For an artist, surviving the music industry for a decade is already a feat worthy of a grand revelry. But staying in the scene as a top-notch act for almost 60 years, and sustaining a bright spot in a business where not only a handful wants to create a legend of their own — it’s another story.
Kenny Rogers is a living testament to this. With a journey starting as early as the mid-50s, he has established himself as an icon whose countless hits are meant to outlast his years of stay in the world of music.
However, as what his Blaze of Glory tells, “all good things must end.”
The king bows out
It was in December when Rogers, often dubbed as the King of Country music, kicked off a farewell tour fittingly called, “The Gambler’s Last Deal.”
In an interview with The Today Show, he shared how he is “happily sad and sadly happy” with his retirement.
“I’ve done this long enough…And I really want to be there with my kids and my wife. They’re very important to me, and I don’t see enough of them. That was my goal. I have some things on my bucket list,” he explained.
Rogers, who is turning 78 on the 21st, has a twin with his fifth wife, Wanda Miller.
“I have identical twin boys that are 11 years old, and I want to spend quality time with them. I have two older boys that I missed that quality time with, and they’re good kids, their mothers did a great job of raising them,” he told country music news portal boot.com.
His last is Filipinos’ first
On August 11, it was his Filipino fans’ turn to witness the musical retrospective. Ironically, the country star’s final show served as his first concert in the Philippines, making it a once-in-a-lifetime event.
The Araneta stage was set up in simplicity, decorated with only a big screen and two smaller ones adjacent to it, and a six-piece band in the middle. Making it picturesque was a Rogers donned in a white button down, alternately sitting and standing — all while crooning to his songs and recounting his incredible career.
In around one and a half hour, the singer tried to squeeze in his nearly-six-decade long narrative of struggles and success as an artist.
There was the story of how he ventured from making rockabilly tunes, performing in a jazz group, doing psychedelic to finally making it big as a popular country-pop crossover artist. There was the story of how appreciative he is for meeting and working with other fellow legends like Lionel Richie, Dolly Parton, Dottie West and Sheena Easton to name a few.
More importantly, there was the story of how strange he feels about bidding goodbye to a career he first pursued back in his high school days.
“It’s a strange thing, that after 60 years [of doing music], I will now wake up and I won’t have to do [music] anymore,” he enthused as his Filipino fans learned first-hand the reason of his retirement.
The Rogers magic
Rogers’ voice and appearance might be in senescence but his magic was still evident. One big proof was the crowd that filled the Big Dome to the brim, singing along with their idol and sharing the same sentiment every song in the lineup demands.
His set list included all of his major hits as well as personal favorites such as “Through The Years,” “She Believes in Me,” “We are the World,” “We’ve Got Tonight,” “Lucille,” “Love Lifted Me” “Coward of the County,” “You are so Beautiful,” The Gambler,” “Lady,” “Islands in the Stream” and “You Can’t Make Old Friends.”
Capping off the night was his performance of “Blaze of Glory,” whose lines aptly captivate the essence of his farewell show — “Let’s go out in a blaze of glory/ All good things must end/ Like two heroes in a story/ Let’s go out like we came in / In a blaze of glory.”
For his final words for his Filipino supporters, he shouted, “I thank you guys for the support for the past 60 years. Thank you so much, everybody here, I really appreciate it. I will miss you, guys!”
Fellow American country star Linda Davis served as his special guest while OPM artist Aiza Seguerra performed as the show’s front act.
“The Gambler’s Last Deal” was presented by Ovation Productions.
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