Photo by Arthur VanRooy.
Motörhead are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, but so far things have not been going so well on their North American tour. At a show in Salt Lake City this past Thursday, frontman Lemmy Kilmister walked off stage just a few songs in, blaming his feelings of “sickness” on the altitude. The hard living rocker subsequently cancelled the band’s gig at Riot Fest in Denver over the weekend, saying, “The Rocky Mountain High has affected Lemmy like the high altitude of Salt Lake City,” and also adding that Lemmy “looks forward to the next-up Texas shows… at low elevations.” The first one of those shows was in Austin, which, after being moved from the spacious suburban Cedar Park Center to the much smaller Emo’s at last minute (perhaps due to lack of ticket sales), proved not to be a cure for Lemmy’s “altitude sickness”.
Following a positively crushing set from the glorious legends of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Saxon, Lemmy emerged onstage looking fatigued and winded. Though a little slow on the bass, Lemmy was clearly trying hard to make it through set opener “Damage Case”, but something felt off. “Stay Clean” and “We Are Motörhead” also felt lackluster despite the energy of his band. After announcing the next song – “Metropolis” – Lemmy let out a sigh and announced, “I can’t do it”, before leaving the stage with the rest of his band. He returned moments later and apologized to a disappointed but supportive Austin crowd, which was followed by the house lights and music coming on, and concerned (slightly annoyed) fans funneling out.
— Neil Ferguson (@musicjournzo) September 2, 2015
Approaching 70, it’s hard to say if Lemmy is just a bit under the weather or if his age and years of hard living are taking a toll on him for this tour. According to the band’s schedule on their website, there are close to 50 more tour dates running into 2016, however, based on Lemmy’s physical and vocal appearance in both Salt Lake City and Austin, it will be surprising if even a handful of those are still pulled off. Here’s to wishing Lemmy a speedy recovery.