Folk rock legend Paul Simon on Monday announced what he said would be his final tour, saying he had grown tired of traveling after 50 years as a performer. The 76-year-old, one half of the duo Simon and Garfunkel, will open a tour of North America and Europe on May 16 in Vancouver. He will say goodbye on July 15 in London’s Hyde Park, where he played a career-spanning concert in 2012 that he turned into a live album.
Tickets for the latest Hyde Park concert had already listed the event as Simon’s “farewell show.” Simon said he had been thinking more seriously about retirement after the death of his back-up band’s longtime guitarist, Vincent N’guini, in December. “Mostly, though, I feel the travel and time away from my wife and family takes a toll that detracts from the joy of playing,” said Simon, who is married to fellow folk singer Edie Brickell.
“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,” he said in a written message to fans. Simon said he was still open to performing after his farewell tour but only occasional concerts to support causes dear to him, such as the environment.
Simon, originally with Art Garfunkel, became one of the voices of the 1960s generation with his musically peaceful yet politically engaged songwriting. Simon and Garfunkel released a string of classic hits including “Bridge over Troubled Water” and “Mrs. Robinson.” Later as a solo artist he helped shape the genre of world music fusion with his 1986 album “Graceland,” which brought in South African artists.
Simon openly mulled retirement in 2016 before playing two shows at the Forest Hills stadium in his home borough of Queens in New York. But he returned soon afterward, singing at the Democratic National Convention that nominated Hillary Clinton, touring Europe and later playing across the United States as part of an effort to promote education and research on preserving the biodiversity of life on Earth.
New York is noticeably absent among the announced dates on the farewell tour, which includes two dates at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.