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Alabama: American Farewell Tour

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To country music supergroup Alabama, “farewell does not mean goodbye.” Thus states their commemorative tour book, and, apparently, they take it seriously. This would explain, for instance, why one of my friends went to their Kansas City farewell concert last fall, but last night, I also attended their Kansas City farewell concert. Apparently, “farewell” has less to do with final appearances and more to do with filling seats.

Whether or not the tour appellation is a marketing ploy, the strategy works. A near-capacity crowd filled Sandstone Amphitheatre in Kansas City last night for the latest Alabama farewell appearance. For three hours, their fans sang along with many of the 42 #1 hits and other favorites from the band’s long and storied history.

The main question in this critic’s mind was how a band with over 40 #1 hits and many more crowd favorites even comes close to satisfying everyone. Well, a three-hour concert is a start. The band took an intermission after about an hour and fifteen minutes, then came back to play for about another hour and a half, before exiting and returning for a two-song encore. In the first set, the band mainly cranked out #1 after #1, with little banter or jamming. They even employed a few medleys to cover more ground. It was near the middle of the second set that things began to heat up, as the band began using more segues and cut loose on songs like “Tennessee River,” “You Gotta Have A Fiddle In The Band,” and an immensely crowd-pleasing rendition of “Cheap Seats” that thrilled a Kansas City audience in the midst of a pennant race. The band returned for an encore of “She And I” and “My Home’s In Alabama.”

Whatever you think of their marketing strategy, the fact is that it would be sad to say farewell for the last time to a band that’s still playing a heck of a game. The tour book promises more of Alabama in the future, and a few more farewell tours would be welcome opportunities to continue to enjoy this band’s performance.

Bobby Allison-Gallimore loves watching the Kansas City Royals from the cheap seats. He writes at

About Baggy Slims

  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks Bobby, that’s a tremendous record that a lot of people aren’t aware of. I like a lot of their songs, though I certainly couldn’t name 42!

  • TDavid

    Marketing ploy for farewell tours is right. I don’t think many fans truly believe artists when they say it’s their “last” tour, but there is always that “what if” factor since none of us really know when our last second on earth will be.

  • Eric Olsen

    Cher has had so many “farewell tours” she has rice marks on her face. Oh wait, that’s about something else.

  • TDavid

    Cher is going to be working on another studio album this winter. John Kalodner is looking for music for her.

  • Andrea

    I would like to comment about the ALABAMA American Farewll Tour.
    First of all, I got to finally meet “THE GUYS” after wanting to ever since I was about 10 or 11 years old.
    Teddy told us all who were waiting to meet the whole group that they weren’t exactly “quitting”, but, that they were just slowing-down.
    They are going into the stream-line of gospel music now.
    Something of which they have all been wanting to do for some time now, but, they have never had the chance !!!!!
    Not only that, but, their record label that they were with — which is — RCA — would not allow them to do gospel as long as they had their contract agreement.
    So, naturally, they had to find someone else to sign with that would allow them to sing gospel !!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Randy, Teddy, Mark, and Jeff are all a great group of guys.
    Even more so now that I even think about it — because they sacrificed much more than you or I could ever have imagined !!!!!!!!!!
    They are now much older than what they were in the 70′s and 80′s and so am I !!!!!!!!
    Older and wiser !!!!!!!!!!!

    I hope that they continue on to do what they want to do, what they love to do, and I hope that they are happy every step of the way !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    So what if “MY BOYS” don’t quit touring — more power to ‘em.

    But, I don’t think that they would exactly put all of their fans through a gimmick !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    They are all down to earth, nice, fun-loving guys whom 3 of them are from one of the great southern states here in the south that we know by the name of —- ALABAMA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Randy, Mark, Teddy, and Jeff —- Thank You guys for giving so much of yourselves to all of us —– your fans !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You guys to me, are the best, and you always will be !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Andrea D. Jones

  • Eric Olsen

    thanks for the info Andrea, glad you got to meet them