Piet Levy Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Published 9:48 AM EST Jan 21, 2019
When Ozzy Osbourne returned to the road three years after calling it quits, he had a perfect name for the tour: “Retirement Sucks.”
Yeah, we get it. If we made millions playing for thousands of screaming fans night after night, we might struggle to give that up too.
Cher did a farewell tour once. And the Who. And KISS. And they’re all touring again in 2019 — although KISS swears this farewell tour really is their farewell tour.
And KISS is hardly alone, announcing their “End of the Road Tour” when we’re seeing more goodbye runs than ever before — including another one from Osbourne.
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So will all these retiring artists really quit the road forever?
Here’s a look at seven acts who are on or have recently wrapped final tours, and our best guess for which farewells are legit, and which ones are fake-outs.
The old-time rocker, and “Old Time Rock and Roll” hit-maker, said he’s done with the road at the end of his current tour this spring, after scrapping some shows in 2017 when he suffered a ruptured disc and had to have emergency spinal surgery. He’s long talked about retirement and given his age (73) and health issues, we suspect this farewell’s legit.
Local Date: Jan. 24, Fiserv Forum
John’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour is stretching a long time — through 2021 — with more than 300 shows on five continents. He’s long been a road warrior, but that is quite a commitment for a man who’ll be either 73 or 74 when it finally ends, and he wants to spend more time with his kids, who are currently 6 and 8. Our guess is he’ll do just that, and this farewell is legit — although we also think it’s highly likely he’ll be doing loads of Vegas shows after “Road” reaches its conclusion.
Local Date: Feb. 19, Fiserv Forum
KISS calling it quits? You’re kidding, right? Bear in mind they did a farewell tour back in 2000, only to tour again in 2003. Sure, Gene Simmons is 69 now, and yeah, there’s more physical demand on them compared with John at the piano. But interviews show Simmons and frontman Paul Stanley still have healthy egos, and this is a band that clearly loves making money, as extensive merchandising for its loving fan base has long shown. Our verdict: This farewell’s a fake-out, although the touring likely slow down after the current “End of the Road” run wraps.
Wisconsin Date: March 1, Fiserv Forum
Osbourne himself downplayed the alleged finality of ”No More Tours II” when he announced the second solo farewell run of his career this year. While Osbourne said he doesn’t have another world tour in him after this one, he promised he’d “still be doing gigs.” Expect to see some one-off Ozzfests and festival headlining gigs, but we also suspect the 70-year-old Osbourne still has a little actual touring left in him. We’re guessing this farewell is a fake-out.
Wisconsin Date: July 4, American Family Insurance Amphitheater, Summerfest
The band behind “Free Bird” should have a lot more free time on their hands after their “Last of the Street Survivors Tour” (which played a sold-out Resch Center in Green Bay in October) ends in England this June. Maybe it’s just us, but England just doesn’t seem like the proper place for Skynyrd to say “cheerio.” (Wouldn’t a farewell work better in, we dunno, ALABAMA?) Besides, guitarist Gary Rossington is the only original member left, anyway. Honestly, the hits are still so beloved, this is a band that can still do decent touring business without an original member, which is why we’re thinking this farewell’s a fake-out.
The country legend finally knew when to fold ’em, going on “The Gambler’s Last Deal” tour that brought him to the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee in 2017. The tour ended earlier than expected last year due to some health issues, and Rogers was noticeably struggling even a few years prior at the Wisconsin State Fair. We suspect sadly that Rogers’ farewell tour was legit, but he no doubt has left behind a one-of-a-kind legacy.
Suspecting fans would be skeptical when they announced their final tour in 2014 (which hit Madison, Green Bay, and Milwaukee twice before ending New Year’s Eve 2015), the guys in Motley Crue went so far as to sign a “cessation of touring” contract that reportedly would keep the band from ever touring again. Of course, no one outside the band’s inner circle got a really close look at the details of the contract, and the guys are all younger than most farewell artists these days (drummer Tommy Lee, for one, is only 56). And coming soon to Netflix, we’ll be seeing “The Dirt,” based on the acclaimed tell-all book documenting the band’s hedonistic early days, which will spark renewed interest from old fans and new admirers alike. Contract be damned, we suspect the band’s alleged final tour was a fake-out.
More on music
Piet Levy talks about concerts, local music and more on “TAP’d In” with Jordan Lee, 8 a.m. Thursdays on WYMS-FM (88.9). Follow him on Twitter @pietlevy and on Facebook at facebook.com/PietLevyMJS.
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