For five decades, Baby Boomer musicians have been hitting the highway, delivering the sounds of a generation to arenas across the country. While some aging artists seem committed to never coming off the road and likely kicking the bucket on stage (ahem, Bob Dylan's Never Ending Tour), several music icons have declared 2018 as the year to put their tour bus out to pasture. In January, Neil Diamond announced that he would no longer tour after being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, promising to continue studio work and thanking his fans for making his career "so good, so good, so good." Other musicians are taking one last victory lap before settling into retirement, and five of the biggest names have already confirmed stops in Denver on the way out.
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre
"Showbiz doesn't hold any interest for me," Paul Simon told the New York Times in June 2016, and now he is officially wrapping up the part of his career that involves live performance. The 76-year-old Graceland singer-songwriter has embarked on "Homeward Bound - The Farewell Tour," which he describes as bringing his long career to "its natural end" — and proves wrong those who thought he would never quit, including Westword.
Saturday, August 18, 2018
Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre
Thrash-metal band Slayer has stayed active and relevant for nearly forty years, but even its end has been a long time coming. In 2016, singer-bassist Tom Araya said it was "time to collect my pension. ... It just gets harder and harder to come back out on the road" (Loudwire via Blabbermouth). There are no plans to release a new album before the disbandment.
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Ozzy Osbourne took his band Black Sabbath on the road for one last death march in 2016 and 2017. Now the 69-year-old heavy-metal singer will tour solo for the last time, "celebrating five decades of the Prince of Darkness...Live!" Since Osbourne already completed a "No More Tours" Tour — in 1992! — this one is called "No More Tours 2," and will keep him circling the globe until 2020.
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Over sixty years of performing and more than thirty albums, Joan Baez has rarely backed away from a fight or turned from a spotlight. But the singer-songwriter and activist has announced that her "Fare Thee Well Tour" will conclude the "formal touring" part of her career. The tour is in support of latest album Whistle Down the Wind (her first since 2008), which includes covers of songs by Anohni, Josh Ritter, Tom Waits and others. Age has limited her upper range, but Baez doesn't plan to stop moving, whether in art or activism.
February 6 and 7, 2019
Elton John has been known as one of the most dynamic pop performers in the world — since 1967. Now the seventy-year-old piano man has launched the three-year-long "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour, which will send him on a jaunt around the world. "Performing live fuels me," John said in a statement, adding that he's also "looking forward to closing off that chapter of my life." After retiring from touring, he plans to spend more time with his two young sons.
Three more artists whose 2018 retirement tours should come to Denver:
Anita Baker, the influential singer-songwriter of R&B, soul, jazz and more, just headlined the 2018 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, but she's also been hinting at a longer stretch of shows. The Grammy-winning Baker has sent mixed messages to her fans: She tweeted last year that she was #Retired, but more recently announced that she wanted to celebrate her sixtieth birthday with audiences around the country. No official tour dates have been released yet, but we think she should deliver that "Sweet Love" to Denver.
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In 2015, legendary singer Aretha Franklin brought down the goddamn roof at the Kennedy Center Honors, leaving zero doubt that she not only had it, but she had more of it in her pinky finger than any contemporary performer (except possibly Beyoncé). The 75-year-old musician announced she would retire at the end of last year, but still scheduled concerts at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and in Newark — which she had to cancel on doctor's orders. In her retirement, Franklin plans to open a nightclub to bring other legends to her home town of Detroit, where she will likely also perform. Still, if Franklin has a few more one-off show-stopping performances left, we hope that one of them happens in Denver.
Lynyrd Skynyrd survived as a band longer than anyone might have expected after the 1977 plane crash that killed three members, including frontman Ronnie Van Zant. But the musicians weathered the storm, carrying on and expanding its legacy as a preeminent Southern rock band. The group kicked off its Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour in early May, though sole surviving original member Gary Rossington says the band is "just winding it down a little bit." Lynyrd Skynyrd has come through Denver the past two summers, playing Hudson Gardens and Fiddler's Green, so why skip the Mile High City, where the skies are so blue?