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Lionel Richie Says He ‘Tried to Bribe’ Plane Pilot to Avoid Canceling Recent NYC Gig

Lionel Richie Says He Attempted to Bribe Plane Pilot to Avoid Canceling Recent Gig
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Lionel Richie did everything in his power to make it to a Saturday, August 12, gig at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Richie, 74, who postponed the sold-out Saturday concert due to poor weather conditions, apologized to the audience during the rescheduled performance on Monday, August 14.

“I tried to bribe the pilot, and the pilot said, ‘I do wanna see my wife tomorrow,’” said Richie in a clip from the show shared via Twitter, noting that both God and the captain of his plane were against his travel plans. “So, tonight we are going to make up for that. I apologize a thousand times.”

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Richie previously announced that the Saturday show had been canceled one hour after it was scheduled to begin.

“Due to severe weather and being unable to land in the NY and surrounding areas, I’m unable to make it to the show tonight. I’m so bummed,” the American Idol judge wrote via Twitter on Saturday. “We are rescheduling the show to Monday Aug 14. Can’t wait to perform for you all. Tickets for tonight’s show are valid for the show on Monday.”

Some fans took to the comments section to express their frustration with the last minute update.

“Thank you so much for announcing this an hour after the show was supposed to start,” one Twitter user wrote.

Another person chimed in to note that the new concert date didn’t work for them. “Can’t believe this. Flew from NC to NYC for the weekend. Hotel, Airfare, Ubers, Dinner … this is a $4,000 ‘bummer’ for me. Some of us can’t make the Monday show and are now stuck. Bummed is shallow and pathetic,” the fan wrote.

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Others didn’t believe that weather was the real reason for the cancellation.

“Come on, the weather has been fine all day in NJ & NY. At least dignify us with the real reason you decided not to show,” a third Twitter user wrote. “I hope you put on one hell of a show Monday that I’ll be seeing with a friend as my husband can’t go.”

The rescheduled performance was part of Richie’s ongoing tour with Earth, Wind & Fire, which began earlier this month and will wrap up on September 15 in Los Angeles. The tour’s stop in Bridgeport, Connecticut, which was originally scheduled for Monday, was also postponed to Wednesday, August 16, after the New York City cancellation.

Although Richie sparked backlash from fans due to the postponed gig, his daughter Sofia Richie Grainge sang his praises during an interview with Town & Country published on Tuesday, August 15.

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“I learned how to deal with people knowing who you are from my dad,” the model, 24, told the outlet for their September cover story. “He handles it with such grace. He embraces everyone who comes up to him. He’s appreciative, he’s thankful. He’s taught me to never have that, ‘Oh god, not today’ attitude.”

Richie Grainge, who exchanged vows with husband Elliot Grainge in April, added that she’s never seen her dad turn down a fan’s request for a photo with him. “I’ve never seen him be rude to anyone who walks up to him on the street. That’s been my role model,” she said.

Richie shares both Sofia and son Miles Brockman Richie with ex-wife Diane Alexander. He also adopted and raised daughter Nicole Richie with his first wife, Brenda Harvey.

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