Chris Rea, Driving Home For Christmas star, cancels scheduled gig after on-stage collapse

Chris Rea has collapsed on stage at the New Theatre Oxford - PA
Chris Rea has collapsed on stage at the New Theatre Oxford - PA

Chris Rea's scheduled concert in Brighton on Sunday will not go ahead following the singer's collapse on Saturday evening.

The Driving Home For Christmas singer had been performing at the New Theatre in Oxford when he fell to the stage mid-song, with one audience member describing him "falling into a clump".

Currently in the midst of his The Road Songs For Lovers live tour, the 66-year-old - who suffered a stroke last year - was scheduled to perform at the Brighton Centre on Sunday, but this has now been cancelled.

A spokesman for the singer said: "Unfortunately Chris Rea has had to cancel tonight's show at Brighton Centre due to illness.

"A decision about the outstanding date on his UK tour on 12th December at Bournemouth International Centre will be made in the near future."

The Brighton Centre said in a tweet that "tickets will be refunded at point of purchase".

He kept shaking his left hand as if there was something not quite right with it

Darren Fewins

Shortly after the incident on Saturday night, Rea was thought to be in a "stable" condition.

Darren Fewins, who had been watching the show with his wife, told the Press Association the musician had been on stage for 40 to 45 minutes before he fell backwards.

"He was standing by the microphone and he had the guitar in his hand and he kept shaking his left hand as if there was something not quite right with it," the 46-year-old said.

"He walked forward to the microphone and he was trying to grab the microphone with his left hand, and it was swinging from side-to-side.

"I thought at first there was something wrong with it and he was trying to keep it steady. He then took three or four steps backwards.

"Then he just collapsed on the stage backwards. There was no-one there to catch him, he just fell into a clump.

"He was on his back for about two minutes before they brought the curtain down and then that was it."

Chris Rea - Credit:  Eleanor Bentall
Chris Rea, pictured in 1999, was on his The Road Songs For Lovers live tour Credit: Eleanor Bentall

Another audience member said Rea had been "slurring his words a lot through the song beforehand".

A spokeswoman for South Central Ambulance Service said on Saturday night: "We were called at 9.30pm to attend to an incident in George Street in Oxford.

"We had an ambulance crew on scene and one patient has now been taken to hospital."

When asked about the condition of the person, she said they were "stable".

The Middlesbrough-born musician was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and had his pancreas removed in 2001, and in 2016 he suffered a stroke.

Rea told BBC Breakfast in August: "I had a stroke exactly this time last year, and I stopped smoking this time last year."

He said he is still feeling the effects of the stroke, and added: "I'm fine when I'm sitting down, I've just got a little bit of balance - it's a bit dodgy, just in case anyone thinks I'm drunk on-stage."