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Lionel Richie backs out of Boston performance

Jul 1, 2011 4:40pm
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(NECN: Alysha Palumbo - Boston) - The countdown is on - it's now just a matter of days until the Boston Pops return to the Hatch Shell stage for the Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular.

The Esplanade is being decked out in stars and stripes… red, white and blue, as crews prepare for the biggest Independence Day party in New England.

But late Thursday there was a little hiccup that left organizers scrambling.

Headliner Lionel Richie had to back out of the performance for health reasons.

Steve MacDonald, a spokesperson for Boston Four Productions said, "Lionel Richie's manager called us last evening and said he had strained vocal cords doctor's orders he cannot perform :34 while there's some disappointment in that all of us behind the scenes scrambled and we were able to secure Martina McBride."

The deal with McBride was worked out in a matter of hours, including transportation, logistics and musical changes.

MacDonald said, "She has played with the Pops before and this is really a big deal to be able to step in like this, she's really saving the day for us if you will."

But some aren't as happy with the substitution.

Jack Doherty of Cambridge, MA said, "I don't think it's going to be very popular because I don't think country is big up here."
Others say they don't blame Richie for having to back out.

Meryl Moretti of Revere, MA said, "If he has issues with his voice, there's a lot of people watching, you don't want to put on a bad concert."

Pete Wojda of Boston said, "He's been a good singer for a long time, he gets old just like everybody else, just like me."

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