Country legend Merle Haggard surprised everyone by returning to the stage earlier than expected while still recovering from a double pneumonia scare that almost took his life. Now, many of the Hag’s fans are voicing their concerns that he isn’t giving himself enough time to recuperate.
According to Nash Country Weekly, an audience member at Haggard’s Feb. 13 show in Oakland, Calif. reported that the star “could barely walk onto the stage. He didn’t need a hand or a cane, but he needed time, time to get to the mic.”
The 78-year-old also appeared to have a difficult time with his vocal performance, which a fan described as “spoken more than sung.” This is likely an after-effect from Haggard’s illness, which can cause limited lung capacity. Although he seemed to struggle through the performance, he seemed in good spirits, even joking with the crowd about his issues. “If you think that I sound like I’m out of breath,” he told the crowd. “You’re right!”
According to eyewitness reports, Haggard seemed to regain some strength by the end of the performance. After thanking fans for their support and love, the legend retreated from the stage and did not reemerge for an encore.
These new reports are worrisome for fans who were shocked at Haggard’s last minute decision to resume touring after canceling all concert dates for February. The cancellation came after he axed an appearance in Riverside, Cali. just moments before he was set to take the stage due to concerns over his health. Thankfully, Merle has a break in his touring schedule until March 3, which should allow him more time to rest and recover. Wide Open Country will continue to keep you updated on his condition and any future touring plans.