There has been a lot of discussion about several things that I think if they are looked at in a broader music business industry level view might make more sense. I have read the following recently:
1) Why would Chris play his old songs again when he did a Farewell Tour?
2) Why would he play his old music if he doesn't like to
3) Why might the autumn tour be cancelled?
4) Why was there not more promotion?
5) Why did it take 2 years for a new album when he said on his farewell tour that it would be less than that?
I think if Chris had several million dollars at his disposal he would launch his own tour and we would never hear the likes of the Road to Hell, Stainsby Girls, or any other older music again. I truly believe he intended to retire from that era when he did his last tour. He really appears to WANT desperately to move on I believe but it is a catch 22 situation just like it is for most artists. If Chris had all the money on his own he would not need financial backers, partners, investors, record execs, promotors. However, there is a HUGE cash outlay for the recording studio costs, engineers, marketing execs, printing, art design, concert halls, the promotion of the concerts and albums, coordination of PR, salaries for managers, promotors, booking agents, travel agents, licensing and copyright agents, registars, attorneys, the accomodations for the band/crew, gas, food, autos, airline tickets, permits, medical, insurance, equipment rental, stage and venue hands, ushers, concessions, security, tickets offices, travel expenses, and equipment coordinators and a HUGE strangling of other employees. With a cash outlay this size there really has to be a guarantee that the tour will net enough to cover all of this.
The magnitude in size of the album and concert he took on this year pretty much ties him to the money laden executives that can dictate much of what he GETS to do despite what he tells them he WANTS to do. Hence his referral frequently to the "man in the suit", his showing of this process on his Stoney Road DVD, his referral to them in "Legacy Blues (very appropo title and the lyrics say it all!!!) and his countless comments on this subject in interviews.
The music business seems to be just like any other real world business where the artist never get to do exactly what they want free and clear. The investors and promotores want rock solid guarantees they will make a fair or even HEFTY return on their investment. This often translates to the artists as "this is what we STRONGLY ADVISE/ENCOURAGE you to do to make this album/tour a success". Their influence is often even more along the lines of 'We will back you ONLY if..." And in Chris's case this might very well mean "We will back you only if the concert is based on the CHRIS REA name and history of success" enough so that it draws in your old and loyal fans. It is not uncommon for these investors to even ADVISE what the song set is so they can be assured the areans will sell out and additional album sales will meet quotas or for them to ADVISE the type of merchandise that will be offered so it is guaranteed to net a expected return on investment. It is all one big money machine and I truly believe Chris Rea JUST WANTS TO PLAY GUITAR, have fun, be the artist he wants. However, it all comes back to money - without it Chris is at the mercy to some degree of these financial dogs. I think we would be VERY surprised to see how many people get rich off Chris's music, name branding, promotions, etc. There is always an investor out there who would say "OK Chris, we'll give you the money you want to make an album with The Delmonts and HBN, >BUT< you must guarantee us a 35% return on our investment and we think you can only do this by relying on your history. Nostagia in the music busness is a good way to guarantee money.
So I think Chris has to be allowed room to move forward with the music he likes, yet still make an income and please the investors enough to keep doing what he is doing. Perhaps his Autumn tour was cancelled because once again he said I DON'T WANT TO WORK THIS WAY ANY MORE! I just want to play the music that I like.
Anyhow...enough ramblings. Just some good food for thought. I rarely think Chris is to blame for the curvy turns of his career and retirmenet/comebacks. Let's just support the Delmonts and HBN in any way we can as that is obviously what he wants to do with his future.