On this day, eight years ago, on April 6, 2013, the iconic George Jones took the stage one last time— closing the door on a legacy that spanned over 50 years. On that day, he performed at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum in Tennessee during his farewell tour.
He was initially supposed to end his run with the all-star Playin’ Possum! The Final No Show concert on November 22, 2013. However, after suffering from breathing problems, he decided to call the tour done once he finished the show in Knoxville.
He closed the show with the tear-jerking, “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” the same song Alan Jackson would sing to honor the legend at his funeral just weeks later. “I just did my last show,” Jones said afterward. “And I gave ’em hell.”
George Jones Honors Loyal Fans With Final Show
Shortly after his final show, Jones checked himself into the hospital until he passed away 20 days later, on April 26, 2013. He was 81. Before then, he knew he wanted to honor his fans with one last tour, despite suffering from health complications.
“I begged him to come off that road, and he would not,” his widow Nancy Jones recalled. “He lowered all the keys and tried really, really hard. I would say, ‘Just stop it,’ and he said, ‘In my mind, I think of all those old mamas that saved their money for me, and I was a no-show.’ In the last year, the fans never complained. They knew he was weak, and they knew he was leaving. He just wanted to prove he loved them.”
After he passed away, Playin’ Possum! The Final No Show turned into a tribute event for Jones. The event featured performances from some of country music’s best, including Alabama, Lee Greenwood, Reba McEntire, Martina McBride, the Oak Ridge Boys, Miranda Lambert, George Strait, Vince Gill, and Alan Jackson.
Months before he died, Jones had privately revealed that he didn’t plan on attending Playin’ Possum! himself. “I’m not going to be here,” Jones confessed to Nancy at the time. “I’m going to agree to anything they ask. Promise me you’ll make a tribute show out of it, and I’ll see it from heaven.”
This incredible lineup sang some of Jones’ beloved hits including, “Golden Ring,” “Choices,” “Blues Man,” and “The Grand Tour.” Before Jackson sang the chorus of his emotional rendition of “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” he addressed the crowd to honor the life and legacy of Jones.
“I know before we leave here tonight that George would like nothin’ better than all these fans here and all the artists here tonight to sing along and help us with the chorus,” an emotional Jackson told the audience. “This is the greatest country song and the greatest country singer that ever was.”