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15 Legendary Tours That Never Were

The most enticing road shows and residencies that nearly happened, from Guns N’ Roses and N.W.A to Lady Gaga and Kanye West

We all have our fantasy “dream tours” – favorite recording artists (or even combinations thereof) that we’d love to see performing live in concert, even if doing so would require the acquisition of a time machine. But even more tantalizing, in a way, are the “ghost tours” – those incredible tours that very nearly did come to pass, at least until fate, greed or (in some cases) common sense intervened. 

Here are 15 of the most memorable ghost tours from the last half-century of pop history; some of them have achieved almost mythological status, while others marked a turning point in an artist’s history, and still others simply exemplify the difficulties that can arise when you’re dealing with arena-sized egos. Regardless, we wish all of these tours had happened the way they were originally supposed to – and we really wish we could have been there for all of them.

Photo of XTC (Photo by Virginia Turbett/Redferns)

Virginia Turbett/Redferns

XTC: U.S. Tour (1982)

To those who were lucky enough to witness it, XTC’s April 3rd, 1982, show at San Diego’s California Theater was apparently an absolute stunner. The first date of the band’s biggest U.S. headlining tour yet featured expertly rendered versions of songs from the English band’s new English Settlement LP, as well as favorites from previous albums Black Sea and Drums and Wires – and given the band’s masterful performance, no one in the house could have imagined that it would go down in history as the last show that XTC would ever play in front of a live audience.

The following night, however, a crippling combination of anxiety and stage fright caused frontman Andy Partridge to bail out of a sold-out gig at the Hollywood Palladium; Partridge headed back to England, forcing the band to cancel the rest of their tour, as well as a subsequent one planned for Europe and the U.K. While XTC would continue to release brilliant records for another 18 years, their existence as a live band was officially over. 

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