Eric Clapton in Announcing Two New York Shows Stirs Up Retirement Talk

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Eric Clapton has talked in recent years of retiring when he turns 70. That day is coming this March 30—which makes his decision to play two dates in New York this May all the more intriguing.

On Wednesday, Clapton announced he’ll play New York City’s Madison Square Garden on May 1 and 2. Up until now, the guitarist’s only scheduled dates for 2015 have been at the Royal Albert Hall in London, where he’ll perform seven shows between March 14 and 23.

Clapton has not announced any other U.S. dates yet, and it’s not certain just what to expect given his past statements about retirement. He told Uncut magazine last June that “the road has become unbearable. It’s become unapproachable, because it takes so long to get anywhere. It’s hostile—everywhere: getting in and out of airports, traveling on planes and in cars.”

Prior to that, in 2013, he told Rolling Stone, “When I’m 70, I’ll stop. I won’t stop playing or doing one-offs, but I’ll stop touring, I think.”

If that’s the case, these MSG gigs will have added poignancy. The guitarist’s relationship with the venue goes back to his days in Cream. The power trio, which Clapton formed with bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker, performed the first concert at the venue in 1968. He has since played there another 44 times.

Tickets for the Madison Square Garden shows go on sale March 20 at 11 a.m. EST at all Ticketmaster outlets, via and by phone at 800-745-3000. Pre-sale for Chase cardholders begins March 16 at 11 a.m., along with a fan club pre-sale. Tickets are priced from $80 to $500, not including service charges.