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2016’s 20 Hottest Tours

Bruce, Bieber, Black Sabbath and beyond — here are our picks for the year’s must-see live acts

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Illustration by Brittany Falussy

Whether it's aging acts taking a final bow, or up-and-comers riding a wave of buzz, the array of talent set to hit the road in 2016 is staggering. Rock titans such as Black Sabbath, AC/DC and Bruce Springsteen, pop megastars like Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Selena Gomez, and indie-rock faves Yo La Tengo and Kurt Vile will all visit arenas, theaters and clubs across North America. And then, of course, there's the mighty Adele, bringing her record-smashing 25 to life. Read on for our full rundown of the year's essential tours.

Selena Gomez

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 13: Selena Gomez performs onstage during Z100's Jingle Ball 2013, presented by Aeropostale, at Madison Square Garden on December 13, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Clear Channel)

Theo Wargo/Getty

Selena Gomez

Dates: May 6th–July 8th

Why You Should Go: It's a new era for Selena Gomez, who has shed her teen-icon skin to become a confident, sultry pop diva in her Revival era. Her sophomore album saw the singer and actress move away from EDM-pop and towards a more R&B-tinged style that showcases her vocals. At the American Music Awards and on the Jingle Ball tour, Gomez teased a dance-heavy, Cabaret-inspired live performance that will hopefully be reflected in her second worldwide tour.

Tickets: $45–$100

The Cure

BELFORT, FRANCE - JUNE 30: Robert Smith from The Cure performs at Eurockeennes Music Festival on June 30, 2012 in Belfort, France. (Photo by David Wolff - Patrick/Getty Images)

David Wolff/Patrick/Getty

The Cure

Dates: May 10th–June 27th.

Opener: The Twilight Sad

Why You Should Go: There hasn't been a new Cure album since 2008's 4:13 Dream, but that isn't stopping them from launching a 61-date world tour in May. It's their biggest outing in more than a decade, and it will give fans a chance to see former Tin Machine guitarist Reeves Gabrels, who joined the group in 2012. Robert Smith's voice sounds almost exactly like it did in 1985, and their shows are often marathons lasting three hours. They play nearly all the hits, though "Killing an Arab" has been turned into the more politically correct "Killing Another." 

Tickets: $25–$200

Dixie Chicks

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - OCTOBER 25: Emily Robison (L) Natalie Maines of Dixie Chicks perform during the 29th Annual Bridge School Benefit at Shoreline Amphitheatre on October 25, 2015 in Mountain View, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty

Dixie Chicks

Dates: June 1st–October 10th

Why You Should Go: The Chicks' DCX MMXVI World Tour is being billed as their first American headlining tour in a decade — they opened for the Eagles in 2010, and have played some other spot dates — and it's a good time for them to return. Though they haven’t put out a new album since 2006, the band remains the biggest-selling female band of all time in the United States. Women in country are getting more attention than they have in years due to the now-infamous suggestion of radio consultant Keith Hill that the way to improve ratings in country radio was to remove the women. The Chicks were always proof that females were a vital force on the country airwaves. Hopefully the group will think about recording another album, joining recent titans in their genre (Garth Brooks, Tricia Yearwood) who returned after a long hiatus.

Tickets: $39.50–$200

Nick Jonas; Demi Lovato

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 05: Singers Nick Jonas (L) and Demi Lovato perform onstage during KIIS FM's Jingle Ball 2014 powered by LINE at Staples Center on December 5, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty

Nick Jonas & Demi Lovato

Dates: June 24th–September 17th

Why You Should Go: Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas have grown up together, so it's no surprise that the former Disney stars would embark on a joint headlining tour just as they simultaneously embark on more mature music careers. Since their Camp Rock days, the pair have done more than just cross paths — their summer tour will be their sixth tour together since 2008 when Lovato opened for the Jonas Brothers. Since then, the two have become business partners as well, with Jonas serving as musical and creative director for Lovato's 2014 Neon Lights tour and the launch of their joint label Safehouse Records, which released Lovato's Confident LP in the fall. Hopefully for the fans, Jonas will release the follow-up to his 2013 self-titled album just in time for the tour. 

Tickets: $40–$126

5SOS

Jason Merritt/Getty

5 Seconds of Summer

Dates: July 1st–September 24th

Why You Should Go: For the second year in a row, the Australian pop-punk crew is embarking on a massive, nearly year-long world tour, this time in support of sophomore album Sounds Good Feel Good. Between the nearly 100 dates the young band will hit over the year, 5SOS will spend their summer in North America and hit even bigger venues than they did last summer, like the legendary Madison Square Garden. It's appropriate for a band that just secured its second Number One album in a row and continues to see both its fandom and stature in the pop scene grow bigger by the day.

Tickets: $25–$80

Adele

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Matthew McConaughey" Episode 1689 -- Pictured: Musical guest Adele performs on November 21, 2015 -- (Photo by: Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Dana Edelson/NBC/Getty

Adele

Dates: July 5th–November 9th

Why You Should Go: Hello? Adele's 25 was the best-selling album of 2015, even though it was released in late November. Naturally, the British songstress is following up those staggering sales with some more: Every Adele Live 2016 date is officially sold out, making it the hottest ticket for grandmothers, firefighters and everyone in between. It's the kind of FOMO event that feels mandatory, even if you didn't have three monitors with seven browsers open on the morning the six Madison Square Garden shows went on sale. At minimum, the prospect of experiencing Adele's glittering pipes in person is reason enough to catch one of these shows.

Tickets: $35.50–$149.50

Janet Jackson

Christopher Polk/BET/Getty

Janet Jackson

Dates: TBD

Why You Should Go: Jackson is simply one of the great all-around stars of her generation, with undeniable hits in four decades and a kinetic, tightly wound, impeccably choreographed dance style that has influenced everyone from Beyoncé to Tinashe. Unbreakable, her first album in seven and a half years, arrived in 2015, and it’s her best effort since the 2001 classic All For You. Although the singer recently announced that she's postponing her tour until the spring due to surgery, she's sure to return with a vengeance — after all, this is the Unbreakable World Tour.

Tickets: TBD

Pearl Jam

LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 914 -- Pictured: (l-r) Music guests Mike McCready, Jeff Ament, Eddie Vedder, Matt Cameron, Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam perform on Thursday, October 24, 2013 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Lloyd Bishop/NBC/Getty

Pearl Jam

Dates: TBD

Why You Should Go: Virtually nothing is known about Pearl Jam's upcoming American tour other than the fact it's going to celebrate their 25th anniversary and that dates will come sometime early in the year. In keeping with all Pearl Jam shows, expect a set list that's basically their entire catalog on shuffle. Their South American shows in late 2015 featured as many as 32 songs, including Nineties classics like "Daughter" and "Why Go," and recent tunes like "Lightning Bolt" and "Mind Your Manners," along with covers like Pink Floyd's "Mother" and U2's "A Sort of Homecoming." 

Tickets: TBD

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