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A country-pop legend's last roll of the dice
THERE are old-timers like Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck - both whom played Singapore in recent months - who admit they won't know what to do if they ever quit touring; and then there is Kenny Rogers who is about to call it a day.
Before riding off into the sunset to spend more time with his 12-year-old twin sons, the multi-Grammy country-pop legend swung into Singapore for one last hurrah last Saturday at The Star Theatre.
Rogers last played here at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in 2012.
The past weekend's show was part of his current farewell world tour called The Gambler's Last Deal and named after his 1978 hit The Gambler. It subsequently became the theme song for a long-running series of TV movies of the same name in which he played an Old West poker player.
At 77 and just over a week shy of his next birthday, Rogers perhaps could not have chosen a better time to fold.
A knee surgery made moving around and standing difficult for Rogers - "They fixed the wrong knee!" the Country Hall of Fame inductee joked after opening with his 1969 hit Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town - and he remain seated on a stool for most of the 90-minute concert.
Even the years seems to have taken their toll on his vocals and any raspier would reduce it to a croak.
Still, Rogers won the 5,000-strong crowd over effortlessly with that distinctively warm croon of his which has turned ballads like Through the Years, You Decorated My Life, Lady and more into late night radio gold.
All those featured in the career-spanning 26-song set list packed with nothing but one hit after another. There were so many that it was a pity She Believes in Me became part of a ballad medley instead being performed in full.
Every tune also came with the story behind it and whenever he needed to slow down, special guest Linda Davis (who is incidentally the mother of Hillary Scott from Lady Antebellum) would come on to cover Rogers' hits like Daytime Friends or duet with him on songs like We've Got Tonight and Anyone Who Isn't Me Tonight.
Rogers' jokes-filled banter also stole the show and comedy wouldn't be a bad choice as a post-retirement career as he kept the audience in stitches while secretly catching his breath.
Farewells should all be like that: short, sweet, all cheers, and no tears.
It might be the last roll of the dice but quitting while you are ahead - while holding onto a winning hand - is the mark of a good gambler.