In a live Vemo broadcast Wednesday morning, the superstar Elton John announced his retirement from touring — with a world tour that’s expected to last three years and touch down in Los Angeles early next year.
The “Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour,” he told interviewer Anderson Cooper at the media event, will be “the best production I’ve ever done.”
Always the consummate showman, John turned the announcement into a buzzed-about affair. On his official website, the multiplatinum hitmaker placed a countdown clock set to expire at 9:30 a.m. Pacific, along with a teaser phrase drawn from one of his most famous songs: “I’ve finally found where my future lies,” a reference to his song and album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”
At just after 9:30 a.m., a live feed with animated versions of John started revealing themselves. An old review from the Los Angeles Times scrolled in the background of John’s seminal string of shows at the Troubadour in 1970 and quoted from then-pop music critic Robert Hilburn’s rave, which John has said changed the trajectory of his career.
Viewers saw a virtual John, in his early 20s, performing in that fabled West Hollywood club. He was also shown at Dodger Stadium during a massive gig a few years later. The video raced through his career before landing live in New York, where a real-life John performed “Tiny Dancer” and “I’m Still Standing.”
Asked by Cooper why now, the 70-year-old musician said that he’s a family man and feels that it’s time.
“My priorities have changed in my life,” he said. “Ten years ago, if you’d said I’m going to stop touring, I would have said, ‘No, no, I’m a working musician.’” But, he added, he and husband David Furnish have children, “and it changed our lives.”
“I don’t want to miss them and I don’t want them to miss me,” John said. “I had a good run.”
Noting that he’s been touring since he was 17, John added that he thought the time was right “to say thank you to all my fans around the world globally — to say goodbye and then have a breather.”
John emphasized that he wasn’t going to stop creating, but he’s not going to travel anymore. He disputed, however, reports that he’s quitting due to health concerns. Acknowledging that last year he got an infection while in South America that “knocked me sideways” for seven weeks, he said, “I’m in great health.”
The news arrives as John i’s winding down his long-running Las Vegas show, “The Million Dollar Piano,” which opened at Caesar’s Palace in 2012 and is set to close in May. John is not the first pop icon to announce a retirement from touring this week: Neil Diamond revealed on Monday he no longer plans to go on the road in light of his recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.
Of John’s impending tour, which will begin in Allentown, Penn., in September and stop at L.A.’s Staples Center on Jan. 22-23, 2019, he added: “It’s going to be the most produced, fantastic show I’ve ever done …. I want to go out with a bang.”