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Elton John’s farewell tour went on and on, and part of that wasn’t his fault.
He happened to announce his final tour before a global pandemic shut down much of the western world. A maddening hip injury also delayed his sonic swan song. He finally wrapped the U.S. leg of his tour late last year, unofficially saying goodbye to the country’s yellow brick roadways.
You couldn’t blame the 76-year-old legend, who spent decades touring on behalf of his iconic songbook. Here’s what he said at the start of the farewell swing.
“After the tour finishes, I’m very much looking forward to closing off that chapter of my life by saying farewell to life on the road. I need to dedicate more time to raising my children.”Elton John
He wouldn’t be the first singer to renege on a farewell tour promise. The Who, KISS, Motley Crue and more have vowed to quit the road before changing their minds. The Eagles, who once toured under the “Hell Freezes Over” moniker, just announced their final farewell tour. And, given their respective ages, they may actually mean it.
John’s road retirement may not last, but he’s certain he won’t play as much as a residency in the States moving forward. Why? He cites the new, “disgraceful” hate aimed at the LGBTQ+ community coursing through America’s veins.
“It’s all going pear-shaped in America … there’s violence, [discriminatory] laws enacted in Florida, which are disgraceful. There’s a law now that if you visit a doctor in Florida, they can refuse to treat you if you’re gay, which I find just unbelievable. We seem to be going backwards. And that spreads. It’s like a virus that the LGBTQ+ movement is suffering.”Elton John
He’s clearly conflating laws meant to protect children from life-altering surgery with the broader gay rights movement. In doing so, he’s following the media’s fuzzy narratives on the issues, meant to distract from the laws in question.
The same holds true for the false “don’t say gay” narrative describing Florida legislating protecting small children from sexually suggestive materials in the classroom. Gay activists pounced and seized on that false narrative with cover from mainstream journalists.
Elton John Is Ignoring His Own Past
There’s another problem with John’s heartfelt stance.
The “Piano Man” is no stranger to playing in countries with terrible laws aimed at gay citizens. And he didn’t make a fuss about it at the time or refuse to hit a single key until said laws were stricken from the books.
John performed at a benefit concert in Dubai in 2017, no. 8 on Forbes’ list of most dangerous places for gay citizens to travel.
He nearly performed in Egypt in 2010 before powerful forces objected to both his lifestyle and for comments suggesting Jesus was gay.
A 2020 report from Human Rights Watch shared how gay people are sometimes treated in Egypt.
Egyptian police and National Security Agency officers arbitrarily arrest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and detain them in inhuman conditions, systematically subject them to ill-treatment including torture, and often incite fellow inmates to abuse them…
The music legend also brought his greatest his catalog to Morocco, number 18 on the aforementioned Forbes list.
“Homosexual or “unnatural” acts can lead to six months to three years in prison, plus additional fines. Although affection is often freely shown among Moroccan men it is recommended that LGBTQ travelers use discretion particularly if using social media dating apps since meetups have led to assault and robbery in recent years.”
John has given millions to AIDS charities over the years, and the simple act of performing at late radio titan Rush Limbaugh’s wedding in 2010 remains a wonderful example of reaching across the political and cultural aisle.
Then again, he quit Twitter last year after new owner Elon Musk made the platform more free speech friendly following pernicious censorship under the old regime.
His new protestations against the U.S., though, hardly measure up to his greatest social achievements.