Damien Rice cut short his concert at Chicago's Athenaeum Theatre after six songs on Monday night (October 13), saying he had been dealing with an infection and was suffering from dizziness and an inability to hear.
Performing alone on a stool with only his guitar, the celebrated singer-songwriter sounded sharp on his first two songs, the brand new track "I Don't Want to Change You" and "Older Chests" from his 2002 album O. Nothing seemed amiss until the third song, "Then Go," when Rice's ear began bothering him and he stopped the song to announce, "I'd really like to play a concert for you, but I can't hear a single thing."
He said he had been dealing with an infection for a couple days and wasn't sure if he could continue. After some encouragement from the supportive crowd, he powered through "Delicate" and "Volcano." For someone who couldn't hear, Rice sounded great, and his voice was strong, but his pained expressions indicated that he was not feeling well. During the new song "The Greatest Bastard" he said he was too dizzy to continue, then apologized and walked off.
Athenaeum Theatre staff told ticketholders to watch their email and the theatre's website over the next 48 hours for an update from Jam Productions on how the abbreviated show would be handled. Refunds and/or rescheduling are a possibility, though Rice heads to Europe starting on October 23.
There was no immediate word on whether Rice's upcoming shows, including one Tuesday in Toronto and three in New York City starting on Thursday, would be affected. The concert was part of a brief North American tour in support of Rice's first studio album in eight years, My Favourite Faded Fantasy, which hits U.S. retailers in November.
Fans have eagerly been looking forward to the return of the Irish singer, who rose to fame in 2002 with the brilliant album O, which won the Shortlist Music Prize and remains one of the finest records of this millennium. After 2006's 9, Rice retreated from the public eye, performing occasional concerts and contributing a few songs to compilations.
UPDATE FROM HIS OFFICIAL SITE: Due to a sustained ear infection, I’m sorry to say that I am forced to reschedule tonight’s show in Toronto. I would like to apologise to everyone who attended the Chicago show last night and I will be rescheduling this show also. News of rescheduled dates will follow shortly to official ticket holders.