A month after returning to the stage in a wheelchair, Mark E. Smith’s health problems have forced the cancellation of three more concerts by The Fall this month, including, at the last minute, a gig in Bristol, England, last night and tonight’s planned performance in London.
The first sign of trouble came Nov. 17, when band manager Pam Vander announced the cancellation of the following night’s concert in Porto, Portugal, after Smith had a tooth pulled and suffered an abscess. “Despite the incredible progress Mark has made after a pretty rough year health-wise, he has now been rendered unfit to fly due to further dental/respiratory problems,” she wrote.
Then, just as the The Fall was scheduled to take the stage in Bristol last night, members of the band came on-stage to inform the sell-out crowd that Smith was too ill to perform, according to the Bristol Post. Smith’s bandmates said the 60-year-old recently had undergone major surgery, and had taken a turn for the worse after traveling to Bristol, the newspaper reported.
“He sends his heartfelt apologies and he really appreciates your support and hopes that you understand,” the band told the crowd, according to the newspaper. “None of us wanted this to happen.”
This morning, Vander announced in a post to The Fall’s official website that tonight’s London gig also is canceled. “I’m really, really sorry. I can’t think of much to say today, as all my focus is on Mark. And we are all a bit gutted. It’s been a weird year.” She also shared a message from Smith himself, who said he hopes to rescheduled the concerts within six weeks — and revealed The Fall has eight new songs “ready to go” that he hopes fans will be able to “hear a few before Christmas.”
Here’s the full statement from Smith:
A Message to All, to All. From Mark E. Smith/The Fall group. As I, like Pr Rupert leave Bristol with my tail between my legs, I wish to give my great apologies to everybody. This idiotic idea to do both shows was purely my idea, against the advice of Pamela and The Fall group, agent & promoter. Hope to replace shows within 4–6 weeks. In the interim we have eight new songs ready to go and will try and let you hear a few before Christmas. From head patient to you, the patients. I love you all but cannot embrace you all, Mark E. Smith
Smith’s ill health initially forced the postponement, in September, of The Fall’s first U.S. concerts in more than a decade. The group had been slated to play a seven-night residency in New York City and headline the Cropped Out Festival in Louisville, Ky. The festival slot was scrubbed, but the Brooklyn residency was pushed to February. Then, in October, Smith returned to the stage in the U.K., strapped into a wheelchair, but still delivering his trademark vocals.
See the Fall’s current tour dates below.
The Fall tour dates:
Nov. 18: Hard Club, Porto, Portugal
Nov. 29: Fiddler’s Club, Bristol, UK
Nov. 30: Koko, London, UK
Feb. 19: Baby’s All Right, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Feb. 20: Baby’s All Right, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Feb. 21: Baby’s All Right, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Feb. 22: Baby’s All Right, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Feb. 23: Baby’s All Right, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Feb. 24: Baby’s All Right, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Feb. 25: Baby’s All Right, Brooklyn, NY, USA
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