Sick McCartney Cancels Japan

Paul McCartney arrived in Japan several days before his planned series of four concerts in the country – three in Tokyo and one in Osaka – but somehow during that time contracted a nasty virus and was forced to call off the shows at the last minute.

Photo: AP Photo / Kyodo News
Disappointed fans leave Toyko's National Stadium May 18 after learning Paul McCartney would not be performing. 

“I’ve unfortunately had to postpone tonight’s show in Tokyo,” he said in a statement hours before the first sold-out show at the National Stadium May 17.

“I’ve been told not to perform tonight. I am very sorry to all my fans as I was greatly looking forward to the concert, but the situation is out of my hands.”

He added that he was doing “all I can do” to make sure the next night’s show went on as scheduled, and said that the postponed Saturday night show would be made up the following Monday.

Obviously, he spoke too soon. The 71-year-old was still suffering the effects of the virus throughout the weekend and was forced to cancel both the scheduled Sunday concert and the rescheduled show on Monday.

Then on Tuesday morning the remaining two concerts were canceled.

On May 21 McCartney was scheduled to play Budokan, which is significant because that is the venue he played with the Beatles during their only trip to Japan as a group, and the specialness of the concert was reflected in the ticket prices, which started at 20,000 yen and went up to 100,000 yen ($1,000).

A small number of tickets were to be sold to select youngsters at the bargain price of 1,500 yen, which is what they cost for the Beatles show at the time. Despite the steep price, the show sold out immediately as well, so the whole tour constitutes a huge loss for everyone involved.

In another message, McCartney said, “I was really looking forward to playing in Japan again after we had such an amazing time here in November.”

The local promoter, Kyodo Tokyo, issued a statement saying that they and the other organizers were exploring “all possibilities” to reschedule the shows at a later date, but no time frame was given. Following the canceled Japan tour, McCartney is scheduled to perform in Seoul on May 28.