Elvis Costello isn’t just one of our greatest living songwriters. He’s also a trooper. For the past few weeks, Costello has been playing live shows while recovering from cancer surgery. And he’s been doing it without telling the world about it. Respect is due.
Reuters reports that the 63-year-old Costello, still recovering from the surgery, has cancelled the remaining six dates of his European tour, explaining that he didn’t realize how much the recovery would take out of him. He’s been playing long shows every night — and he’s still a great performer — but that’s left him exhausted, and his doctor has advised him not to play those last shows. In a statement to the public, Costello revealed his cancer diagnosis and said why he’d have to cancel those shows:
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…
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. Therefore, I must reluctantly cancel all the remaining engagements of this tour.
So take this as a reminder to go see your heroes play live while you still can. Even when they’re consummate performers like Costello, they won’t be able to keep it up forever.