Cool New Music Tours
Although the Dave Matthews Band, the Rolling Stones, the Eagles and some other groups have chosen to take the year off from touring in the wake of a rough 2010, other bands are predicted to see 2011 as their breakout year, including Zac Brown Band and Mumford & Sons. Linkin Park are planning to tour, and you’ll find plenty of classic-rock combos and solo packages: Santana, Steve Miller, the Moody Blues, REO Speedwagon, Jethro Tull and other boomer stalwarts will be on the road.
The country market remains strong (and mostly reasonably priced), with Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley and more going out. Prince will tour, as will Alison Krauss and Robert Plant (separately). As always, Radiohead rumors swirl, but there’s nothing firm.
Here are 20 of the anticipated concerts of 2011.
U2: Some U2 fans in the United States have been sitting on their concert tickets for nearly two years now. The band put them on sale early, then had to postpone an entire U.S. leg after Bono’s back surgery. Few demanded refunds, however, and the spectacular 360 Tour will finally come to those rabid fans (likely along with a new album early in the year, which is slated to include the unreleased favorite “Mercy”).
Buffalo Springfield: The reunion for this hallowed L.A. band has rested on the whims of Neil YoungStephen Stills and Richie Furay teamed up at Young’s annual Bridge Benefit concerts last October, and both band and audience had a blast. Bet on at least a mini-tour, maybe more. “I’d love to see it, (but) it’s not going to be the year’s biggest tour,” Pollstar’s Bongiovanni says. for more than 40 years now, including an aborted ’80s reunion that left the original band members frustrated and confused. But Young,
Van Halen: Live Nation/Ticketmaster head Irving Azoff was reassuring stockholders last year when he let a tidbit slip: Van Halen would be going back out in 2011, helmed again by Diamond Dave (aka original lead singer David Lee Roth) four years after their triumphant return. Insiders say a new album is also in the works. And no, bassist Michael Anthony is still not welcome to the party, for reasons no one will get into.
The Cars: Sans the late Benjamin Orr, the Cars’ original Beantown lineup plan was to go out after recording some new music, and this time notoriously tour-shy Ric Ocasek is on board. They’ve released snippets of new very Cars-sounding songs through Facebook (especially “Sad Songs”), with a full album and tour expected this spring. The Cars toured sparingly as the years went on, Ocasek said, though he has apparently changed his mind when asked about touring a few years back: “I have this reputation for not liking to tour, and I can’t say I do love it. I certainly didn’t want to do a reunion tour. … I don’t feel like I need to be revived.”
“Glee”: “Glee Live! In Concert!” has released only dates in the U.K. at the moment, but the TV juggernaut is gaining speed with Chris Colfer’s Golden Globe win. After 13 trial dates in the U.S. in 2010, expect a full-blown set of “Glee” mania after the June appearances overseas.
Rod Stewart/Stevie Nicks
Rod Stewart/Stevie Nicks: After the first reaction of “Huh?” subsides, it actually makes sense to put two of the raspiest voices in rock together on the same bill. It’s called the Heart and Soul tour, and Stewart promises the two will not only perform their own material but also collaborate on some duets. One assumes “Maggie May” isn’t one of the songs under consideration: Which singer — Stewart, 66, or Nicks, 62 — would take the line “The morning sun when it’s in your face really shows your age?”
Roger Waters: In the most spectacular series of concerts in years, Roger Waters’ recreation of “The Wall” in its entirety isn’t just a show, it’s an event. The tour is pretty much sold-out through the middle of 2011, and it has to be. The elaborate production means that Waters can’t sell up to a quarter of the seats in each arena, as the titular wall itself takes up so much space. See it if you can.
Lady Gaga: Speaking of spectacle, Lady Gaga joins Roger Waters and U2 in attempting to blow you away visually this year (and yes, that’s probably the last time you’ll read those three names in one sentence ever again). Her new album, “Born This Way,” won’t be out till May, but the tour kicks off in February, steamrolling its way across America at a breakneck pace through early May – when the new album still won’t be out. Kinda makes you think it’s not all about the music.
Katy Perry: Mrs. Russell Brand has one of the most grueling schedules of all this year. It seemed like just yesterday she was pulling good notices on the Warped Tour. Now on the “California Dreams” tour she’s headlining major venues in New Zealand, Australia, Japan and the entire continent of Europe starting in February and ending in November. She just announced a major summer U.S. tour that promoters expect will push her into the stratosphere.
Black Eyed Peas
Black Eyed Peas: With a Super Bowl halftime performance to kick things off and the lingering success of the inescapable single “I Gotta Feeling,” Black Eyed Peas are perhaps at the top of their game deep into their second decade. Dates haven’t been released just yet, but wait for them to time the announcement to the halftime show. The Peas haven’t stayed on top for this long without a few tricks up their sleeves.
Bon Jovi: The biggest-grossing tour of 2010 is still rolling along in 2011, stronger than ever. A “one night only” concert broadcast to thousands of movie theaters around the world only burgeoned the band’s live reputation. With a new concert DVD and a trek across the U.S. and overseas that lasts until at least August, they may roll up the biggest live tally of 2011 as well.
Deadmau5, Bassnectar and Pretty Lights
Deadmau5, Bassnectar and Pretty Lights: No, these electronic bands aren’t touring together (though that could be a brilliant idea). But they’ve all been quietly building a following, winning awards and blowing away the competition. Promoters see these three as the next dance/trance/electronica acts to have Moby-sized success. Keep an eye out – Deadmau5 (pronounced “dead mouse”) is a pretty hard act to follow.
Peter Gabriel: Despite having one of the best catalogs of songs in the business, Peter Gabriel has always made his tours amazing spectacles, whether it’s riding a bicycle in the round upside down through the air or singing his signature hits like “Sledgehammer” dressed in a suit of lights. What, however, if he went out with a toned-down, straight-up rock-concert approach? Fans may well find out this fall.
Kenny Chesney and Zac Brown
Kenny Chesney and Zac Brown: While Kenny Chesney is touring extensively on his own, many of his dates this year will feature hot up-and-comer Zac Brown. It’s a seemingly unbeatable combination that’ll certainly sell out many an amphitheatre. The rub, however, is that instead of staying in country’s family-friendly $60-to-$80 price range, the Chesney/Brown tickets are going for triple digits in some markets. Will his fans follow him into Eagles pricing territory?
Taylor Swift: Taylor Swift is pushing the pricing boundaries as well, with tickets topping out over $100 once “convenience” fees are wrapped in. It’s a tough position to be in: At lower prices she was wildly undervalued on her last tour, but hitting that tween crowd with big prices is a gamble. If anyone can make it pay off, it’ll likely be the hugely ambitious and seemingly tireless Swift. Her latest album, “Speak Now,” is widely considered her best yet. She’s hitting the road – hard – all over the world from February to October.
Lady Antebellum: With just two full-length albums under their belt, the Nashville trio aren’t pushing it, bringing back the concept of artist development. Despite having awards ranging from a Grammy to a Teens Choice Awards surfboard, and smash singles such as “Need You Now” (nominated for multiple Grammys in February), the band is sticking at the moment to country festivals throughout the year, criss-crossing the U.S. to win over new fans. Insiders expect a full-blown headlining tour to pop up as well.
Foo Fighters: After the band’s long hiatus, lead Foo Dave Grohl announced that they were working on a new album that would reunite him with not only Nirvana producer Butch Vig, but also with bassist Krist Novoselic and guitarist Pat Smear. The album was finished in early 2011, and while only a handful of stadium dates have been announced, watch for an extensive U.S. tour to bring them back in a big way.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Red Hot Chili Peppers: In what is one of the most poorly kept secrets in music, the Red Hot Chili Peppers will reunite for an extensive U.S. tour and overseas festivals — if they get their new album finished in time. It has been pushed back to June of 2011 at this point, but promoters already have holds on dates for the full tour.
Keith Urban: Despite the recent birth of his second daughter, Keith Urban has a full slate of shows across the nation going through October, set to highlight his taut, eight-song set of love tunes, “Get Closer.” One hopes that Urban – whose years as a session musician helped make him one of the finest guitar-slingers in country music – will open those songs up a bit in concert and tear up the fretboard a bit. Don’t worry, you haven’t missed anything yet: Tickets don’t go on sale until February and March.