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Serrat will play his first show of the farewell tour at the Beacon Theater of New York
Serrat will play his first show of the farewell tour at the Beacon Theater in New York. Photo: Getty Images

Serrat begins his farewell tour in New York this Wednesday

Serrat will personally say goodbye to the fans with whom he has shared life, songs and feelings for more than half a century.

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He was 21 years old when he first performed, and at 78 years old, Joan Manuel Serrat is marking the beginning of the end of his career. The prolific Spanish singer, considered by many to be the most popular singer-songwriter of the changing Spain in the 1960s and 1970s, will perform tomorrow at the Beacon Theater in New York. It will be the first performance of his farewell tour El Vicio de Cantar.

With the tour, which he began to design during the pandemic, Serrat will personally say goodbye to the public with whom he has shared life, songs and feelings for more than half a century. It will be a long farewell over nine months, where he will perform 70 concerts.

The first date will be special: he spent part of his time in exile more than 50 years ago in New York. He had to flee Spain after publicly criticizing a collective death sentence imposed by dictator Francisco Franco. During a relaxed chat with Televisión Española, where the singer walked with reporter Almudena Ariza through a New York park, he recalled those difficult years.

Serrat had good memories of “the people I got to know, and who made me have a great time during a period when I didn't write practically anything.” 

At that time, he says that he did not have inspiration to write, and that the New York he experienced was very different from today. For him, it was less big: “Perhaps it was very simple in some things, I felt it closer.”

Hours before his first concert of the tour, he explained the reasons that prompted him to schedule this farewell tour during the coronavirus shutdown.

“I stopped singing when the pandemic hit. The first thing I did was just go to the doctor, and I asked him if he could do something. And he told me yes, sing,” said Serrat.

This is how his farewell tour El Vicio de Cantar was created, where he said it will be very difficult for him to control his emotions.

"Each concert will be an event that many of us will experience as a farewell," Serrat said.

The comment from his doctor encouraged him, and he got excited about saying a last goodbye from the stage. As he has repeated in multiple interviews, Serrat will continue to compose music, but without the pressure of releasing albums and scheduling tours. He will do it for pure pleasure and artistic vocation.

His last concert in New York was three years ago, and like now, he sold out. Tomorrow will be the last time his New York fans can enjoy the hits “Mediterráneo,” “Barquito de papel,” “La mujer que yo Quiero,” “Lucía,” and many other memorable songs.

Serrat's final tour, which will tour the U.S., multiple Latin American countries and Spain, will end in his native Barcelona with two performances at the Palau Sant Jordi on Dec. 22 and 23. All tickets were sold out in a few hours.

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