With so many throwback acts on the road for the past few years – Def Leppard, Steve Winwood, Chicago, the Eagles, Ringo Starr, and more – it's easy to get oversaturated by the nostalgia. But, then, Whitney Houston, Dick Clark, Adam Yauch, Donna Summer, and Doc Watson die, and the nostalgia seems all-the-more warranted. Luckily enough, this summer's touring slate is chock full of old-timers come back around; so maybe it's time to take advantage of the opportunities to revel in the glory days one more time ... before it's too late.
Barry Manilow is finally starting to show his age, despite every possible effort to hide it. As Manilow creeps closer to his 69th birthday in June, he's finishing up a spate of tour dates, some of which had been postponed due to the hip surgery he had last December. His recovery took longer than expected, so a number of performances were jiggered about to accommodate his health. This was his second round of such surgery, having had both hips worked on back in 2006.
Sure, Manilow has been slowed a bit by the ravages of time, but he's still a consummate performer. Coming off a two-night stand at Radio City Music Hall last week and headed to the UK next, Manilow responded to the throngs of screaming female voices in the middle of a recent show in Oakland with “Yep, I’ve still got it.”
Neil Diamond turned 71 a few months ago but is still raring to go. The native New Yorker appeared at his first-ever Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade last fall, was among the recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors last winter, and has more than two months worth of tour dates booked for this summer. He also threw in a 23-song collection titled The Very Best of Neil Diamond: The Original Studio Recordings just for good measure.
And, just to show that he's as current as an old man can be, he used Twitter to proclaim,"Look out USA and Canada, here we come again! See you in Summer 2012, this is going to be the big one!"
Jimmy Buffett, who clocks in at only 65, seems downright youthful in this contingent – to the point that, just last week, he filled in for an ailing Eddie Vedder at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. After that, Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band will pick up where they left off on their Lounging at the Lagoon Tour. They recently added more 2012 dates to the trek with shows sprinkled across June, July, and August.
But that's not all Buffett has on his plate. His collaboration with the Zac Brown Band on “Knee Deep” earned him a CMT Music Award for Collaborative Video of the Year; he's made several guest appearances on the new Hawaii Five-O; he did a duet with Lionel Ritchie of “All Night Long” for Ritchie's lastest CD release; and he's opening a casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. That's a lot of working for a fellow well into his retirement years.
Roger Waters, at 68, is getting back to his roots and touring The Wall once again. Rare is the live performance of one of rock music's most iconic pieces. Upon releasing The Wall in 1980, Pink Floyd stage it live only 29 times. When the Berlin Wall fell a decade later, Waters resurrected the opus with a cast of non-Floyd performers. Then, after another two decades, Waters added another 120 notches to The Wall's belt.
That was over the span of 2010-11. In 2012, 69 more performances were being tacked on to take the total over 200 ... in some 32 years. Beginning back in February, Waters took The Wall to Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. The trek runs into mid-July.
Elton John, also weighing in at the 65-year-old mark, has kept mixed company for the past few years of touring escapades. One year, he chose Leon Russell (70) as his partner in crime; the next, it was Billy Joel (62). Regardless of who sits at the piano across the stage from him, Sir Elton's music – and everything else about him – operate outside of time and space. He's a timeless classic that way.
Elton has filled his summer to fall calendar with a run of The Million Dollar Piano at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, nearly two months' worth of performances in Europe, and a bunch of shows in North America.
In the latter category, Elton John plays Jackson, Mississippi, on September 11, followed by a stop in Huntsville, Alabama. A few days later, Sir Elton hits Tampa, Florida, Savannah, Georgia, and Johnson City, Tennessee, all in a row.
The last performance in the Southeast finds Elton John in Wheeling, West Virginia, on September 18. Come October, He's back at the Colosseum for another string of Million Dollar Piano shows.