EDMONTON — After cancelling two concerts earlier this week due to ill health, the singer Meat Loaf collapsed on stage toward the end of his show in Edmonton on Thursday night.
A spokesman for Alberta Health Services would not provide any information on his condition, only confirming that a man had been taken to hospital.
One video of the performance at Edmonton’s Jubilee Auditorium showed the singer bending over, then knocking over his microphone stand and falling to the floor. Audience members said he had been singing his classic “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).”
Mikey McBryan, 33, an ice pilot from Yellowknife who had taken his mom to the show for her 70th birthday, said the singer had appeared to be struggling earlier in the performance.
“It was him forgetting words, he wasn’t on cue, but it was forgiveable,” said McBryan. “We’re all loving it and going crazy, and then it just took a turn for the worst.”
More than a few fans had noticed, with one tweeting Meat Loaf “did not look good 2nite. Was worried he wouldn’t last.”
“He sounded terrible from the start,” wrote another. “It was like he pushed through each song.”
Moments after he rolled onto his back, musicians from his band walked over while men from behind the scenes ran out onto the stage. A security guard directed some people away from the vicinity while other appeared to be running to get help.
“A lot of people thought it was part of the show — this is what’s going on,” said McBryan, who has himself appeared on the reality TV show “Ice Pilots NWT.”
“And then all of a sudden it wasn’t. The lights went on, they brought out a vertical screen that covered everybody, and they said ‘can everyone vacate the arena?’ ”
Jim Thibaudeau, who had second-row-centre seats, said he has enormous respect for the singer and felt awful at what happened.
“I thought he’d died. I thought he’d had a heart attack and died. It was a terrible feeling. It was awful.”
McBryan said concert-goers were calm but concerned as they left the auditorium.
“People were, like, ‘did we just see history?’ No one really wanted to make the conclusion of hey, this might be the last one.”
The singer had cancelled concerts in Moose Jaw, Sask., and in Calgary earlier, citing ill health.
Fans flooded Facebook with stories of witnessing the collapse, along with well-wishes for the 68-year-old, whose birth name was Michael Lee Aday.
Best known for his iconic 1977 album “Bat Out of Hell,” Meat Loaf was a pioneer of bombastic, theatrical rock. In his younger — and considerably larger — years, he performed with such intensity he dripped wet with sweat.
But his career has also had longevity, and Meat Loaf has made a name for himself as an actor — on Broadway and in the movie “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” — and a reality TV star, on Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice.”
According to his website, he is scheduled to perform Saturday in Cold Lake, Alta., then in Lethbridge, Alta., next Tuesday; Penticton , B.C on June 23; Victoria on June 25 and in Abbotsford, B.C., on June 28.
He has collapsed on stage before. In 2011, medics rushed to his aid during a concert in Pittsburgh but he got up and finished the show. In 2013, he collapsed at Wembley Arena in London and was admitted to hospital.
Meat Loaf has said he suffers from asthma and from a medical condition that causes an irregular heartbeat.