Fans Still Upset After Lionel Richie Apologizes for Concert Debacle

Lionel Richie

Heavy/Getty Lionel Richie kicking off his U.S. tour on August 4, 2023, in St. Paul, Minnesota

Music legend and “American Idol” judge Lionel Richie apologized in-person to those attending his rescheduled concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden on August 14, 2023 — but plenty of fans are still upset and claim his story about what happened two nights earlier didn’t add up.

According to Fox 5 New York, the venue was packed with nearly 20,000 fans on August 12 when Richie tweeted an hour after the event’s scheduled start time that he couldn’t make it due to bad weather.

“Due to severe weather and being unable to land in the NY and surrounding areas, I’m unable to make it to the show tonight,” Richie wrote. “I’m so bummed. We are rescheduling the show to Monday Aug 14. Can’t wait to perform for you all. Tickets for tonight’s show are valid for the show on Monday.”

And though Richie’s tour mates — fellow R&B icons Earth, Wind & Fire — managed to make it to the venue, one fan who tweeted a photo with them backstage said he was told “that contractually they couldn’t perform even though they were all there.”

Many New York fans took to social media, livid about the late notification and date change, including many who said the weather there had been fine all day. But they weren’t the only ones slighted; in order to reschedule the concert for August 14, organizers had to change an Earth, Wind & Fire concert scheduled for that night in Hartford, Connecticut, to August 16, according to News 12 Connecticut. Here’s what you need to know:

Lionel Richie Apologizes & Explains Cancellation to New York Audience

Lionel Richie with Earth, Wind & Fire

GettyLionel Richie (second from left) with Earth, Wind & Fire members Philip Bailey, Ralph Johnson and Verdine White before their August 4, 2023, concert in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The online backlash online was swift after Richie tweeted about the August 12 concert being rescheduled, with many crying foul over weather being the supposed reason for the late change, especially since he’d performed in nearby Boston the night before.

One fan tweeted, “What actually happened? Nobody flies in late and blames weather. Weather was A OK. We are a group of 12 and so disappointed but not as disappointed as the tourists and fans who made plans around the gig and wil now miss it. What’s the real, substantial and genuine reason?”

Another angrily replied, “20k people got there no problem Total bull sh** and now we will lose our money because he rescheduled it instead of canceled it.”

On Instagram, many fans flooded a post promoting the New York concert with complaints, including one who wrote, “Ummmmm we were there. You weren’t. Having the venue open, let guests in (who have paid for parking, tolls, others had hotel rooms) paid for concessions, and you postpone to Monday??? A work day. Thanks. Appreciate the thoughtfulness of the evening.”

One person stuck up for Richie, though, tweeting, “Just FYI, it will depend on where he was coming from. I was trying to fly out of new York on Sunday and my flight was delayed due to weather three times, I finally was able to leave but it was a nightmare getting in and out of New York on Sunday.”

Both acts did take the stage for the rescheduled concert at Madison Square Garden on August 14, and Lionel took a moment to try to explain why he didn’t make it for the original concert, as seen in a video tweeted by a fan in attendance.

“I had two ‘nos’ to come at the same time,” Richie can be heard telling the crowd. “And when those two decided it’s a no – when God says no and when the pilot says no, the answer — I tried to bribe the pilot. And the pilot said, ‘I do want to see my wife tomorrow.’ So tonight we are going to make up for that. I apologize for that a thousand times.”

Though the crowd cheered and enjoyed the concert, others who couldn’t attend on the rescheduled date continue to be upset about the debacle, finding that some ticket venders weren’t providing them with a refund.

On August 15, one person tweeted, “No refunds through Vivid Seats b/c it was a ‘postponement’ with the assumption that everyone would be back!”

Another fan who said they were out $1,000 due to the rescheduled concert tweeted, “And why did we not know earlier than when we were informed? People, like myself lost a lot of money.”

Fellow ‘American Idol’ Star Luke Bryan Has Also Had to Cancel Concerts This Month

Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan

ABCLionel Richie and Luke Bryan backstage at “American Idol” in 2023

Richie isn’t the only “American Idol” star who’s had to cancel concerts this month. The night after Richie canceled his New York concert, his fellow judge “Idol” Luke Bryan had to cancel his concert in Brandon, Mississippi. For Bryan, it was his fourth canceled concert of the month due to an ongoing “head cold” that’s strained his voice.

After canceling three concerts in early August, Bryan attempted to get his tour back on track by performing in Rogers, Arkansas, on August 10 and in Nashville on August 12. But he struggled so much during both concerts that he told fans via social media on August 13 that he had to cancel that night’s show “under doctor advisement.”

He wrote in posts on his Instagram Stories and on Twitter, “Dear Brandon, MS … I am regretfully going to have to cancel my show there tonight. Under doctor advisement after taking 6 days off to heal I attempted to sing at both shows Thursday and Saturday and it was a struggle. Every show I sing I’m setting my voice back. I will continue to do everything I can to get better. Please know how much you mean to me and how heartbreaking this is to do. -Luke”

Bryan’s next concert on the Country On Tour is scheduled for August 17 in Cincinnati. Meanwhile, Richie and Earth, Wind and Fire are due to perform in Philadelphia on August 15.

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Kerri L. Hovan
Kerri L. Hovan
1 month ago


Susan Rayl
Susan Rayl
1 month ago

I agree with Kerri! One couple in front of me in the second row on the floor came from Singapore, halfway around the world, and they had to leave on Sunday. There are thousands of similar stories. So now, he blames the pilot (private plane which likely did not begin to take off until 6 or 7 p.m.) and God. Why not blame yourself Lionel? Don’t your handlers check the weather? You could have driven like EWF did. They were there by 2:00 p.m. and were ready to take the stage at 7:30. You have NO excuse. You F…ed thousands of people, including EWF, because of your ego. And the apology should have come immediately, not two days later to people who returned. How do you make it up for those of us (at least 50 percent) who could not return on the date that suited YOU, not us? I have lost all respect for you.