You got to know when to fold ’em, as Kenny Rogers’ iconic song “The Gambler” says. Apparently he’s taking his own advice, because the country crooner’s stop in Salt Lake on Friday night is part of his farewell tour, appropriately dubbed “The Gambler’s Last Deal Tour.”
Throughout the 78-year-old’s career, Rogers has been at home at honky tonks and theaters alike, even starting his career with a little psychedelic Rock & Roll with The New Edition—on top of to the 120 million country albums he’s sold worldwide with help from his songs “The Gambler,” “Lucille”, “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” “Lady” and “Coward of the County.” Rogers is a cultural touchstone.
The Muppet Show, The Big Lebowski, plenty of acting credits (including a movie based on “The Gambler”), a fast-casual chicken restaurant (and a subsequent Seinfeld episode and Beastie Boys lyric about Kenny Rogers’ Roasters), being one of the artists included in USA For Africa’s “We Are the World” video, and an epic duet of the Bee Gee’s “Islands in the Stream” with Dolly Parton (who, to my knowledge will not be joining Rogers at The Eccles—but I’m holding out hope anyway)—for a while everywhere you looked, there Kenny Rogers was.
He’s a bonafide country superstar with a career that has spanned five decades.
Friday night’s show with Rogers promises to be a retrospective of his career—storytelling and songs alike. Rogers is known for his homespun charm and ability to spin a yarn, but there’s no doubt he’s not who he used to be. He’s—how can I put this delicately?—had some work done. And reports from the first leg of this tour universally seem to mention a bum leg that had Rogers sitting though most of his set.
But still, it’s Kenny Rogers.
You should drop in, just to see what condition his condition is in.
Kenny Rogers plays Eccles Theater, Friday April 21. Tickets are available here.