At an emotional New York press conference Wednesday, Elton John announced that he will retire from the road after a lengthy farewell tour.
“I’m not going to be touring anymore,” he told moderator Anderson Cooper at New York’s Gotham Hall. “I’m not going to be touring and traveling the world. My priorities have changed. I have young children.” Before he finishes, however, he will spend three years on the road saying goodbye to his fans with a 300-date tour he’s dubbed Farewell Yellow Brick Road. “That doesn’t mean I won’t still be creative,” he said. “But I won’t travel anymore…I don’t want to go out with a whimper. I want to go out with a bang…It’ll be the most produced, fantastic show I’ve ever done.”
To start the event, organizers handed out virtual reality headsets, with the VR video taking attendees through a five-minute summary of John’s career. John appeared behind a piano to croon “Tiny Dancer” immediately following; the singer decked out in trademark glittered suit and sunglasses. From there, John performed a stripped-down version of his 1983 hit “I’m Still Standing.”
Many acts – including Cher, Kiss and Ozzy Osbourne – have launched farewell tours only to return to the road just a few years later. But Elton insisted this if for real. “I’m not Cher,” he said. He did say that after a long break following the conclusion of the tour in 2021 he will continue to write and record. “I’m 71. I can’t physically do the traveling anymore. I want to be at home. I really want to spend time with my children at home. I’ve had an incredible life, but life is all about change.”
He didn’t rule out the possibility of a future residency like Kate Bush’s 22-night stand at London’s Apollo Hammersmith in 2014. “I haven’t had much time off in my life,” he said. “I definitely want to make a couple more albums, but that will be easy since I can do that at home. I want to see friends. I want to spend time at my house and with my photography collection. I’m really looking forward to this tour and I’m really looking forward to the 300th date.”