Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The art of the "farewell" tour.

There is a trend in music the last few months.  Artists retiring from touring.  Without a ton of looking in to it Elton John will do a three year “final tour”.  More on that in a second.  Neil Diamond suddenly stopped due to health issues.  Joan Baez, Paul Simon, Kenny Rodgers and Slayer have all said “we are done” after their respective runs.

First lets cast off any thoughts you have on the artists mentioned.  What I mean is, I don’t care if you don’t like xyz.  That is really not the point.  Another reaction might be “thank god”.  Again, not really the point.

Of all the bands mentioned there I have not seem them live and I am not sure I “need” to.  Honestly I’d sit through any of them with Slayer, Simon and Rodgers being my top picks.

Lets start with announcing the farewell tour.  We as consumers have all been burned.  We are looking at you “The Who” as suspects #1.  Some of the artist have said “our last formal tour” still leaving room for one off shows here and there.

As a fan of music this seems to make the most sense.  Sure I get it, years on the road take their toll.  Health, wanting to be near family are the big things you hear with these artists saying its time to slow down.  Face it, none of these artists are staying in a Motel 6 and driving a van with 200K miles on it.

Look at what Springsteen has done on Broadway, or Billy Joel doing a series of shows per month in NYC not far from his home.  It would be like a long work day for the average person.  Get up, drive to the venue, sound check, eat, do the show, hang out for a bit then head home. In your bed, seeing your kids off to school the following morning its all very appealing I am sure.

Elton doing the long run I have to applaud.  Again, just going off memory he is pretty much playing most of the places you’d expect.  US, Euro, Australia etc.  Probably South America too.  It seems silly to take three years to do this, but he is doing it at his own pace and when you think about it it’s sort of cool.  Not only that he can..but he can still “ease” in to it.

As a fan of all genres of music it’s not hard to see the up and coming bands doing their thing.  Load in, play, load out, drive.  Rinse lather repeat 200+ times a year…for 45/60 minute sets.  That has to be very difficult.  Even if you look at pop acts, they might have a tour bus right out of the gate and play radio shows (again 45/60 minute sets) they still have high level of burnout.  The older I get the more I applaud what goes on OFF stage as much as on stage.  Again, for the bands that are doing tours on their own, with a van and one friend helping.  Let’s face it most bands probably have part time jobs on the side, struggle to get time off to tour, have a fan that was already pretty tired before the tour began and they try to jam a bunch of shows in over a two week period.

I exchanged an email with a band that resides outside of Chicago a few years ago.  Fell in love with their record and wrote “will you be coming out east?” and I got a nice response but it wasn’t anything like I expected.  It basically said “we work full time jobs, we all took our allotment of vacation time and this is what we can do for now, sorry we can’t come your way”.

Making music and playing music is HARD.

If you have a chance get to the big “final” shows but make it a point to catch a new band, or arrive early for a support band.  There is just so much out there you HAVE to find something you’ll dig!


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