American rapper 50 Cent recently announced that 2023 will be the last time he ever tours.
This made us think about other notable farewell tours in history, and more importantly, why these creators made the decision to retire.
“The End” – Black Sabbath (2016-2017)
Black Sabbath was an English heavy metal band. The original cast included Tony Iommi, Bill Ward, Geezer Butler, and Ozzy Osbourne. This group didn’t start the heavy metal genre, but they were pioneers in its success.
The band was first created in 1969 and throughout their career, artists joined and departed from the group. However, the essence of the music always stays the same – horror-inspired lyrics, a “fight the man” mentality, and embracing the weird.
The pioneers of heavy metal ended on a high note with a tour that spanned two years and several continents.
The band created their farewell tour after Iommi was diagnosed with cancer. His diagnosis was given in 2012, and although he is in remission, the physical toll meant that tours are no longer an option.
The team hopes to continue making music with less intensity.
“The Last Domino? Tour” – Genesis (2021-2022)
The English rock band Genesis took on their final tour after a 13-year break. This ended their 55-year career and featured an emotional farewell.
The reason for this farewell comes from a lack of new success. The band’s main fans are not young anymore, so their tours have not been lucrative.
“One More For The Fans” – Lynyrd Skynyrd (2018-2022)
A tribute to the fans, this tour took the band back to their roots. Originally Lynyrd Skynyrd wanted to retire completely, but the COVID pandemic gave them a taste of retirement and showed them they weren’t ready yet. Instead, they hope to continue making music, but through a more “selective” distribution process.
“End of the Road World Tour” – KISS (2019-2021)
The legendary rock band left no stone unturned in this explosive farewell tour. The pandemic forced them to cancel some events, but through rescheduling, they wanted to ensure all fans had a chance to see them one last time.
They admitted their retirement was out of self-respect. Allowing their legacy to continue untainted by their aging ailments.
“Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead” – The Grateful Dead (2015)
The band’s last-ever performance was a nostalgic nod to their five-decade-long journey.
Their final tour was completely down to Pigpen’s deteriorated health. The band wanted to respect his illness and retire instead of playing without him.
“Homeward Bound – The Farewell Tour” – Paul Simon (2018)
Simon’s poignant farewell tour was a celebration of his rich musical legacy. His emotional final show in Queens gave us a glimpse of how much he cares for his fans.
His reason for retirement is solely based on the weariness of travel at his age.
“Not In This Lifetime…” – Guns N’ Roses (2016-2019)
This tour saw the classic lineup reunite for one last time, making it one of the most successful tours in history. It grossed $584.2 million and sold 5.37 million tickets – a record!
The reason for the tour came from tension between Axl Rose and the other bandmates.
“Farewell Yellow Brick Road” Elton John (2018-2023)
The pandemic meant that tour dates had to be rescheduled multiple times, but the tour is set to finish in July this year. Elton is expected to make $817.9 million once all 278 shows have been completed.
This tour comes as Elton wants to spend more time with his husband and children.
“The Cowboy Rides Away Tour” – George Strait (2013-2014)
Country music’s beloved artist waved goodbye in this heartwarming tour. His retirement came as no surprise, as Strait has always talked about leaving the stage behind and that 60 years old was his limit.
“The Rhapsody Tour” – Queen + Adam Lambert (2019-2021)
This tour was a tribute to Queen’s legacy, featuring Adam Lambert on vocals. Instead of a “final tour,” this was more of a “let’s do it again” tour. Queen hadn’t been touring for years and this last hurrah was a way to reconnect with their fans one last time.
We spoke to John Smith from StarTickets.com about how these final tours affect sales expectations.
He shared “Farewell tours tell fans that this is the last time you can see your favorite musicians. It kicks you into actively joining in with the community.
As you can expect, this bumps up the revenue and prices for tickets. However, you want to complete your farewell tour while you’re still on top. Otherwise, the fanfare will have died down with your aging fan group or lack of interest.
Musicians have to balance their desires to continue with their ongoing success.”
Although this is a bleak outlook. It’s understandable why bands like KISS have more than one farewell tour. They said goodbye too early!