By Doug Livingston
Beacon Journal staff writer
Some 17,000 rain-soaked Keith Urban fans disappointed by a no-show by the headliner Thursday night at Blossom will get a second chance to see the country music star on Sunday.
Fans who crowded the popular music venue in Cuyahoga Falls didn’t get the bad news that thunderstorms had delayed Urban’s flight out of New York until after 9 p.m. — well after the music started a half hour late and two warm-up acts extended their sets.
A contrite Urban spoke to the crowd via video and apologized.
“We’ve been waiting hours and hours, waiting to take off, but they’ve had these planes grounded pretty much all afternoon waiting for the storms and lightning to pass by,” Urban told the crowd. His plane was slated to land in Ohio by 2 p.m. Instead, Urban waited for hours at a New York airport, his agent said.
Urban said he will be at Blossom at 7:30 p.m. Sunday and promised to perform songs that have not yet been played during the Light the Fuse Tour.
He added that he will “play way longer then we would’ve [Thursday night] — it’s all that we can do to make it up to you.”
Blossom has announced that those holding tickets for Thursday night’s concert can use them to attend Sunday night’s Evening with Keith Urban.
The delay over calling off Thursday night’s concert has drawn the ire of some fans who took to social media to complain.
The venue’s Facebook page was blasted by some who attended the concert complaining that the operators made no announcement that the event was in jeopardy yet continued to sell $13 beers.
Others viewed the odd circumstances — the first in memory where a concert was called off well after the opening acts performed — as a bonus opportunity to enjoy another night of country western music.
Akron radio host Sue Wilson was among those who braved the weather Thursday night.
“Certainly, it’s unfortunate,” said Wilson, who had to wake up at 4 a.m. Friday after the concert to host the morning show on WQMX in Akron. “But goodness, it was an act of God. If he couldn’t fly, he couldn’t fly.”
Urban recorded his apology video from an airport terminal in New York. It was later posted on YouTube.
Wilson said she plans to return on Sunday to view a “heck of a guitar player” with “many hits.”
“I think they’re doing their very best to turn a disappointing situation into a good one,” said Wilson, who did save her ticket.
Live Nation, the venue’s ticket seller, promises refunds for those who cannot attend Sunday. For those with lost or damaged tickets, a receipt of a purchase can be used to redeem a new ticket. Tickets purchased online can be reprinted. For those who can’t make it back on Sunday, a refund will be available.
“If you bought a ticket, you can get a refund,” said Barry Gabel, an executive at Live Nation.
Refund processing should be available by Monday, a representative of Live Nation said. Those with questions should call 1-800-653-8000.
“The main thing is that we want to communicate that if people have their ticket, they can return on Sunday. If you [never had] a ticket, you can purchase one at the door,” Gabel said.
Thursday’s concert featured opening acts from Dustin Lynch and Little Big Town. Both acts, reportedly, fully expected Urban to step out on stage when they walked off.
Opening acts extend sets
Gabel said Urban’s management team worked with Live Nation and Blossom to stretch out the opening acts as long as possible to buy time as New York air traffic controllers assessed the weather.
“We had a police escort ready to roll [at Akron-Canton Airport] and the bottom line is that air traffic [in New York] did not allow any planes to take off,” Gabel said.
Wilson said the opinion of callers she fielded on the air Friday mirrored those found on Blossom’s Facebook page — half negative and half positive.
“Some said they should have been told earlier,” Wilson said. “Others say it’s an act of God.”
Wilson said she believes Urban and the concert organizers did the best they could.
“Some people won’t be happy no matter what,” Wilson said.
Doug Livingston can be reached at 330-996-3792 or email@example.com.