Willie Nelson left fans shocked and disappointed when he abruptly ended his performance in Charlotte, North Carolina, before it even started.
As the Charlotte Observer reports, the 85-year-old country music legend walked onstage at Saturday night’s Outlaw Music Festival and strapped on his guitar — only to remove it seconds later and walk offstage, a pained expression on his face as he took off his cowboy hat and flung it into the audience. Concertgoers were later informed that Nelson would not be performing.
A fan at the show managed to capture video of Nelson’s brief appearance onstage (above), noting in the YouTube caption that this was “the second time he came out and left the stage.”
After Nelson walked offstage for the second time, Live Nation issued a tweet blaming Nelson’s non-performance on an unspecified illness; a rep for Nelson, however, told TMZ that he was suffering from a stomach bug, but is now feeling well enough that he’ll be able to take to the stage in Washington, DC for a scheduled show on Sunday night.
While the rep added that Nelson plans to make it up to his fans in Charlotte by rescheduling the show, many of the fans at Saturday’s show aren’t pleased by the way the cancellation was handled, with some taking to Twitter to complain about waiting for an hour after Nelson left the stage before being informed the show was cancelled.
Meanwhile, the Observer points out that Nelson’s cancellation was the latest catastrophe to befall the apparently cursed music festival, which experienced last-minute cancellations from headliners Elvis Costello (who cancelled to undergo “a non life-threatening surgical procedure”) and Brandi Carlile, who was forced to cancel “due to unexpected family obligations overseas.”
Fans have become concerned about the health of the octogenarian icon in recent months after a string of cancelled shows in February after Nelson similarly ended a concert shortly after it began, aborting his show at Harrah’s Resort SoCal in January due to “breathing issues.”