Getting stood up is starting to be a thing for Winnipeg music fans.

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This article was published 22/5/2019 (695 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Getting stood up is starting to be a thing for Winnipeg music fans.

First, Fleetwood Mac cancelled three days before its scheduled April 11 Bell MTS Place show because singer Stevie Nicks had the flu. Just days later, British singer-songwriter Morrissey, former frontman of the Smiths, cancelled his show at the concert hall because of a "medical emergency."

Those concerts have been rescheduled for the fall. And in both cases, fans had a few days notice to deal with the disappointment.

Fleetwood Mac cancelled their Winnipeg show three days before its scheduled date because singer Stevie Nicks had the flu. (Brent N. Clarke / Invision files)</p>

Fleetwood Mac cancelled their Winnipeg show three days before its scheduled date because singer Stevie Nicks had the flu. (Brent N. Clarke / Invision files)

Not so for the 9,500 or so devotees (and significant others) of 73-year-old pop diva Cher, who waited an hour after Tuesday night's opening act had left the stage before a tour representative announced the star would not be able to perform because of a "sudden short-term illness."

Having a show cancelled so late in the game is a first for Bell MTS Place, said Kevin Donnelly, the senior vice-president of venues and entertainment for True North Sports and Entertainment.

"It’s the worst-case scenario, because the audience is in the building, the anticipation is there. It probably has the greatest component of let-down, because if you get told at noon or the day before, it’s not quite the same as actually having the popcorn in your lap, having the T-shirt on your arm, ready to punch the air," he said Wednesday.

Cher fans head to the Pyramid Cabaret

The Pyramid Cabaret is just a few blocks away from Bell MTS Place, and it, too, was hosting a concert Tuesday night with Steven Page (of Barenaked Ladies fame) headlining.

When the venue management heard about Cher's cancellation, they sent out a message on their social media offering Cher ticket-holders free admission to Page's show if they were still in the downtown area.

The Pyramid Cabaret is just a few blocks away from Bell MTS Place, and it, too, was hosting a concert Tuesday night with Steven Page (of Barenaked Ladies fame) headlining.

When the venue management heard about Cher's cancellation, they sent out a message on their social media offering Cher ticket-holders free admission to Page's show if they were still in the downtown area.

Dave McKeigan, who handles the bookings at the Pyramid, said around 40 people ended up taking them up on the offer.

"The first two who came in were from out of town and they were just shocked over the cancellation. The gentleman was talking about the long distance they came to see her, he pulled out his wallet and the door man, Jody, said, 'Put it back, it’s free for Cher fans,''' McKeigan said in an email to the Free Press.

"(So) in they came, and I noticed later that he and his friend were having a great time. I would have went to see Cher myself if we did not have Steven Page. I have seen her in Vegas and I have always liked her music and attitude. When I heard of the cancellation I thought, why not? People are downtown and we are just a few blocks away. Steven Page is an icon so let’s give some fans a chance to drop by.

"On the greedy side, I can see Cher when she returns!"

"I don’t know if it’s happened in another building in the market that I’m aware of, but it’s definitely a first for us... everybody was in position, everybody was ready to go except for the person in the dressing room. And those people attending to her were trying to do what they could do to see if she could get through the show. If you were in the building last night, you saw the cameramen with the headsets on, everybody was in position. And the fact the support act had played and the Cher gear was positioned and ready to go, it was literally down to the final minute and then it was, ‘OK, it’s off.’"

Morrissey, who has a history of cancelling shows, postponed the western Canadian portion of his spring tour citing a medical emergency. (Marco Ugarte / The Associated Press files)</p>

Morrissey, who has a history of cancelling shows, postponed the western Canadian portion of his spring tour citing a medical emergency. (Marco Ugarte / The Associated Press files)

Courtney McLennan, 23, travelled to Winnipeg from Thunder Bay with her mom and sister specifically the concert. All three had to take two days of unpaid time off from their jobs to make the more than seven-hour drive here and then home again.

"Honestly, of course a part of me is mad because of how far we travelled, price of gas and hotel, but in the end, the woman is in her 70s and her health obviously matters." she said.

"I'd rather see a show of Cher performing to her fullest."

In a moment worthy of historic Stanley Cup lore, in 2015 Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl fell off a stage in Gothenburg, Sweden, breaking his leg. After a medic wrapped the leg, Grohl took a seat with his leg elevated and, well... the show must go on.

Cher fans in Winnipeg on Tuesday waited an hour for the star to hit the stage before being told she had an illness and the concert was being cancelled. (Amy Harris / Invision files)</p>

Cher fans in Winnipeg on Tuesday waited an hour for the star to hit the stage before being told she had an illness and the concert was being cancelled. (Amy Harris / Invision files)

Need a refund?

Late Tuesday night, Live Nation sent out a release stating ticket-holders should keep their paper or e-tickets, which will be honoured once a rescheduled date is confirmed.

Late Tuesday night, Live Nation sent out a release stating ticket-holders should keep their paper or e-tickets, which will be honoured once a rescheduled date is confirmed.

Things got a bit more confusing Wednesday, as Live Nation continued to update the concert's Facebook event page with different placeholder dates and times that had fans wondering if the show had been rescheduled for Wednesday night, as the date posted on the page suggested, or sometime in 2021, which got posted earlier.

Live Nation responded, letting fans know those dates were not accurate and a formal announcement would be made about a new date, likely before the end of the week.

People who require an immediate refund can do so through their online Ticketmaster account or by contacting Ticketmaster by phone (1-855-985-4357), sending an email through the company's website or messaging Ticketmaster on social media.

It should be noted, however, that the rock star was 46 at the time. And apart from the surprise bandage application, there were no costume changes, planned or otherwise.

Whatever forced Cher to pull the plug Tuesday, the circumstances are very different, Donnelly said.

"I do think it is definitely one of the factors, the aging list of performers out there," he said. "When you have people of a certain age, their ability to withstand the rigours of the road and their ability to fight off a virus when they’re in a different city, different hotel every day, that becomes a challenge for anyone in the prime of their life, let alone someone who is getting on in years."

In some cases, cancellations can deliver unintended benefits to fans elsewhere. Donnelly said the only reason Winnipeggers were able to experience Justin Timberlake live in February was because illness had forced him to cancel the previous stretch of his tour, providing an opportunity for True North to successfully pitch a Winnipeg stop during the rescheduled leg.

And the same goes for Fleetwood Mac; their original tour wasn't supposed to come through Winnipeg, but Nicks was ill at that time as well and and the band was forced to reschedule, opening a slot for the April show, which is now a November show.

"Sometimes there is a silver lining to these things being rescheduled, and sometimes there isn’t. It’s just a fact of life," Donnelly said.