Motörhead‘s Lemmy Kilmister continues to pulverize fans’ eardrums on the road even as the heavy metal icon approaches 70, but after four decades of hard living and hard drinking, the rocker has finally confronted an obstacle he couldn’t overcome: High altitude. The band’s Salt Lake City gig was cut short Thursday night and their Denver concert Friday was canceled altogether after Kilmister suffered from a bout of altitude sickness.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune (via Billboard), a fatigued Kilmister was forced to leave the stage just three songs into their Utah concert. After a 10-minute delay, the band came back in an attempt to continue the concert, but Motörhead stopped playing abruptly as Kilmister apologized to the crowd, “Listen, I’m really sorry, guys. I’ve got a bad back, my back’s really bad and I can’t breathe up here. I’m really, really sorry.” Motörhead then left the stage for good.
Motörhead’s official Facebook issued a statement regarding the Salt Lake City concert. “The people are great but the air is just too thin. The high altitude makes it difficult for breathing, and that’s what happened tonight with Lemmy in Salt Lake City,” the band said. “He feels very bad to have cut the show short, but being that high up, he had some trouble breathing well. Lemmy appreciates everyone’s concern. The fans always rally round!”
As a result of Lemmy’s altitude sickness, Motörhead also canceled their set at Denver’s Riot Fest on Friday – the same day their new album Bad Magic was released – since the Colorado venue hosting the festival was 1,100 feet higher in altitude than Salt Lake City’s the Complex.
“The Rocky Mountain High has affected Lemmy like the high altitude of Salt Lake City. It’s been quite a while since Lemmy was this ‘high’ in the US, and thus having got a burst of altitude sickness (which made it hard for him to breathe and sing properly) he has very reluctantly decided not perform in Denver,” the band alerted fans on Facebook. “He looks forward to the next-up Texas shows… at low elevations.”