10 hard rock and heavy metal farewell tours that weren’t actually farewells

Photos of Kiss, Motley Crue, Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne playing onstage
(Image credit: Kiss: Martin Philbey/WireImage | Mötley Crüe: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images for Live Nation UK | Judas Priest: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Power Trip | Ozzy Osbourne: Harry How/Getty Images)

Eventually, it comes time for a band to hang up their instruments and call it a day – whether they’ve been together three years or three decades. That usually involves one last tour and a last hurrah for the fans and, sometimes, the band even sticks to their guns and stays at home.

However, it’s a running joke that, in rock and metal, the farewell tour is more often than not anything but. Examples are rife throughout the genre’s history, so we’ve gathered together the top 10 examples of legendary bands who just couldn’t pack it in when they said they would.

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Kiss: The Farewell Tour (2000)

Gene Simmons and his fellow face paint enthusiasts first planned to bow out after the Psycho Circus album reunited their classic lineup. 23 years later, Kiss are currently claiming their End Of The Road run will be their last, finishing with a December gig at Madison Square Garden. Only time will tell if it sticks.

Aerosmith: Aero-Vederci Baby! (2017–18)

The Aero-Vederci Baby! tour ended in 2018, but Aerosmith returned to live stages not even a year later when they started a Vegas residency. Like Kiss, Steven Tyler and the hard rock heartthrobs are currently on another goodbye run called Peace Out: The Farewell Tour, which will reportedly wrap next year.

Scorpions: Get Your Sting And Blackout World Tour (2010–14)

If you want a band that changed their minds about a farewell tour before it was even over, look no further. Stating they were simply having too much fun playing and seeing new generations of Scorpions fans, the Germans canned the idea of stopping touring before they even got home.

Mötley Crüe: Final Tour (2014–15)

Arguably the most egregious example of a not-farewell tour comes from Mötley Crüe. The glam metal outlaws signed a contract that, they alleged, would make all the members liable for a lawsuit should they ever dare tour beyond the year 2015. Obviously that was a load of crap – the band returned to the road soon after.

Nine Inch Nails: Wave Goodbye (2009)

Trent Reznor bid an emotional farewell on 2009’s Wave Goodbye tour, citing a lack of enjoyment as to why he was stopping. Four years later, he was back on the Twenty Thirteen tour, and has cropped up around the world every few years since then, celebrating Nine Inch Nails’ legacy.

Cream: Farewell Tour (1968)

Proto-metal heavyweights Cream only lasted two years but have an immortal legacy. In 1968, they decided to wrap things up with a farewell US tour and two Royal Albert Hall gigs, and they stuck to their word for 37 years. The trio returned to the Albert Hall in 2005 for four reunion shows.

Ozzy Osbourne: No More Tours (1992)

1992’s No More Tours was to be Ozzy Osbourne’s last, to spend more time with family after an incorrect diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Thankfully, with a clean bill of health, the Prince Of Darkness changed his mind soon after and kept touring, up to No More Tours II in 2018.

Judas Priest: Epitaph (2011–12)

The heavy metal legends’ Epitaph tour was supposed to be their chance to bow out in a blaze of glory. Thankfully, they decided to stick around, and Judas Priest have since graced us with more albums and a slew of top-tier live shows that prove, for some, age really is just a number.

Black Sabbath: Reunion / The Last Supper (1999)

1999’s The Last Supper was the final Black Sabbath tour – until it wasn’t. Reuniting with Ozzy Osbourne (who’d similarly reneged on a promised farewell), the band kept going up until 2017’s The End, drawing almost 50 years of heavy metal legacy to a close in Birmingham – the place it all started.

Status Quo: End Of The Road (1984)

Status Quo felt like they were crumbling apart in the early ’80s, so they planned to pack it in with the End Of The Road run in 1984. However, a slot at Live Aid the following year reignited the band’s will to exist, and they’ve persisted ever since, even through Rick Parfitt’s 2016 death.

Will Marshall

Will's been a metal obsessive ever since hearing Trivium’s Ascendancy way back in 2005, and it's been downhill ever since. Since joining the Metal Hammer team in 2021, he’s penned features with the likes of rising stars Lake Malice, Scowl and Drain, and symphonic legends Epica. He’s also had bylines in Stereoboard, covering everything from Avenged Sevenfold to Charli XCX.