BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene
(This story was originally posted at 1:31 p.m. Jan. 24, 2018)
NEW YORK – Elton John has decided that his future lies off the yellow brick road of touring — at least in three years.
The megastar announced at a lavish press event at Gotham Hall in New York on Wednesday afternoon that following a three-year world tour that will launch in Pennsylvania in September, he will say goodbye to the road.
John will perform at Philips Arena at 8 p.m. Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Tickets, priced from $59.50-$249.50, will go on sale Feb. 2 via http://www.ticketmaster.com, the venue box office and by calling 1-800-745-3000.
“My priorities have changed in my life. We have children. I’ve had an amazing life, an amazing career, but my life has changed. My priorities now are my children and my husband and my family. I’ve been touring since I was 17 with various bands. I thought the time was right to say thank you to all of my fans around the world and to say goodbye. That doesn’t mean to say I’m not going to be creative, but I’m not going to travel anymore,” John said.
The singer-pianist, 70, and longtime partner David Furnish are parents to sons Elijah and Zachary. John said their children will come on the tour for nine months with a tutor in tow.
“When I say I’m stopping touring, I’m not stopping music. But mostly, I’ll be taking my kid to soccer academy,” he said.
At Wednesday’s event, journalists, and host Anderson Cooper, viewed a spine-tingling virtual reality presentation of John’s career, followed by the stage opening to John, bedecked in a glittery, floral tux, singing “Tiny Dancer” and “I’m Still Standing” alone at his trusty Yamaha grand piano.
“It took about two years to plan today’s event. I wanted to do it in a classy, elegant way. I’m not going to say I’m retiring and then come back for another tour. I’m not Cher!”
John said he will perform 300 dates (“I have to say, Madison Square Garden is my favorite place to play in the whole world — it’s just magic, that place.”) and that it will be the “best production I’ve ever done.”
The costumes will be designed by Gucci.
John, who will perform on the Grammys Sunday with Miley Cyrus, previously announced that his long-running Las Vegas spectacle will end in May. His last Atlanta performances came with a rousing set at Music Midtown in September 2015 and a sold-out Philips Arena show in November 2013.
“I’ve been touring for 48 years,” John said. “It’s a way of saying thank you and a way of going out with a bang. I’m not the sort of guy who’s a whimper-y guy.”
John also briefly detoured to note the recent announcement from Neil Diamond that he will stop touring, effective immediately, due to a diagnosis of Parkinon’s Disease.
During John’s legendary run at the Troubadour in Los Angeles in 1970 – his first U.S. dates – Diamond introduced, and essentially endorsed, John onstage.
“I want to pay my respects,” John said. “I’m going to contact him personally, but I love him and I can’t thank him enough for what he did for me at the start of my career.”