Lionel Richie outraged 20,000 fans after canceling Earth Wind & Fire’s MSG show

Apparently, for Lionel Richie, water is greater than earth, wind and fire.

Lionel Richie and Earth Wind & Fire canceled their sold-out show at Madison Square Garden on Saturday — an hour after it began — when the singer said he couldn’t fly to the Big Apple due to poor weather conditions.

The 20,000 fans in attendance, some of whom spent hundreds on tickets and hotel rooms, slammed the legendary singer for keeping them waiting “all night long”.

“Due to the storm and not being able to land in and around New York, I won’t be able to come to the show tonight,” the “Endless Love” singer said tweeted at 8:31 p.m The show was supposed to start at 7:30 p.m

“I’m so depressed. We are moving the show to Monday 14th August. I can’t wait to perform for you all. Tickets for tonight’s show are also valid for Monday’s show.”

Video from the packed arena shows dejected fans booing and pouring into the aisles as a announcer announced the show was cancelled.

Lionel Richie
Lionel Richie announced he was unable to attend the show due to bad weather – an hour after it was scheduled to start, selling out the 20,000 viewers
Lionel Richie/Twitter

The footage also saw fans discussing whether or not they could return to Manhattan on Monday.

Earth Wind and Fire is scheduled to play a show at the Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater in BridgeportConnecticut, without Richie on Monday.

It’s not clear if they would be performing at the Garden or there that night.

“There was a lot of anger,” a pediatric nurse who paid $170 for nosebleed seats told The Post.

“We did everything we could to get the weekend off and now I can’t go on Monday,” said the nurse, who traveled with her husband and a colleague from Long Island. “Does he think it will be easy for me to leave on Monday night? This is New York. We work.”

When asked what she would say to the “Hello” singer after the snafu, she said, “I hope you’re okay, but you should have taken a limousine for your fans for four hours.” He’s loaded…take You a King sedan.”

Fans poured out of the stadium after an MSG spokesman announced the show's cancellation.
Fans poured out of the stadium after an MSG spokesman announced the show had been cancelled.
James Staubitser/NY Post

A couple who frequent MSG for concerts told the Post that they realized something was wrong when the show still hadn’t started 45 minutes after it was supposed to start.

“You can’t sell out Madison Square Garden [cancel due to] a weather problem. I’m frustrated and worried – I think it might be something else. I worry it’s something else and that [the weather] “That was an excuse,” said the woman.

“As far as I know, the weather was bad. I wouldn’t fly in bad weather either,” said a security guard in front of MSG.

“That doesn’t happen in life,” he said of the crowd of angry fans.

Fans are leaving MSG after Lionel Ritchie canceled the show
Thousands of fans left the show after the announcement.
James Staubitser/NY Post

Fans leaving Lionel Ritchie canceled their concert at MSG
Angry fans could be heard booing as they left their seats.
James Staubitser/NY Post

Fans took to social media to express their outrage at the Commodore’s frontman after he announced the cancellation. Many said they spent good money on tickets, travel and hotels for the concert.

“We bought our parents good seats for their 50th wedding anniversary for a lot of money. They are 75 and were really looking forward to tonight’s show. Thanks for ruining the gift we got for her,” one Twitter user wrote.

“After spending $1,000 on two VIP tickets over a weekend, I’m hoping we can get a refund. Monday is not an option. We also spent $500 on a hotel and several hundred dollars on local dining,” Julie Treska tweeted. “What a big disappointment for my birthday!!! Pooh.”

Many fans wondered why Richie couldn’t have taken a different route from Boston to New York, where he played a show with Earth Wind and Fire on Friday night.

“Sounds like poor planning on your part @LionelRichie for trying to fly in at the last minute. I’ll take a refund please – no thanks Monday!” another tweeted.

“No respect for your fans! You’re not Taylor Swift. Do it better. “You could have driven from Boston,” Gail DeLuca said.

“I’ve been waiting all night,” snorted another, a nod to Richie’s 1983 hit.

Caroline Bleakley

Caroline Bleakley is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Caroline Bleakley joined USTimeToday in 2022 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Caroline Bleakley by emailing

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