Kenny Rogers to Say His Final Farewell to State College December 17
Music legend Kenny Rogers will make a stop at Eisenhower Auditorium on Saturday, December 17 as part of his final farewell tour.
The Gambler’s Last Deal Christmas & Hits Tour will bring an end to his career that spans seven decades, 120 million album sales, 24 No. 1 hits and three Grammys—just to name a few.
HappyValley.com had the pleasure of speaking to Rogers about his final tour.
“I’m just going around the world saying goodbye to people, and saying thank you for all the years of support,” he said. “It’s been really rewarding to me.”
Rogers, who has done a Christmas tour for the past 35 years, says this tour will be much different than the rest. It will be a retrospective, in chronological order, of his career. That career included everything from country to jazz to doo-wop, so the audience can expect a little something for everyone.
“I had the opportunity to do every type of music there is,” Rogers said. “All I ever wanted to do was make music. I didn’t set out to be very successful.”
Fans can expect to hear all of their favorite hits like “The Gambler” and “Lady,” a few Christmas classics, and Rogers’ famous humor and storytelling. After all these years, he says it’s the humor he adds to his shows that has kept performing so fun for him.
“There are always going to be people coming to your shows that don’t like your music,” he said, “but if you can make them laugh, at least they’ll go home and say, ‘I enjoyed that.’”
Rogers has performed in State College several times over the years, so he is no stranger to Happy Valley. And though decades of touring have made it hard to know what city or state he’s in half the time, Rogers says that Pennsylvania always sticks in his mind.
“It’s just a beautiful place,” he said.
Rogers will take the stage at Eisenhower Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on December 17, with special guest Linda Davis. Parking is available in the Eisenhower Parking Deck for $5 per vehicle. Tickets can be purchased at www.cpa.psu.edu.
Read the rest of our interview with Rogers below.
HV: After all this time, what has never gotten old about performing?
KR: I have a theory. I do a lot of—at least what I call—humor in my shows. Because I learned a long time ago that there are going to be people coming to your shows that don’t like your music. But if you can make them laugh, at least they’ll go home and say “I enjoyed that.” And I think that’s what has kept me where I am for so long, is that every show is different. And the band, bless their hearts, they don’t know what I’m doing half the time, because they know I don’t know.
HV: What sets this tour apart from your previous holiday tours?
KR: The farewell tour will be done differently than a normal show. It’s a retrospective—in chronological order—of my career at different times. I had a hit record in 1957 when I just got out of high school; it was a doo-wop record. I did American Bandstand and had local success with it. Then I went to a group called the Scholars, and then I went to the First Edition, and then I end up in country music. And I really loved all of those spaces. That’s what was fun for me: I had the opportunity to do every type of music there is. I was in jazz for 10 years and just loved it. When I was at whatever low points there were in my career, I kept thinking to myself, “All I ever wanted to do was make music. I didn’t set out to be very successful.” So it gave me a different perspective on it.
HV: How are you planning to spend your time during retirement?
KR: Spending time with my boys. They’re 12 years old, and I didn’t get to do that with my older boys. I want to take them to Lake Powell.
HV: What are your favorite songs to perform?
KR: I would be foolish to not say "The Gambler," because that’s become my persona, if you will. And I think that’s what anybody looks for in their job, is to try to find something that identifies them and separates them from other people. I think that song did that. "Lady" was also a wonderful piece of music. People always ask me, “Do you ever get tired of doing your hits?” And I say, “Well, I’d hate to be the guy that goes out there without them.”
HV: About younger generations of country music:
KR: I’m smart enough to know that I need to step aside and let somebody else have it for a while. I know that Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings and those guys kind of had to step aside so that I could have it, and you can’t take it personally. You just say, “I had a good run. I’m getting out. Thank you very much.”
HV: About Linda Davis:
KR: She has made this show. She adds all the energy, and she is the sweetest girl in the world. She keeps everybody happy. She has a smile on her face every time you see her. And she is a great singer. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having her. I think the show would have suffered terribly without her.
HV: One question we think everyone is wondering is: Is this really goodbye?
KR: This is really a farewell tour. I don’t get around very much anymore, and I feel guilty. I don’t like doing that. But I really wanted a chance to say goodbye to everyone. I’ve really, really enjoyed this. I’m just going around the world saying goodbye to people, and saying thank you for all the years of support. And it’s been really rewarding to me to have this opportunity.