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Touring powerhouses bow out

Neil Diamond, Elton John, Slayer and Spanish legend Joaquín Sabina are all saying goodbye – in Sir Elton's case with a three-year, 300-date farewell extravaganza

By IQ on 25 Jan 2018

Elton John will top the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2023

Promo image for the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour

image © David LaChapelle

In a string of announcements, two of the biggest names in global touring, along with several other veterans of the live scene, have revealed they are to quit touring.

Legendary crooner Neil Diamond – one of the best-selling artists in music history, and still a major live draw, placing no20 on Pollstar’s end-of-year top 100 in 2015, the year of his previous concert tour – announced his retirement on Tuesday after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Commenting after the cancellation of a string of his 50th Anniversary tour dates in Australia and New Zealand, Diamond said: “My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement.”

Alluding to his song ‘Sweet Caroline’, he added: “This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good’, thanks to you.”

Diamond was followed yesterday by 70-year-old Sir Elton John, who announced at a press conference in New York that 2018–2021’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, promoted by AEG Presents, would be his last.

“I’m very much looking forward to closing off that chapter of my life”

“I’ve had an amazing life, amazing career,” he said. “My priorities now are my children, my husband and my family and I’ve been touring since I was 17 with various bands, then as Elton John in 1969, and I thought the time was right to say thank you to all my friends around the world globally and then to say goodbye and just to have a breather.”

“After the tour finishes, I’m very much looking forward to closing off that chapter of my life by saying farewell to life on the road,” he added. “I need to dedicate more time to raising my children.”

The tour kicks off in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on 8 September, and will consist of 300 shows across five continents, visiting North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, South America and Australasia.

Also bowing out are metal pioneers Slayer, who after 37 years are calling a day with a global farewell tour, and Spanish singer-songwriter legend Joaquín Sabina – while Canadian prog-rock heroes Rush have confirmed they quit touring in 2016 and have no plans to return to the road.

“It’s been a little over two years since Rush last toured,” guitarist Alex Lifeson explains to the Globe and Mail. “We have no plans to tour or record any more. We’re basically done. After 41 years, we felt it was enough.”


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