With yesterday’s announcement that Slayer are doing one last world tour, and today’s dual announcement that Elton John will do the same, and Neil Diamond is done touring because of a Parkinsons diagnosis, it made me wonder what public opinion was on when the right time to “stop” playing live is.
Is it better for a band to retire while they are on top? Or is it better for them to continue until they simply physically can’t anymore?
The Rolling Stones, or even Black Sabbath are great examples. Do you want to see them for the last time while they are at their best, or is it more important to see them for as long as you can?
And, what is the line for being on top versus sliding down the hill? Is it music quality? Is it age? Is it appearance? Is it energy? Is it relevance of the genre? Is it music sales?
Is there a point where it becomes a side show or just plain sad?
My personal opinion is that they should go out while they are on top. Seeing them breathe oxygen off stage, or dance in a fragile way when they once writhed energetically makes me feel sad. However, I know many of them would likely die if they had to stop. Some, well likely it is greed, but certainly for some, it is their life-line.
It seems like it is the rare case where rock/metal musicians who are approaching (or are into) their 70’s can pull off a live show with the intensity and vigor that they once had. There are some exceptions, but it seems that unless it’s a toned down acoustic show or some other iteration of their past (I’m referencing Scorpions’ “Accoustica live in Lisboa,” for instance,) it just doesn’t work.
I wonder what you think.