Elvis Costello today revealed he underwent surgery six weeks ago for a “very aggressive cancerous malignancy,” and while the procedure went well, he’s canceling the remainder of his European tour — beginning with tonight’s show in Manchester — as he continues to recover.
In a note to fans posted on his website and Facebook page, Costello, 63, writes:
“Six weeks ago my specialist called me and said, ‘You should start playing the Lotto.’ He had rarely, if ever, seen such a small but very aggressive cancerous malignancy that could be defeated by a single surgery. I was elated and relieved that our European summer tour could go ahead. Post-surgical guidelines for such surgery recommend three weeks to four weeks recovery depending on whether you are returning to a desk job or an occupation that involves physical work or travel. It was impossible to judge how this advisory would line up with the demands on a traveling musician, playing 90-minute to 2-hour plus performances on a nightly basis but by the time we reached the Edinburgh Playhouse, I was almost fooled into thinking that normal service had been resumed.”
Costello goes on to thank the fans at Thursday night’s concert in Amsterdam, and prior shows at Antwerp, Glynde and Newcastle “for bearing me up.” He writes, “The spirit has been more than willing, but I have to now accept that it is going to take longer than I would have wished for me to recover my full strength.”
The final six dates of Costello’s European tour, now canceled, included shows in Manchester, England; Pula, Croatia; Graz, Austria; Vienna, Austria; Tysnes, Norway; and Rattvik, Sweden. Still scheduled: a North American tour in November and December with the Imposters, supporting a new studio album that is due out in October (see those dates at Costello’s website).
Of that album, Costello, in his statement, adds: “We will return at the soonest opportunity to play that music and your favourite songs that still make sense to us all.”
Costello signs off with some advice:
“Take very good care of your loved ones, but gentleman, do talk to you friends — you’ll find you are not alone — seek your doctor’s advice if you are in doubt or when it is timely and act as swiftly as you may in these matters. It may save your life. Believe me, it is better than playing roulette.”
Below, read Costello’s full statement, and see reaction from peers and fans.
Anyone who has seen Elvis Costello play will know he puts a huge amount of energy into his live shows, so it’s understandable that he would cancel a few gigs to focus on recovering from cancer surgery. He’s one of my musical heroes and I wish him well.
— Billy Bragg (@billybragg) July 6, 2018
— Echo & the Bunnymen (@Bunnymen) July 6, 2018
Very troubling news about Elvis Costello
I probably wouldn’t have much of a career it wasn’t for him
Colleen and I are sending out love & positive wishes as we hope for good news and a full recovery RS
— Ron Sexsmith (@RonSexsmith) July 6, 2018
I once saw Elvis Costello play “Oliver’s Army” mid-set at the Royal Albert Hall, at the request of someone with terminal cancer. He’d normally save it for the encore, but he just said “Yes of course” and played it, no grumbles. Here’s hoping the universe shows him the same grace.
— Simon Price (@simon_price01) July 6, 2018
PREVIOUSLY ON SLICING UP EYEBALLS
- Video: Elvis Costello and The Roots turn ‘I Want You’ into a 13-minute slow burn
- Video: Elvis Costello & The Roots play ‘Fallon,’ cover The Specials in Brooklyn
- Elvis Costello and The Roots debut ‘Walk Us Uptown’ — first single off ‘Wise Up Ghost’
- Elvis Costello and The Roots to drop ‘moody, brooding’ album ‘Wise Up Ghost’ this fall