Elton John’s farewell tour has been going on longer than the entire career of some musicians. I’ve been a fan of ol’ Reggie since I was four years old, but I didn’t attend any of these shows. He’s awful. He’s been awful for decades. But how can I miss you if you won’t go away?
Not all rockers employ the long goodbye approach. Many more of them seem to quit and then come back, like Guy Lafleur, Mermaid Man or Rocky Balboa.
Back in 2012, the lord of this website wrote about the farewell tour by Judas Priest for the Sun chain of newspapers. Priest even called the tour Epitaph. But by the time Darryl Sterdan talked to lead singer Rob Halford about that, the band of 60-somethings had already changed their collective mind about retiring. In fact, two years later they did the Redeemer of Souls Tour. Three years after that, the Firepower World Tour. Three years after that, the Fifty Heavy Metal Years Tour. Each of these tours lasted more than a year.
What does Halford care, he’s making serious hay. Back in 2012 he told Sterdan he was enjoying getting seniors’ discounts on his Grand Slams at Denny’s. I guess when you’re living after midnight, an all-day breakfast is essential.
The Scorpions also swore up and down to Sterdan in 2011 that their Get Your Sting and Blackout World Tour was their last. But, they’re currently in the middle of their Rock Believer Tour, having completed the 16-month Rock ‘n’ Roll Forever Tour in 2014, the year-long 50th Anniversary World Tour in 2016, and the three-year Crazy World Tour in 2020.
KISS promised to bugger off ages ago, but are now on what they call the Final Tour Ever, End Of The Road World Tour. FYI, the VIP packages are $3,500 US. This tour was announced in 2018, started in 2019 and was interrupted by the pandemic — but it’s still happening and ongoing. There are 12 legs to the tour — that’s four more than the band members themselves. Well, actually, they might say it’s exactly the same number. The massive, 227-show tour was supposed to end this July in Norway, but may continue well into 2024 by the time all the postponed dates are made up for. Five years after it started.
But get this — back in March 2000, KISS started what was supposed to be their farewell tour. Indeed the Farewell Tour as it was called, hit North America, Australia and Japan. A year after the tour, the band decided not to pack it in after all. Having reunited the original members for the previous Psycho Circus Tour in ’98-’99, drummer Peter Criss was only employed for the North American portion of the Farewell tour. Lead guitarist Ace Frehley left after the tour ended. With the pair of troublesome members gone, band founders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley decided to make a new album with Criss and Frehley’s replacements, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer. This foursome are still at it.
ABBA stayed gone from 1982 to 2016, when they first returned as ABBAtars — life-like electronic versions of themselves. The following year there were more appearances and they started recording together in 2018. Delayed by the pandemic, their first album in 40 years — Voyage — was released in November 2021. Rather than touring, the material is performed by the Abbatars at a concert residency at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park until 2024.
I recently wrote about Ozzy Osbourne’s decision to quit touring — but not quit recording or performing — due to health issues. But, I completely forgot he actually did this back in 1991 as well. Anyone remember the No More Tours Tour? It’s because he was misdiagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I’ve actually seen him in concert twice since then. He even went on the amazingly titled No More Tours 2 tour in 2018.
The Who famously wrapped up their so-called Farewell Tour with a televised concert from Toronto in 1982. To their credit, they stayed off the road for seven years after that. Which is more than you can say for Mötley Crüe, who made a big show of signing a “Cessation of Touring” agreement in 2014 — then tore it up in 2019 and hit the road again.
Barbara Streisand promises to retire every couple of days. This started 23 years ago, but she’s been doing shows ever since. I honestly hadn’t noticed and likely never would. Trent Reznor did a Nine Inch Nails Wave Goodbye tour in 2008, but has toured twice since then. New country superstar Garth Brooks did that alter-ego Chris Gaines album in 1999 and then retired for four years in 2001. I think it’s time for another alter-ego, perhaps Poco the Clown from Mr. Dressup.
But perhaps the most prolific retirement belongs to Jay-Z, who announced his departure all the way back after 2003’s The Black Album. Since then he’s put out five of his own albums, four collabs, a live album, two mixtapes, a compilation and 16 tours — five as headliner. Oh, and he became president of Def Jam for a few years, signing some person called Rhianna, and then started his own entertainment agency Roc Nation. He has a line of champagne, a magazine, a chain of clubs, a music school, a brand of cigars and a cannabis company.
With all that time on his hands, he also married Beyonce, with whom he’s had three kids — including twins.
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Area Resident is an Ottawa-based journalist, recording artist, music collector and re-seller. Hear (and buy) his music on Bandcamp, email him HERE, follow him on Instagram and check him out on Discogs.