Amanda Palmer Postpones Tour Dates to Help Sick Best Friend in Boston

December 6th, 2012
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Amanda Palmer has made the decision to postone/cancel upcoming tour dates to spend time with a friend in Boston who is suffering from cancer. In a blog post earlier today, Palmer apologized to fans for the sudden announcement and explained the details of the situation that brought her to the decision.

In an e-mail sent to fans, Palmer said:

dear comrades-

this is the hardest text i’ve ever had to send to this email list, because i’m usually brimming with awesome, exciting news.

this is not exciting news.

i have decided to postpone/cancel my upcoming tours so that i can stay in boston with my best friend anthony, who has cancer and just started treatment. we don’t know what the outcome will be.

i just posted a longer blog about everything HERE.
please read it, so you can understand what’s going on.

this is really hard to do.

In the actual blog post, Amanda Palmer went further to say:

so, you may have seen this coming if you’ve been following the blog.

i’m canceling the upcoming year of touring so that i can stay with my friend anthony while he faces cancer treatment and whatever else is about to happen.
i’ve talked a lot about anthony and my relationship with him in recent blogs, but if you’re new to the story, go read this one:
it explains things and has an excerpt from the introduction i wrote for his book of short stories.
in a nutshell: he’s one of my biggest relationships, my life-long mentor. my best friend.

this is really, really hard for me to tell you. i feel like i’m letting a lot of people down.
if you know me, you’ll know that in 13 years of touring, i’ve almost never canceled a single engagement.
it’s not my style.
i take my professional commitments really seriously. even if i’m sick, i play.
but i also take my friendships really seriously.
this situation calls for no other solution.
my best friend is really sick and his future is uncertain.
so i am going to stay with him while he goes through this.

i know it’s going to affect so many people – my band, my crew, all of you, especially those of you who have already made travel plans, booked hotels, bought plane tickets. all i can do is ask for your forgiveness and understanding…and ask you to wait. i will come.

this was an agonizing decision to make, but it was also…an easy decision, if you know what i mean. he’s my best friend.

it’s not enough, when this happens, to be “on call” to be a flight away at any moment. it is only enough to stay close, to join the story in real time.

it’s funny, timing and life.

about a week ago, fiona apple (whose music i love, especially her new incredible album) sent a letter to her fanbase announcing that she was canceling a whole run of dates to south america, because one of the biggest relationships in her life needed tending. in her case: it’s her beloved dog, janet, who’s nearing the end of her dog-ness. if you read fiona’s letter, you get that this isn’t just any dog, this is a core relationship in her life. that’s the way i feel about anthony. he’s always been there for me, and now it’s time for me to be there with him.

here’s fiona’s letter:

and here’s the part that really hit me, because i feel like she was literally writing from the depths of my heart:

“I just can’t leave her now, please understand.
If I go away again, I’m afraid she’ll die and I won’t have the honor of singing her to sleep, of escorting her out. Sometimes it takes me 20 minutes to pick which socks to wear to bed. But this decision is instant. These are the choices we make, which define us.

I will not be the woman who puts her career ahead of love and friendship.”

these are the choices we make, which define us.

i spent a few months struggling with this whole decision. i wanted to believe that i could do everything, make it work, somehow juggle being a really good friend and also somehow go to australia and new zealand and europe and play shows every night.

i thought about maybe doing one tour, or shaving off a few dates here and a few dates there and keeping the momentum of my album, my band, and my career going.

this is my moment. my record got stellar reviews. ticket sales are soaring. everybody is excited. this is the time.

but honestly, when i came home from thanksgiving and sat down with anthony and felt the true weight of what he’s about to go through….twelve weeks of treatment with no guarantees…it was obvious. i just had to stay and be here. running around would be the worst thing i could do. i need to just….abide.

because no matter what happens with him, no matter what the outcome is, this is when he needs me.

now, during this. at this time. not later.

right now.

it’s also funny (funny weird, not funny haha) how becca’s sudden death has entwined into all of this.
she left, on the first day of our fall tour in the UK, with no warning.

she was there, we were emailing, we were sending each other links to songs, and then the next moment….the phone rang and she was dead.

i didn’t have the luxury of saying goodbye. it was just the end. bam, like that.

and the one thing i’ve found we all feel, me and all of her other friends, was a pang of regret that we didn’t do more, spend more time, connect more.

one of the first and heaviest emotions that hit me when she died was remembering an email she wrote me a few months ago saying “when are we REALLY going to spend some time together? i feel like we haven’t really talked in ages. when when when??” and the response from me, which was probably along the typical lines of “fuck man, things are so crazy right now with tour and this record and everything…i swear it’ll clam down and we’ll grab a drink when i get home to boston. sorry i’ve been so busy….”

we didn’t grab our drink.

she left.

we all know, you never know. and you can’t live your life in service of some morbid philosophy.
but i consider it a blessing, even if it’s a morbid one, that i have the luxury of canceling this tour and being with my best friend.

i’m imagining a world in which he left like becca, suddenly, in the middle of the night.

and imagining what i would give to be able to be with him one last time, to abide by him, to be present with him as he faced the music.

and i know, i’d give anything. any forward momentum in my career, any number of record sales, any amount of success. anything.

because if i wasn’t willing to do that: what is my life even worth? why bother to be successful?
if i can’t throw it away and sit by my friend when he’s this sick…who the fuck would i be? really….who?

so i’m canceling.

i know how disappointing it will be to so many of you, to thousands of you who have bought tickets and were waiting to see me and my amazing band…and i assure you, they are amazing. not just amazing musicians and performers and touring mates, but amazing human beings. chad, michael, and jherek…my brothers, they’ve been right there with me and this decision. my crew, too. jaron my tour manager, dave my soundguy, dave my lighting guy, and sarah at the merch desk….this is affecting all of their futures, their lives. they’ve all been incredible….they didn’t blink an eye. they know this road of life and rock is long and we’re all in it together, and this is where the story is taking us right now.

the story won’t stop.
i said, at the beginning of this, that i felt like i’m letting a lot of people down.
having written this….i actually don’t believe that.

i believe that you know me. i believe that you trust me.
and i believe that actually, i’d be letting you down if i decided to leave my best friend hanging and leave on tour anyway.

because that’s not who you’d want me to be.

i fucking love you.

you all – every one of you – have helped MAKE ME into a person who can decide to do this.

i don’t feel like i’m letting you down. i feel like i’m being the person you’d want me to be.

i want to be the person who would cancel this tour. the person who would tell the whole truth, share the story, ask for forgiveness, and sit by her friend’s side, hold his hand in the hospital bed and fetch him hot water bottles to ease the chills while a bag of chemicals drips slowly into an IV in his arm. i know, if i were in that bed, he’d be by my side doing the same thing. about that, i have no doubt.

and whatever i’m learning, i’ll share it, eventually, in some way, with all of you. that is the way i work, and the way art works, and i need you to allow me to make this choice. to send me on my way with your permission…into wherever this adventure is taking me.

i’ll tell you man, it’s a new kind of tour. into somewhere, instead of out to somewhere. i need to know that you want me to go. you’ve always been so good to me.

thank you, every single one of you who is reading this, for making me so strong….you all affect me more than you can ever know.

onwards, all of us, forever….

love from cafe pamplona,


Palmer will play her Purple Rain cover show at Terminal 5 in NYC on New Year’s Eve but take a look at cancelled dates below.

Amanda Palmer & the GTO Cancelled Tour Dates
Jan 27: Auckland, NZ – Q Theatre
Jan 30: Wellington, NZ – San Francisco Bath House
Feb 1: Melbourne, AU – Forum Theatre
Feb 7: Sydney, AU – Enmore Theatre
Feb 9: Byron Bay, AU – The Northern
Feb 10: Brisbane, AU – The Tivoli
Feb 14: Perth, AU Astor Theatre, Perth
Feb 17: Adelaide, AU – Thebarton Theatre

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