Elton John Announces Retirement From Touring - Rolling Stone
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Elton John Announces Retirement From Touring

70-year-old Hall of Fame musician will say goodbye following three-year ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour

UpdateElton John added more shows to his epic Farewell Yellow Brick Road world tour after the first 60 dates sold out. The additional dates will go on sale February 16th. 

At an emotional New York press conference in January, John announced that he will retire from the road after a lengthy tour. 

“I’m not going to be touring anymore,” he told moderator Anderson Cooper at New York’s Gotham Hall. “I’m not going to be touring and traveling the world. My priorities have changed. I have young children.” Before he finishes, however, he will spend three years on the road saying goodbye to his fans with a 300-date tour he’s dubbed Farewell Yellow Brick Road. “That doesn’t mean I won’t still be creative,” he said. “But I won’t travel any more…I don’t want to go out with a whimper. I want to go out with a bang…It’ll be the most produced, fantastic show I’ve ever done.”

To start the event, organizers handed out virtual reality headsets, with the VR video taking attendees through a five-minute summary of John’s career. John appeared behind a piano to croon “Tiny Dancer” immediately following, with the singer decked out in his trademark glittered suit and sunglasses. From there, John performed a stripped-down version of his 1983 hit “I’m Still Standing.”

Many acts – including Cher, Kiss and Ozzy Osbourne – have launched farewell tours only to return to the road just a few years later. But John insisted this if for real. “I’m not Cher,” he said. The musician did say, however, that after a long break following the conclusion of the tour in 2021, he will continue to write and record. “I’m 71. I can’t physically do the traveling anymore. I want to be at home. I really want to spend time with my children at home. I’ve had an incredible life, but life is all about change.” 

John didn’t rule out the possibility of a future residency like Kate Bush’s 22-night stand at London’s Apollo Hammersmith in 2014. “I haven’t had much time off in my life,” he said. “I definitely want to make a couple more albums, but that will be easy since I can do that at home. I want to see friends. I want to spend time at my house and with my photography collection. I’m really looking forward to this tour and I’m really looking forward to the 300th date.”

The move comes nine months after John contracted a “rare and potentially deadly” bacterial infection in South America that forced him to cancel a series of shows. John spent two days in intensive care and nearly two weeks in the hospital. “I am so fortunate to have the most incredible and loyal fans and apologize for disappointing them,” he said afterwards in a statement. “I am extremely grateful to the medical team for their excellence in looking after me so well.”

The Hall of Fame musician resumed his tour in early June, with his husband/manager David Furnish indicating that John had no plans to stop. “Without question, Elton must never stop performing,” he said. “We all have things that kind of keep us alive in life. Some people relish the idea of a retirement where they do nothing [but] for Elton that would be purgatory. Playing to live audiences is going to be something he always needs to do.”  At Wednesday’s event, however, John dismissed reports earlier in the day that he was retiring because of ill health.

This isn’t the first time that John announced he was stepping away from live performing. “I’ve made a decision tonight that this is going to be the last show,” he told a stunned crowd during a 1977 show in London. “There’s a lot more to me than playing on the road and this is the last one I’m going to do.” He was back performing two years later and continued to tour at a punishing rate. Over the past 20 years, he’s played upwards of 133 shows a year that he balances between his residency at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and arenas and stadiums around the world.

Three years ago, John began discussing finally slowing down to spend more time with his young family. “I’ve had lots of time off with my children, and it’s all got to change now that [my son] Zachary is starting school,” he told Rolling Stone. “I’ve got to be off when half-term comes. And I am planning on cutting down my shows to be with my children, because that’s what I really love.”

October 9 – Long Island, NY @ NYCB LIVE/home of The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Elton John Tour Dates

September 8 – Allentown, PA @ PPL Center
September 11 & 12 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Wells Fargo Center
September 15 – Buffalo, NY @ KeyBank Center
September 16 – University Park, PA @ Bryce Jordan Center
September 19 – Hartford, CT @ XL Center
September 21 & 22 – Washington DC @ Capital One Arena
September 25 & 26 – Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
September 28 – Ottawa, ON @ Canadian Tire Centre
September 29 – Québec City, QC @ Videotron Centre
October 4 – Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre
October 6 – Boston, MA @ TD Garden
October 9 – Long Island, NY @ NYCB LIVE/home of The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
October 10 – Pittsburgh, PA @ PPG Paints Arena
October 12 – Detroit, MI @ Little Caesars Arena
October 15 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Van Andel Arena
October 18 & 19 – New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
October 23 – Louisville, KY @ KFC Yum! Center
October 24 – Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena
October 26 & 27 – Chicago, IL @ United Center
October 30 – St. Louis, MO @ Scottrade Center
November 2 – Columbus, OH @ Schottenstein Center
November 3 – Cleveland, OH @ Quicken Loans Arena
November 6 – Boston, MA @ TD Garden
November 8 – New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
November 23 – Sunrise, FL @ BB&T Center
November 24 – Miami, FL @ AmericanAirlines Arena
November 27 – Orlando, FL @ Amway Center
November 28 – Tampa, FL @ Amalie Arena
November 30 & December 1 – Atlanta, GA @ Philips Arena
December 4 – Birmingham, AL @ Legacy Arena at The BJCC
December 6 – New Orleans, LA @ Smoothie King Center
December 8 & 9 – Houston, TX @ Toyota Center
December 12 – San Antonio, TX @ AT&T Center
December 14 & 15 – Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center
January 11, 2019 – Boise, ID @ Taco Bell Arena
January 12, 2019 – Portland, OR @ Moda Center
January 15, 2019 – Fresno, CA @ Save Mart Center
January 16, 2019 – Sacramento, CA @ Golden1 Center
January 18, 2019 – Oakland, CA @ Oracle Arena
January 19, 2019 – San Jose, CA @ SAP Center at San Jose
January 22 & 23, 2019 – Los Angeles, CA @ STAPLES Center
January 26, 2019 – Glendale, AZ @ Gila River Arena
January 29, 2019 – San Diego, CA @ Valley View Casino Center
February 7, 2019 – Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center
February 9, 2019 – Tulsa, OK @ BOK Center
February 12, 2019 – Omaha, NE @ CenturyLink Center
February 13, 2019 – Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center
February 15, 2019 – Rosemont, IL @ Allstate Arena
February 16, 2019 – Rosemont, IL @ Allstate Arena
February 19, 2019 – Milwaukee, WI @ Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center
February 21, 2019 – Minneapolis, MN @ Target Center
February 22, 2019 – Minneapolis, MN Target Center
February 27, 2019 – Cincinnati, OH @ U.S. Bank Arena
March 1, 2019 – Albany, NY @ Times Union Center
March 2, 2019 – Newark, NJ @ Prudential Center
March 8, 2019 – Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center
March 9, 2019 – Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center
March 12, 2019 – Raleigh, NC @PNC Arena
March 13, 2019 – Columbia, SC @Colonial Life Arena
March 15, 2019 – Jacksonville, FL @ Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena 
March 16, 2019 – Sunrise, FL @ BB&T Center

In This Article: Elton John


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