Photo by Andrew Potter
Elton John

Elton John Will Say "Farewell" to South Florida on Thanksgiving Weekend

Music legend Elton John announced yesterday in a surprise press conference that he'll retire from touring after a three-year "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour around the world. John, whose career spans more than half a century and over 30 albums, will take one last victory lap in South Florida with a pair of shows at the BB&T Center and American Airlines Arena over Thanksgiving weekend. He'll also play two more Florida shows, in Orlando and Tampa, the week after the holiday and end the tour in Jacksonville in March 2019.

Though John was hospitalized last year after falling gravely ill with a bacterial infection on tour, he insists his impending retirement has nothing to do with his health. "If you’re up to do 300 shows, you’re not in ill health. You’re in great health," he said to press conference moderator Anderson Cooper. "Listen, last year I picked up an infection in America and I was very ill for seven weeks and it knocked me sideways, but I still did 96 shows last year.”

Instead, John, 70, says he's retiring to spend more time at home with his husband David Furnish and their two sons. "David and I sat down with a school schedule, and I thought, I don’t want to miss too much of this... When I stop, they’re going to be 10 and 8, and that’s a very important time of their lives... I don’t want to miss them and I don’t want them to miss me.”

Elton John's announcement comes just days after singer-songwriter Neil Diamond announced his immediate retirement following a Parkinson's diagnosis, and in October classic rocker Tom Petty died suddenly of cardiac arrest just one week after wrapping his 40th-anniversary tour with his band the Heartbreakers. Petty had planned to slow down after the tour to spend more time with his family.

The original Rocketman isn't hanging up his glittered suits entirely, though. John says he plans to continue making albums and writing musicals during retirement, and he doesn't completely rule out short show runs or residencies in the future. But when it comes to extensive tours, this really is it. "I'm not Cher," he said, citing the most famous example of an artist who's hit the road on her farewell tour a few times.

Tickets for both South Florida shows go on sale to the general public next Friday, February 2, at 10 a.m. American Express, fan club, and venue presales go on sale this morning at 8 a.m. and continue through Thursday, February 1.

Here's the full U.S. tour schedule:

Elton John. 8 p.m. Friday, November 23, at BB&T Center, 1 Panther Pkwy., Sunrise; 954-835-7000; thebbtcenter.com. Tickets cost $55 to $245 via ticketmaster.com.

8 p.m. Saturday, November 24, at AmericanAirlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 786-777-1000; aaarena.com. Tickets cost $55 to $245 via ticketmaster.com.

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