DALLAS – Patti LaBelle said Thursday that she told fans at a weekend concert in Florida that they could leave because it was too cold, not because of a poor performance.
LaBelle struggled through the Saturday show in Riviera Beach, Fla., and told fans she would understand if they left early. She said Thursday on the Dallas-based Tom Joyner Morning Show that her onstage reference to her failing health was misinterpreted.
"You know what I said to the audience: 'I'm diabetic, I have a slight heart murmur, I'm 61 and I'm fierce and this wind isn't going to stop me,'" the R&B singer told Joyner on the nationally syndicated radio program, according to portions of a transcript.
"I was the closing act and the audience was still loving Patti LaBelle," she said. "But I told the audience to go home. I didn't want the audience sitting out there."
Temperatures fell into the low 50s at the Riviera Beach Jazz & Blues Festival.
"They were wrapped up in blankets," LaBelle said of the crowd. "They couldn't clap."
Many fans left the show during the singer's 45 minutes onstage after having waited hours through opening acts. LaBelle sang several gospel songs through the performance and faltered through "Lady Marmalade" and "On my Own" before leaving the stage.