Two weekend concerts for Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau Tak-wah were cancelled on Saturday, after the pop icon broke down in tears and ended a show midway on Friday night due to throat inflammation.
The 57-year-old celebrity was delivering his 14th performance at the Hong Kong Coliseum as part of a total of 20 concerts in his "My Love Andy Lau World Tour" when he halted the music and apologised to fans.
"The doctor said I shouldn't sing any more, but I really can't bear to let go," Lau told thousands of people in the audience, his voice hoarse.
"I don't want everyone to listen to this voice of mine for the whole concert … I'll have to stop after singing this one song," the singer said, while hanging from a suspension platform.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, concert organiser Focus Entertainment Limited informed fans to hold on to their tickets for shows from Friday till Sunday, confirming these had been cancelled so "Mr Lau will be able to continue to perform after some proper rest".
The organiser said it would announce refund arrangements for the affected shows soon. No further information is available yet on shows after those dates.
Lau had apparently suffered from a sore throat starting that evening, affecting his singing in the third song for the night. He stopped midway through the fourth number.
Lau bowed to his fans in apology and left the stage amid choruses of "Don't cry!" and "We love you, Wah Zai!" Fans were referring to his Cantonese nickname.
The star's marathon tour was Lau's first major outing in several years, with his last performance at the fabled arena held eight years ago.
The concerts, running from December 15 to January 3, form the first leg of Lau's world tour. Although the rest of his schedule is yet to be announced, he is expected to travel to mainland China next year.
Fans affected showed their support for Lau online with comments left on the organiser's Facebook page, expressing sadness and pity. Some said they did not want to refunds, preferring instead for Lau to make up for the cancelled gigs with extra shows.
A fan surnamed Cheng said on Facebook that he had flown from Singapore to Hong Kong with his wife for Lau's concert on Sunday. "Although I feel sad, please take care. When you are feeling better, sing for us again. Add oil Andy!"
Another fan, surnamed Wu, questioned why there was no time for the singer to rest in between shows. "The organiser's planning is not considerate," she said in her post, adding it was a shame as her entire family had flown in for Sunday's concert.
In September, sales of the 60,000 tickets were suspended at box offices following a knife attack at a counter queue. Police then arrested four suspected triad members over the incident carried out against a mainland Chinese man who had been in line for more than a week to get tickets.
Fans could only scramble for the highly sought-after tickets via online and mobile platforms, the first time in a decade there were no counter bookings at Urbtix outlets for a concert held at the Hong Kong Coliseum.
Eager buyers jammed the online system for hours, with some tickets going for almost 10 times the original price. Entrance fees ranged from HK$380 to HK$980 (US$125), but a ticket for the concert in Zone A near the stage traded from HK$2,668 to HK$38,800 (US$5,000) on one online resale platform, data at the time showed.
An outcry over scalping erupted earlier this year after tickets for some popular shows were snapped up and resold for as much as almost 20 times original prices. In April, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said officials would consider making ticket scalping a criminal offence at government venues.
Scalping is a crime at private venues and carries a fine of HK$2,000. However, that law does not apply to facilities run by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, such as the Hong Kong Coliseum.
This article was first published on South China Morning Post. Permission required for reproduction.