This is the last tour but there could be more shows – Billboard

As her husband, Elton John, prepares for the US finale of his absolutely-positively-obvious-last farewell tour on Sunday night (Nov. 20) at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. David Furnish Wants to clarify one thing: “It’s really important to distinguish between Elton retiring from touring, but not the last time Elton made his last public appearance,” says Furnish, 60, a former advertising executive who produced several films. done, say. including John’s 2019 biopic, rocket Man, Will Elton return as a live performer? I hope so! It’s in his blood.

In a detailed phone interview from the family home, Furnish, who is also John’s manager, discussed the COVID-19 challenges of touring, how high gas prices and supply-chain issues complicated budgets and his entry into the music business. Have done “I love working in this world,” he says. “We are privileged to work with the best people in the business.”

As of last month, the Farewell Yellow Brick World Tour has grossed $661.3 million and sold 4.5 million tickets, including 30 US stadium shows this year, totaling $133.4 million and 830,000 tickets. When touring returned in January, Omicron had an impact on the concert business, but the COVID-19 scare was gone. How has your thinking about the Tour changed throughout 2022?

From us, nothing has changed. COVID is still out in the world. It is still a risk to the health of our crew and Elton and the band. We have implemented a very strict testing protocol. We went back on the road last January with a regular cadence of testing, keeping everyone up to date on vaccines and boosters. We’ve got that all over the place. We have people in different bubbles on tour. Elton is feeling really bad, but he hasn’t been able to hang out with his band. His band travels in a bubble. He and his assistants, his supporters, his hairdressers and security guys—they’re in his bubble. This has been very challenging for Elton, as he always likes to be with his band before going on stage. He always sits with them and gossips and jokes with them. This is not possible. While he is at home, between shows or in hotels, he has to self-isolate. Everyone who supports her at home is also regularly tested – all staff at home.

How difficult was it to reschedule the show in Dallas when Elton himself came down with COVID?

We had to postpone, but that meant we lost two shows in Montreal so those Dallas shows had to be rescheduled. There’s only so much wiggle-room in tour schedules. It’s a huge behemoth of a tour. You can’t suddenly move to the other side of the country or cross the Atlantic to make a show.

How has the fans’ enthusiasm for the tour evolved in 2022 when the COVID-19 landscape changed?

Thankfully the number of Covid hospitalizations has come down drastically and there are more medical treatments than in the beginning, so people can decide what medical risk is worth it to them and still come to see a show . The lockdown was very difficult for most people. It was very isolating, and nothing brings people and the world together like music. It’s very healthy emotionally and mentally and spiritually for people to get back out and watch the show again. We just had to get back on the road in the safest way possible, and that’s what we’re trying to do.

How have you adapted to higher gas prices and supply-chain issues? Did Elton eat the extras, or did you cut the budget or production?

We only eat the extra cost, because the tour we started with is the tour we intend to end with. We sold tickets in good faith and people bought tickets in good faith and it’s really important that we don’t short-change anybody and that we honor our commitments. Elton is really committed to this. This is Elton’s biggest tour-production tour to date, and it didn’t occur to us to try to reconfigure it in some way to make it cheaper.

Please set the record straight: Will Sunday’s concert at Dodger Stadium be Elton’s last US show?

I know for a fact that he will not be touring in any capacity. What you are about to see is the possibility of a special one-off or short stay in one place for a limited period of time. I don’t think it will be Las Vegas. Elton thinks he did his best in Las Vegas. He established two highly successful residences there. When you’re an artist and something’s in your blood, you don’t want to close the door completely. Having said that, I know Elton, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t do any more live shows. He is really looking forward to spending time with his family. That is the number 1 priority in his life. Any sort of withdrawal on any sort of tour is going to be a very well thought out situation, and certainly not a given at all.

Given your background in other businesses, I wonder what it was like transitioning into the music business as Elton’s manager.

I have a business-advertising-marketing background, but I’ve also worked in musical theatre, I’ve worked in film production and I’ve been in Elton’s life for 29 years. So it’s not foreign to me at all. When you start a tour like this, it’s like going on a dangerous mission, and you say to yourself, “I’m going downhill fast, and we’re going to go over the waterfall – to whom do you tell things?” Want to steady steer the boat and keep things under control?” I’m very fortunate. When I took over, the tour infrastructure at Elton was very, very healthy.

Am I arriving at your family’s home in Los Angeles?

Yes. The whole family is here in Los Angeles. Obviously I’m here for work, but I’m here to support my husband and our sons. It’s a big, big moment in the lives of our family.

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