perform at the group's 1996 MTV Unplugged taping, but Liam pulled out after he claimed to be dealing with throat soreness. Liam nevertheless showed up to the venue and heckled Noel from a balcony as his brother played and sang on stage. Later that year, as mentioned by The New York Times, Liam skipped American stages of a tour because, as Noel described it, the singer and his wife needed to buy a house. Liam eventually rejoined the group, but Oasis ultimately cut the tour short in September following what The New York Times described as "an altercation" between the two.

How many of us have put up with an annoying sibling for free, let alone for the money the Gallaghers would receive for that tour? Come on, guys. Get your act together.

Parkinson's sidelined Ozzy Osbourne indefinitely

Rock star and former reality television personality Ozzy Osbourne was 71 years old at the end of 2019. Thus, it wasn't surprising when the BBC and other outlets reported in April of that year that he'd suffered a fall inside of his home. That accident aggravated a previous injury and caused him to cancel tour dates. "Words cannot express how frustrated, angry, and depressed I am not to be able to tour right now," he said via a Facebook note.

But things got even more serious a few months later. In January 2020, Osbourne appeared on ABC program "Good Morning America" alongside his wife, Sharon, to announce that he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease after his fall. "I'm no good with secrets," he explained while opening up about the prior 11 months of his life. Later in January, the Prince of Darkness appeared visibly affected by the disease while on stage with Sharon at the Grammys, but it was hoped at the time that he would be able to perform at shows later in the year.

Some of those hopes were dashed in February 2020. As noted by Rolling Stone, Osbourne canceled the North American leg of his tour that was originally scheduled to go from May through the end of July.

Surfing once betrayed Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney

Outside of NBA royalty LeBron James, the Black Keys may be the finest international export to come from Akron, Ohio. In less than a decade, the duo of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have journeyed quite a ways from playing in front of eight people at a small Cleveland venue. In fact, even though Mike Howrigan of Surfing Magazine spelled Auerbach's name incorrectly in a 2003 review of the album "Thickfreakness," Howrigan did write, "Black Keys are doing for blues-rock what Social D did with rockabilly punk."

So who could've guessed at the time that something relating to surfing would negatively affect the band a decade later? 

According to The Daily Mail, the Keys were forced to cancel 12 shows from a tour of Australia, New Zealand, and Japan in March 2015 after Carney suffered a serious shoulder injury while surfing in January. It was originally thought Carney would be able to return from the issue that April, but his recovery took longer than expected and led to the band making the unfortunate decision. Billboard provided additional information by reporting Carney had suffered a post-operative infection, which is definitely something you want to avoid touring with.

A simple kiss downed some Lionel Richie tour dates

As fears about the coronavirus spread throughout practically all corners of the globe in 2020, institutions such as the World Health Organization and the Mayo Clinic offered advice to people concerned about coming down with or spreading diseases. Frequent washing of hands, avoiding contact with one's face, and maintaining a safe distance from anybody potentially ill were all recommended. As mentioned by ESPN, the English Premier League went one step further by eliminating customary pre-match handshakes in March 2020.

Lionel Richie would've done well to follow such precautions in 2015.

That year, Richie was finishing a chat with "One Show" presenter Alex Jones (no, not that Alex Jones) when the host went in to give him a polite peck on the cheek. According to Wales Online, Jones claimed that Richie shifted his head and, thus, received the kiss on the lips. The problem for Richie was that Jones had returned early to work from a bout with the norovirus. Richie caught it from Jones and missed a couple of tour dates.

For those wondering, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes the norovirus as "a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea." No wonder Richie was sidelined for two gigs. None of that sounds fun.

Linkin Park canceled a tour due to a terrible tragedy

Roughly two months after Chris Cornell, the lead vocalist for groups Soundgarden and Audioslave, took his own life in May 2017, Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington died by suicide on July 20 of that year. As reported by CNN and other sources, Linkin Park canceled the band's North American tour the following day. Bennington was 41 years old at the time of his passing.

In August of that year, Rolling Stone documented how those close to Bennington were both shocked by the loss but also how they felt "they overlooked signs that the singer's dark side — which he called his 'dark passenger,' a reference to the force that motivated the serial-killer protagonist on TV's "Dexter" — had been creeping back into his life." 

As a response to the tragedy, in 2018, Linkin Park co-founder Mike Shinoda and Bennington's wife Talinda appeared at the conclusion of an episode of "A Million Little Things," a program that deals with the suicide of a beloved family member and friend, for a public service announcement. Talinda also became a founding partner and executive adviser for 320 Changes Direction, "a collection of concerned citizens, nonprofit leaders, and leaders from the private sector who have come together to change the culture about mental health, mental illness, and wellness."

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

The coronavirus caused cancellations around the world

The year 2020 got off to a rocky start thanks to Covid-19, more commonly known as the coronavirus. In just a few short weeks, fears about the spread of different coronaviruses led to cancellations of events throughout the world. The Italian government decreed sporting competitions such as Serie A matches were to be played behind closed doors (via the BBC). Schools in the United States, Italy, and Japan shut down for weeks. Companies around the planet elected to postpone events that involved employees traveling to hotels and convention centers.

Unsurprisingly, concerns about the coronavirus led to multiple musical acts changing their plans and removing shows from their schedules. As explained by Vulture, pop music superstar Mariah Carey postponed a Hawaii show until November 2020. Khalid indefinitely delayed an Asia tour, and K-pop group BTS didn't begin a tour on time. Rock group Green Day also put a tour on hold, and Avril Lavigne crossed off no fewer than 12 shows from a tour of cities located in China, Japan, the Philippines, and Hong Kong, reports TMZ. Even the Metropolitan Opera, located in New York City, thought it best to issue a 14-day quarantine for artists who traveled to the Big Apple from countries directly affected by coronavirus outbreaks.

An incurable neurological disease halted Céline Dion's touring

Health woes have kept Céline Dion from hitting the road more than once. Her husband and manager, René Angélil, was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2000 (per the BBC), and she took two years off to help care for him. In 2014, a recurrence of cancer for Angélil, and an illness for Dion herself, led her to announce an indefinite suspension of her career. Between the two health scares, she and Angélil had three children, adding to the commitments demanded by her personal life.

When Dion tried to pick her career back up in 2015, she was hit by the deaths of her husband and her brother in short order, and she was absent from the music scene again until 2019 (per the BBC). A concert tour was planned for 2023, but on December 8, 2022, Dion took to Instagram to announce that she would have to postpone the European leg of the tour due to issues with Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS).

SPS is a neurological disease that can set off involuntary muscle spasms. In Dion's case, the condition has created mobility issues and hurt her ability to sing. While medication can help alleviate symptoms and limit the spread of SPS, it has no known cure. Dion admitted in her statement to struggling with the illness for some time, and that she was working with a team of doctors to get well enough to sing again.

Duran Duran called off the last leg of a tour when Nick Rhodes fell ill

Duran Duran have had their ups and downs as a group, shedding members and bringing them back over the decades. The year 2011 started out on an up swing. As a promotion for their "All You Need is Now" album, members Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, and Roger Taylor set out on a world tour. The group had fond enough memories of the experience to write a 10-year commemoration in 2021 on their official website. But the tour didn't go off without a hitch.

According to the BBC, the United Kingdom leg of the "All You Need is Now" tour was held up when Le Bon needed treatment for a throat condition. He recovered, and the tour resumed. But in 2012, with only four U.S. dates and two Canadian ones left, Duran Duran had to cancel. The reason this time was a suspected viral infection picked up by Rhodes. Reflecting afterwards, John Taylor told the Huffington Post that Rhodes, who he called a "workaholic," kept fainting. Doctors ordered him to rest, ruling out the final leg of their tour. Rhodes offered an apology to fans, but Taylor suggested that the two health scares during "All You Need is Now" were a sign the band would have to rethink their touring arrangements going forward.