I think Chris Rea had tailored his "farewell tour" very nicely to please both: his old and new fans alike. After all, just by looking at the list of songs at each gig, one could quickly determine that it was so. Chris always wanted to do something in the sphere of blues, but the executives at the record companies refused to consider his requests. He didn't make any secret about his plans. After his string of illnesses, some of them life threatening, Chris decided to go ahead with his projects before it would be too late. Doctors told him to 'take it easy and slow', so he opted to play a soft version of each song. I recognize that for some old-time fans this could be "too mellow", "too nostalgic", "too melancholic" and such.
It would be unfair to charge him with ripping off unjust profit from his current tour. I agree though that he could be better perceived had he said a few words at each concert instead of just leaving the stage without uttering a single sentence or even saying "thank you."
I could not attend his concert in our country because of my illness, but I'm still looking forwards to his double 'live' CD and the concert DVD.
And I would like to thank him for everything he had done so far on the music scene.
Moreover, I think that the audiences in different countries perceived Chris' songs differently. In England, in general, people are rather used to a loud and noisy beat. Loud music perhaps reflects the way of life for many. That's why there were so many disappointed fans there. Chris complained once, in one of his radio interviews, that at a concert in his native Middlesbrough he "was scared" because people had been throwing bottles and things at him and on the stage. And at that time, he wasn't playing blues but his old songs. After that, Chris refused to visit Middlesbrough again.
Best regards to everyone; satisfied and dissatisfied fans alike,