Janelle Monae and Kimbra have apologised to fans through their tour promoter after their incredible shrinking Australian tour was scrapped due to Monae's mystery illness.
The Golden Electric Tour, co-headlined by Monae and the Australian-based Kiwi star, was marked by moves from the planned venues to smaller ones followed by cancellations - due to the American singer's unspecified but apparently serious health problem.
Tour promoter Live Nation issued a statement on Tuesday evening confirming the tour cancellation: “Due to Janelle Monáe’s continuing illness it has been confirmed that the remainder of The Golden Electric Tour has been cancelled and there will be no rescheduled performances,” it said.
Then on Wednesday Live Nation issued a further statement: "Ms Monáe has remained in Melbourne under medical supervision but has now been advised that she should not attempt to perform at this time, leaving no alternative other than to cancel all remaining show dates scheduled for the Australian and New Zealand tour.
"Ms Monáe is devastated at not being able to perform for her fans and has vowed to return to our shores in the not-too-distant future ... Janelle Monáe, Kimbra and Live Nation apologize for the disappointment to fans and ticketholders."
Kimbra also tweeted: "so disappointed that we can't continue #thegoldenelectrictour ... we will be back X [sic]." But Monae has remained silent.
Live Nation also said ticket holders "will be contacted by the relevant ticketing outlet to advise of the process for obtaining a refund".
The statement gave no indication of when that might be and no further clarification of Monae's illness or condition, but wished her "a full and speedy recovery".
Monae and the tour promoter have every right not to elaborate, and may still do when the time is right. But the lack of detail around Monae's illness is unprecedented amongst recent cancellations. Artists are usually at pains to explain their absence to fans, either through a spokesperson or via social media, as Lorde did when she cancelled her Australian tour last month and also Frank Ocean when he was unable to appear at last July's Splendour in the Grass festival.
Monae fans have been supportive on social media, sending 'get well soon'-type wishes to the critically-acclaimed singer.
The events leading to Monae's tour cancellation were as mystifying as her illness.
First Monae cancelled her tour opener at Challenge Stadium in Perth last Friday due to a “tight touring schedule”.
She then failed to appear in Melbourne at the Forum Theatre on Saturday despite Kimbra telling the crowd Monae was about to perform. Tickets had also been issued to media.
Thirty minutes after Kimbra left the stage disappointed fans were told by Monae's band she was unwell and unable to perform. They were told they could instead use their tickets at a rescheduled show at the Plenary in Melbourne on May 26, although she was reported to be under doctor’s orders to remain in Melbourne for assessment.
Monae rescheduled her planned Sydney show on Monday at the Hordern Pavilion to the smaller Sydney Opera House concert hall, before cancelling it.
Live Nation also moved her planned Brisbane Convention Centre show to the smaller Tivoli, before that show and the rescheduled Melbourne gig were canned on Tuesday evening, putting an end to a tour that never began for Monae.
Live Nation added that a statement would be issued on Wednesday regarding ticket refunds.