Country Farewell Tours: How Well Do They Stick?
Wednesday's noontime announcement by Country Music Hall of Famer George Strait that he would retire from the road after his 2013-14 "The Cowboy Rides Away" farewell tour hit Rocks Off harder than it should have. True, he's 60, has a ranch and grandchildren, and has earned his golden years many, many times over. But we always thought he'd be around, and the idea that next March at Reliant Stadium could be the final time he plays Houston is more than a little unsettling. That's not that far away.
However, these "farewell tour" announcements should always be taken with a grain of salt, especially in the world of country music. Rocks Off did some digging to see how some other high-profile "The Cowboy Rides Away"-style tours turned out, and if we learned one thing, it's that they take forever. Hell, I might be retired by the time King George is.
OK... probably not.
Farewell Tour: Mama Naomi Judd's 1991 announcment that she had been diagnosed with Hepatitis C touched off the first big country farewell tour that we can remember, one that visited the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo that year and again in 2000 after Naomi went into remission. They came back one more time to Nutty Jerry's in August 2011, where daughter Wynonna told the crowd, "I have two teenagers at home now, so I went on tour with my mother to relax."
How Did It Take? This last one appears to have held, to the point that there is no dedicated Judds Web site, just www.wynonna.com. Naomi is now an actress and motivational speaker.
BROOKS & DUNN
Farewell Tour: "The Last Rodeo," 2010
How Did It Take? Holding so far. The duo that dominated country music in the '90s and '00s announced their "The Last Rodeo" tour in December 2009 (which included one final RodeoHouston stop), and the cows didn't come home until after a September 2010 concert at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena. Both have since released solo albums for Arista Nashville, and Dunn appears to have the upper hand because "Bleed Red" made it to No. 10 on the country charts in 2011; Brooks' "Bring It On Home" only reached No. 56 earlier this year.