“Fame Kills” to Lollapalooza '04: A Guide to Big Tour Cancellations - Rolling Stone
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“Fame Kills” to Lollapalooza ’04: A Guide to Big Tour Cancellations

Fans are still questioning exactly what derailed the Fame Kills tour featuring Kanye West and Lady Gaga that was set to launch next month (is it possible not enough fans wanted to see Gaga’s outrageous outfits?). Sometimes shows are called off for obvious reasons (an artist’s injury) but often the excuses are more fuzzy (like the always-reliable “exhaustion”). Here’s a rundown of other big-name events that were suddenly squashed:

Led Zeppelin Tour (1975): After the success of Physical Graffiti, Zeppelin planned to rock the States. But before their tour started, Robert Plant and his family were involved in a serious car accident while vacationing in Greece that left the singer in a wheelchair and the trek nixed.

Pearl Jam Summer Tour (1994): Eddie Vedder and Co. moved a record-breaking 1.3 million copies of Vs. in its first two weeks of release and were ready to perform the songs live … but the band got embroiled in an intense public dispute with Ticketmaster over service charges that put the band in front of Congress, but not fans.

Beastie Boys and Rage Against the Machine’s “Rhyme & Reason” Tour (2000): Two of the most iconic groups of ’90s were plotting to embark on one of the most anticipated treks of the new millennium, but weeks before the kick-off, Mike D hit a pothole on his bicycle, damaging his shoulder so badly that the entire tour had to be shut down. Sabotage!

The Supremes Reunion Tour (2001): After Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong declined to sing with Diana Ross due to a payment dispute, the tour began with replacement singers, which didn’t delight fans. Most seats at the shows were left empty, and tour was nixed after a mere 12 performances.

Guns n’ Roses Tour (2002): With two no-shows in a row, the band’s concert promoter shut down the remainder of this pyrotechnic-packed tour, sending fans into a riotous fury. After the crowd waited nearly two hours for Guns in Philly, fans threw anything that wasn’t nailed down (and some objects that were) at the stage, including seats and glass bottles.

Lollapalooza (2004): Poor ticket sales forced Perry Farrell to make the gut-wrenching decision to shut down his traveling festival despite an all-star lineup: Sonic Youth, Morrissey, PJ Harvey, the String Cheese Incident and the Flaming Lips. Thankfully, “like the Phoenix,” said Farrell, the tour was reborn as a successful destination fest.

Janet Jackson “Rock Witchu” Tour (2008): After postponing numerous tour dates due to complications from vertigo, Jackson dispensed with the rest of the dates due to “conflicts in the singer’s schedule,” robbing fans of the chance to see her lose her balance or vomit onstage.

Aerosmith and ZZ Top Summer Tour (2009): Steven Tyler took a tumble off the stage while performing at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, breaking his shoulder and ending the tour. “I was doing the Tyler shuffle,” he explained of his mishap, “and zigged when I should have zagged… I’m plain grateful that I didn’t break my neck!”


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