The Year in Music 2023: Rockers say goodbye to the road

Life of a touring musician isn’t easy, which is why it isn’t surprising that after years of touring, several artists either gave up, or cut back, on the road in 2023.

– While Elton John announced he was retiring from the road back in 2018, his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour didn’t come to an end until July 8 in Stockholm, Sweden. The final leg featured a historic headlining set at England’s Glastonbury Festival. By the time the tour was over, it had grossed almost $940 million from 328 shows, making it the highest grossing tour of all time — until Taylor Swift broke his record a few months later.

– Although their goodbye to the road has been three years in the making, KISS finally played their last two shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden on December 1 and 2. But the band isn’t going away completely: They wrapped the final night by introducing fans to their KISS avatars, suggesting an ABBA-like hologram tour in the future.

– In May, Aerosmith announced they, too, were ready to hang it up, revealing dates for their Peace Out tour. The tour kicked off September 2 in Philadelphia, but after playing only a handful of dates, it was put on hold after frontman Steven Tyler fractured his larynx. The tour is supposed to resume in 2024.

– In 2022, Dead & Company revealed their 2023 summer tour would be their final trek, with the tour kicking off May 19 and 20 at the Kia Forum near Los Angeles. The trek featured an appearance at New Orleans’ Jazzfest and wrapped with a triumphant two-night stand at Oracle Park in San Francisco, California.

– Another veteran rock act plotting its final touring days are the Eagles, who in July announced dates for The Long Goodbye farewell tour. They initially announced a run of 13 shows, but have gone on to expand the trek into 2024. All shows were scheduled to have Steely Dan as opener, but they were replaced on several dates due to frontman Donald Fagen’s health.

– Although he’s not saying goodbye to the road completely, Billy Joel decided to end his New York residency at Madison Square Garden, which launched in January 2014. The rocker revealed in June he would end the residency on what will be his 150th lifetime show at MSG. The final concert is set to happen July 25. 

– Another rocker who’s wrapping up a residency is Rod Stewart, who after 13 years announced the final dates for his Las Vegas show, Rod Stewart – The Hits, at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. The final show is set for August 7 and will be the 200th Rod has played at the venue.

– One band that isn’t saying goodbye to the road, despite losing their last original member, is Lynyrd Skynyrd. Following guitarist Gary Rossington’s March death, the rockers decided they would go on, insisting that is what Gary would have wanted. They went on tour with ZZ Top over the summer, with another leg of the co-headlining tour scheduled for next year.

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