Elton John announced his semi-retirement from touring today with panache and spectacle, exactly as you might have imagined it. He told the audience of press and friends at the Gotham Hall on West 36th and Broadway that this event was planned for two years, beginning in 2015. Seeing his two little sons with David Furnish starting to grow up, he could also see the writing on the wall. When they turn 8 and 10 respectively, in three years, he wants to be home with them.
So AEG tossed this tri- city (NY, with satellite hookups in London and LA) extravaganza at Gotham Hall with Champagne served by servers, an open bar, delicious hors d’ouevres like sliced steak, and goodie bags containing Elton’s greatest hits.
On stage, Anderson Cooper introduced our star, a panel slipped away revealing Sir Elton at a black grand piano dressed in a magnificent silver colored metal and jewel encrusted jacket and sparkling diamond sunglasses. It was Elton at his best. He entertained us with “Tiny Dancer” and “I’m Still Standing,” then took questions from selected press.
“I won’t be like Cher,” he said of that singer’s ongoing farewell tours. “But I do like her clothes!”
This event was clearly for celebration– no farewells here. Elton will play 300 dates on a three year worldwide tour. So that takes us to 2021. After that– well there will still be shows, and Las Vegas type residencies. But really– enough with the city after city business which is too grueling for anyone over 50.
The big scoop: I’m told he’ll do a sit down of at least a week at the Troubadour in West Hollywood. This is where he played six shows beginning August 25, 1970, introduced by Neil Diamond (they were label mates on Uni Records, part of the old MCA Records, now Universal). Elton sent good wishes to Neil, who announced his own withdrawal from touring this week because of Parkinson’s Disease.
The 300 dates start in Pennsylvania. Where will they end? Not in a small town. “I wanted to go out with a bang,” he told us. I do think that will mean a week of shows at Madison Square Garden, something huge, something amazing, and something befitting this beloved and famed performer.