All good things come to an end – just ask Elton John, who wrapped up his long and illustrious career as a touring artist in July 2023, playing his last-ever gig in Stockholm, Sweden. He’s not the only musician stepping back from the road this year – a host of fellow rock icons have announced their retirement. There are two caveats: the is that some are only retiring from touring, rather than ceasing to exist as a band, while the second is that musicians often do change their minds (we’re looking at you, Mötley Crüe, with your so-called ‘Cessation Of Touring’ contract). But here are nine bands who are definitely saying goodbye in 2023, so make sure you get your tickets before they disappear from the stage for good.
Announced way back in 2019, Kiss’ End Of The Road tour is finally reaching, well, the end of the road. Granted, they’ve already said they were retiring from touring once before – in 2000 the original line-up embarked on the seemingly definitive The Farewell Tour – but this time it’s for real. “At some point, you’ve got to have some dignity and pride and quit while the gettin’s good,” Gene Simmons recently told Classic Rock. The tour, and their career as a live band wraps up, appropriately enough, with two hometown shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden on December 1 and 2, 2023.
The country rock superstars’ original and very acrimonious break-up in 1980 seemed pretty definitive, only for them to reconvene 14 years later with the winkingly-titled Hell Freezes Over live album. Since then the Eagles have endured lawsuits from aggrieved former members and the death of founder and guitarist Glenn Frey in 2016. But now they’ve decided enough is enough and are officially wrapping up their final tour this Fall, with a show in Saint Paul, Minnesota, because that’s where every band so significantly tied up with the mythology of California should take their final bow.
This one’s done and dusted. On July 16, 2023, the most successful of the Grateful Dead offshoots played their third and allegedly final show in their hometown of San Francisco. The three-night stand drew 120,000 rapturous Deadheads – perhaps even a few still riding out the brown acid from Woodstock. Significantly diminishing the air of finality around the final show, guitarist (and non-canon Grateful Dead member) John Mayer tweeted that Dead & Company “is still a band — we just don’t know what the next show will be.”
A slight fudge, this one, given that Aerosmith’s Peace Out tour finishes in January 2024, but what’s a month between friends? Still, after 50-odd years of drugs, bust-ups, rehab and killer grade rock’n’roll, the Bad Boys From Boston are finally hanging up their scarves with a gig in Montreal. ‘What about their hometown?’ you ask. New Year’s Eve, thank you very much. The only downside is that original drummer Joey Kramer won’t be taking his bows with them - he’s absent from the tour.
Sometime in the late 70s or early 80s, a silent, high-level agreement was seemingly reached that compelled every radio station on the planet to play at least one Foreigner song per hour. It’s carried the AOR godfathers through to today, even if guitarist Mick Jones is the only remaining original member – and he rarely appears with them live these days due to health issues. But the time has finally come to wind everything the grandly-named Historic Final Tour, which ends in Holmdel, New Jersey. Will original singer Lou Gramm join them? We can but hope.
In March, the 75-year-old Loggins announced his bluntly titled This Is It farewell tour, though he assuaged weeping yacht rock fans everywhere by adding that he was only done with “major touring” rather than hanging up his beard trimmer for good. The tour winds up in Santa Barbara in November, though given his pedigree as both a member of Loggins & Messina and as a solo artist, he’s got a hell of a set list to draw on. “I’ll be playing songs that I feel sum up the emotional story of my music. This will include 90 percent of the hits and 10 or so percent of the deeper cuts.”
George Clinton and his multi-headed P-Funk collective revolutionised both funk and rock in the 70s, and he hasn’t stopped since. Until now, that is - P-Funk’s Just For The Funk Of It! Final Tour?!? is set to end in December in San Antonio. The 82-year-old announced back in 2018 that he had played his final show with P-Funk, so he’s come out retirement to retire. And the question marks in the tour’s name kind of leave the door open should he wish to don the star-shaped sunglasses and Bacofoil cape one more time in the future.
Most bands wait until they’re at least in their 70s before they bid adieu, but Candlebox frontman Kevin Martin is a mere stripling at 54. Still, he’s decided to call time on the band he co-founded in Seattle in the early 1990s with a farewell tour that will mark both the 30th anniversary of their self-titled debut album and the release of this year’s aptly-titled swansong LP The Long Goodbye (which also gives its name to this tour). “My music career had become so encompassing of my time… that I realized that I had not given my family what they actually needed from me, which was me,” he recently told DJ Eddie Trunk.
The Georgia new wave icons actually called in quits with a farewell tour in August 2022, but it seems that you can’t keep a good band down and they’re back for one last set of dates in the shape of a Vegas residency, which runs through to September and fill be followed by one (allegedly) honest-to-god last show in Huntington Beach, California in November.