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Wearable Tech

Elton John announces final tour with a stellar VR concert

Saturday night's alright for fighting -- and Wednesday morning's pretty good for declaring a swan-song tour.

Elton John is one of those rock 'n' rollers who seems to always be touring. His work has been sewn into our cultural conscience for five decades with hit songs like "Bennie and the Jets," "The Bitch is Back," "Candle in the Wind" and his music for "The Lion King." One of his biggest hits was his 1973 song "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." The ballad has this chorus:

So goodbye yellow brick road
Where the dogs of society howl
You can't plant me in your penthouse
I'm going back to my plough

The lyrics take on added significance Wednesday, when the singer announced his final world tour. The New York event was broadcast over YouTube and included an incredible virtual-reality medley of songs like "Rocket Man" and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." For "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting," a VR version of John is shown decked out in a sparkling Dodgers baseball uniform performing at his sold-out concert at Dodger Stadium in 1975.


Here's a screenshot from the VR portion of the event with John performing at Dodger Stadium in 1975.

Elton John

After the VR performance was over, the actual John sat behind his piano decked out in a tailored colorful coat and his trademark glasses to play "Tiny Dancer" and "I'm Still Standing." He was joined by Anderson Cooper post-performance to discuss his final tour.

John cited wanting to spend time with his children as the main reason behind retiring from touring. He'll still record new music, however.

This event was hyped earlier this week with AR versions of John performing at London's King's Cross station.

You can watch the VR concert and John's announcement at the top of the article. A VR headset is recommended, but not required to enjoy it to the fullest. 

The Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour will visit 300 cities around the world over a three-year period. For more information about the tour and tickets check out Elton John's website

CNET was at the live announcement, too, in New York. Being there in person was amazing, but we had problems with the Samsung Gear VR headset playing the VR experience (our phone popped out midperformance, and wouldn't start back up). John seemed hands-off on how future VR experiences would be made, but expressed that he'd never want to live forever as a holographic performer.

Update, 5 p.m. ET: Added details of the New York event.