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It’s been a wet, cold, dreary few days here at the Studio and fits my mood which hasn’t been helped by yet another week of disrupted dates from this viral infection which is not shifting as fast as I had hoped. A doctor’s visit on Wednesday afternoon confirmed my fears that I wouldn’t be able to recover in the scheduled break and that more shows would have to move if I am to fulfill all the tour dates.
I am so incredibly frustrated as everything was going so well. Having chalked up 29 shows , singing powerfully and without any problems, the collapse of my voice the morning after a fine gig in Krefeld that left me struggling on the subsequent Karlsruhe gig, finally disintegrating in Erfurt with 2 shows to the planned break which had been put in to allow recovery from a grueling schedule, was in all honesty a nightmare.
The diagnosis of viral laryngitis, a singers nemesis, was not unexpected as my immune system had been worn down from the long vocally demanding shows, the lack of sleep in a cramped bunk on a cold and moving bus, the irregular diet and the general inability to properly recover while touring at this level. The consultation with the voice specialist in Erfurt only backed up the decision I have made in recent months to retire from the music business in 2 years and his agreement with my proposed activities and exit strategy during that period gave me confidence that it can be achieved.However he warned me that care had to be taken in the execution if I was not to permanently damage my voice. He told me last Saturday that he would have advised a classroom teacher to take at least 3 weeks off if they had my condition and he was shocked at the schedule that still remained in my itinerary. My hopes that a week off could get me back on the stage again were viewed as being slim and even I doubted my own chances if I was to be honest. Sitting here on Saturday I know there is absolutely no chance I could have sung a show tonight and delivered a performance that was anywhere near acceptable.
I made the decision after Wednesday’s examination and further order of rest, which has now taken out the entire French section I was due to perform next week, to take a long hard look at the remaining schedule and to re-jig the tour to avoid any further problems. I had already discussed this with Yatta in Koln before we flew home and had made him aware that we would most probably need to look at an alternative as the Erfurt specialist had strongly advised me not to attempt 4 shows in a row.
I was already highly nervous of the UK section in December as it had a schedule of 4/3/2 with a run of 4 to the final show in Glasgow and only one day off between each run. At the time I’d expressed concern but had felt confident as the weeks went by and my voice was getting stronger. This current event and the news from Erfurt has made me more than nervous as another blow like this could potentially wipe out the tour and I don’t think I could deal with that on any level.
Yatta and the promoters are now looking at moving the Erfurt and Koln dates to the end of January and building what we can from the French shows into a small short tour that can fulfill our commitments.
The UK tour is also being looked at and I have asked the promoter that both the Birmingham date at the Robin on the 8th December and the Sheffield date at the Ballroom on the 20th be moved to January to break up the 2 x 4 in a row runs I have in the UK section in order to protect the overall tour. It’s nothing personal to do with either city but where the dates fall in the current schedule. Putting in the gaps gives me the best chance of recovery as If this problem returns the entire tour comes into question. More importantly if I try and sing on a badly strained voice I could do permanent and irretrievable damage and I am not willing to risk that.
After singing through the 170 or so acoustic shows in 2010 /2011 and having very few problems as well as last years 40 or so dates in the Autumn I am finding this particularly difficult to deal with as it has hit me right out of the blue and has caused immense disruption and uncertainty both with you the fans and also my band and crew. At the moment all I can do is use my voice as little as possible and try and nurse it through this week so I can hopefully get back to singing next weekend in Barcelona.
At the moment I can only apologise for the lack of information but as promoters, insurance companies and my production manager have to all discuss numbers, dates and options it’s been difficult to get anything together to present to anyone in the last few days and over this weekend..
This tour will be the last one of this intensity as I am now aware that I cannot continue to perform gigs in these sort of schedules at this level. Age and wear and tear are taking their toll and I have to accept the inevitable. More days off means less income and more hotels means more expense. The attendance numbers have been good on this tour but in all honesty I need to double them to make live work financially viable and with costs going up and fewer gigs the writing is very much on the wall.
The idea to write and record one more album this year, play open airs with my last performances of “Misplaced Childhood” in the summer, finishing the album in the latter part of the year for a 2016 release before a final tour is still the plan. The open air schedules should be easier on my voice than a concerted tour but I will have think through the 2016 tour commitments very carefully and I know I cannot deal with an intense schedule playing clubs all over Europe.
I’m sorry to have to tell you all this but I can’t ignore the reality of the situation and have to face up to the facts and make wise decisions rather than impetuous charges.
I will get you more information as soon as I have it and I’ll appreciate your patience as I gather what I can. For the moment there is nothing for me to do but to get as much rest as possible and hope that this voice heals by next Saturday to enable me to get back and finish the rest of the tour.
Finally I just want to say thanks to everyone who has posted up best wishes to me regarding my health in the last week. It was sincerely appreciated as needless to say I was and am feeling pretty down about this and your comments buoyed me.