Fans have one last chance to catch Paul Simon on tour before he retires from the music scene. The singer/songwriter revealed last week that he was doing a farewell performance at London’s Hyde Park on July 15 with James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt. He has since announced his last and final tour.
“I’ve often wondered what it would feel like to reach the point where I’d consider bringing my performing career to a natural end,” Simon said in a statement on his website. “Now I know: it feels a little unsettling, a touch exhilarating, and something of a relief.”
Simon, 76, noted that he’s not experiencing any physical problems; however, he is getting tired of travelling and has less ambition following the recent death of his longtime lead guitarist Vincent N’guini.
“I love making music, my voice is still strong, and my band is a tight, extraordinary group of gifted musicians,” Simon explained. “I think about music constantly.
“Sadly, we lost our lead guitarist and my friend of 30 years, Vincent N’guini, who died last December. His loss is not the only reason I’ve decided to stop touring, but it is a contributing factor. Mostly, though, I feel the travel and time away from my wife and family takes a toll that detracts from the joy of playing.”
Simon also gave a shout out to all his fans, who have supported him for half a century: “I’d like to leave with a big Thank You to the many folks around the world who’ve come out to watch me play over the last 50 years.”
Simon added that he’s not hanging up his guitar permanently: “After this coming tour, I anticipate doing the occasional performance in a (hopefully) acoustically pristine hall, and to donate those earnings to various philanthropic organizations, particularly those whose objective is to save the planet, ecologically.
“Once again, I am very grateful for a fulfilling career and, of course, most of all to the audiences who heard something in my music that touched their hearts.”
Simon’s final tour includes three Canadian dates: May 16 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC; June 12 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, ON; and June 13 at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC. Additional tour details can be found here.