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2013’s Hottest Tours

2013 tour preview

There's no shortage of big names hitting the road this year, from Lady Gaga to the Who to Taylor Swift. The one thing that's missing from the 2013 tour schedule? A truly massive superstar who can automatically sell out stadiums and arenas everywhere, like U2 or Madonna. Then again, that could change as soon as the Rolling Stones tour dates we're all waiting for come through. Read on for our guide to 2013's 18 biggest tours.

By Steve Knopper

Lady Gaga

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Lady Gaga

Through March 20th

Gaga grossed more than $161 million last year on her European tour, according to Pollstar, and she'll add to that total with a final surge in North America. It's perfect timing to set up her next album, ARTPOP – assuming she actually releases it this year as expected. Her manager, Troy Carter, wouldn't reveal any surprises beyond the dancers, multiple costume changes and alien-invasion storylines we've come to know. "We're at the home stretch," he tells RS.

The Who

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The Who

January 28th-February 26th

The Who returned to arenas last fall in high style, playing their 1973 rock opera Quadrophenia straight through without any guests – unless you count late members John Entwistle and Keith Moon, who both appeared in video segments. If you didn't catch that tour, you'll have another chance when Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend keep it going with another leg in the new year.

Eric Clapton

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Eric Clapton

March 14th-April 13th

After grossing more than $85 million on his 2010-2011 worldwide run, Slowhand returns to the U.S. this year with an arena tour featuring his Crossroads Guitar Festival as the grand finale. The killer lineup for the festival at New York's Madison Square Garden includes old bluesmen like B.B. King, Buddy Guy and the Allman Brothers Band as well as young hotshots from John Mayer to Gary Clark Jr. (who tore the festival up last time around).

Taylor Swift

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Taylor Swift

March 13th-September 21st

Swift embraced pop on Red, which has stayed near the top of the charts since it came out last October, but her approach to touring remains pure country. Unlike many other stars, who dole out fragments of tours and add to them later, Swift quickly went all-in – building on her top-grossing (but reasonably priced) tours of recent years with a run that lasts all the way through fall 2013.

Fleetwood Mac

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Fleetwood Mac

April 4th-June 7th

Rumours-era bandmates Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie recently recorded two new tracks together, so there's a fair chance you'll hear some new material in between all the hits on their first tour since 2009. But don't hold your breath for a full new album.

pink

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Pink

February 13th-March 28th

In a year jammed with huge singles, Pink's 2012 single "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" and album The Truth About Love were often ignored. The veteran pop star will try to make up for it with this brief U.S. arena run before she shifts to Europe.

Maroon 5

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Maroon 5

February 13th-April 6th

Before frontman Adam Levine became a star on NBC's The Voice in 2011, Maroon 5 struggled to fill large venues – but after the show boosted singles like "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone," the band has become a reliable arena act.

Dave Matthews Band

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Dave Matthews Band

Dates unknown

The best-selling touring act of the 2000s hasn't yet announced dates for this year, unless you count bassist Stefan Lessard's side project Yukon Kornelius. But Dave and the boys haven't not said they're touring, like they did a couple of years back, so it's safe to assume another summer amphitheatre run is in the works.

Leonard Cohen

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Leonard Cohen

March 2nd-April 20th

At 78, Cohen is more spontaneous and warm than just about any of his folk or rock contemporaries – wearing a snappy suit and fedora, reciting poems, giving short speeches and doling out classics as well as tunes from last year's Old Ideas. Drink whenever the Webb sisters, Cohen's pristine backup vocalists, do a backflip.

Mumford & Sons

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Mumford & Sons

February 5th-17th

Following up on the 10 million Spotify streams of last year's Babel and a continuing new-Americana craze that seems to be sweeping Europe as well as North America, Mumford will briefly play arenas this spring before heading to Spain, France and Luxembourg. There's a mysterious schedule gap from April to July, so don't be surprised if the tour expands into summer.

Pearl Jam

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Pearl Jam

Dates unknown

Rumors have been circulating for months that Pearl Jam will be back on the road in 2013, possibly with fellow grunge-era graduates Soundgarden. All we know for sure at this point is the band is playing three festival dates in Brazil, Argentina and Chile in March and April.

Rolling Stones

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Rolling Stones

Dates unknown

The year's biggest will-they-or-won't-they tour story has yet to play out, although the Stones have said they're considering several offers after doing five 50th-anniversary shows last month in London, Brooklyn and Newark, New Jersey. "Really, all you're going to have to do is wait for an announcement," Keith Richards recently told RS with a laugh.

One Direction

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One Direction

June 13th-August 9th

One Direction's summer run of amphitheatres and arenas – many of the dates sold out last year, when their popularity was first exploding – seems designed to give hunky Harry, Zayn and the other what's-their-names flexibility to add more shows if hordes of screaming young fans make them necessary.

Rihanna

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Rihanna

March 8th-May 1st

Rihanna is one of the few survivors of the Bad Summer of 2010, in which the sputtering economy and high ticket prices forced her (and many others) to cancel dates and offer last-minute discounts. This year is different: She's back to being one of the world's biggest pop stars, having sold almost 1.4 million copies of her new single "Diamonds" during the holiday season alone.

Paul McCartney

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Paul McCartney

Dates unknown

Macca has hinted at a new album this year, and his late-2012 tour dates (not to mention his Hurricane Sandy telethon appearance in December) indicate the 70-year-old and his band are ready for action. Nothing's official yet, but don't expect Nirvana.

Justin Bieber

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Justin Bieber

Through January 27th, June 22nd-August 10th

Bieber's recording career took a hit in 2012 after his album Believe sold disappointingly few copies compared to contemporaries such as One Direction and Taylor Swift, and he received zero Grammy Awards nominations. He'll boost his buzz by playing tons of arena dates all year – in the U.S., then Europe, then back again.

No Doubt

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No Doubt

Dates unknown

This tour, most likely for summer, is still in the rumor stages, but Gwen Stefani let confirmation slip during a recent Jimmy Kimmel Live! appearance.

Bob Seger

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Bob Seger

February 27th-April 2nd

Seger, 67, has said he won't be touring much longer, so take advantage while you can. You'll have lots of chances this year – the run of 11 U.S. and Canada dates he announced in early January is just the first leg of his "Rock and Roll Never Forgets" tour.

In This Article: Mumford & Sons

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