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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Most Anticipated Tours of 2012

Selections include Van Halen, Madonna and Bruce Springsteen

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This is going to be a huge year for concerts. Radiohead, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen and many other giant acts are hitting the road. Also, a Rolling Stones 50th anniversary tour seems probable, though far from confirmed at the moment. Since the year is just starting we decided this was a good time to see what tours had our readers the most excited. Here are the results.

By Andy Greene

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10. The Black Keys

The Black Keys are one of a handful of bands from the last decade to graduate from clubs to arenas. At the dawn of the 2000s they were playing to just handfuls of people at tiny clubs across Ohio, but constant touring and recording slowly built up their reputation as a live powerhouse. Their 2010 LP Brothers was their commercial breakthrough, and "Tighten Up" went into heavy rotation on rock radio. Their 2012 tour is their first time headlining arenas, even hitting Madison Square Garden for two nights in March. The following night they headline the opening night of Coachella. 

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9. Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Red Hot Chili Peppers' new LP I'm With You wasn't as successful commercially as their previous few albums, but that should have little impact on the tour. Few people buy tickets to bands that have been around as long as the Chili's to hear new music. If the 2011 European tour is any guide, expect a heavy dose of songs from John Frusciante's tenure in the band. Sadly, Anthony Kiedis' foot injury forced the group to postpone their American tour to late March – right around the time they are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

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8. Roger Waters

When Pink Floyd brought The Wall on the road in 1980/81, they only hit four cities across the world. It's since become one of the most legendary tours in rock history, so when Roger Waters announced that he was reviving it in 2010 there was incredible pent-up fan demand. It's since been all over the world, but he's spending the first seven months of 2012 taking it to South America and all across the U.S. – even hitting a number of baseball stadiums. When all is said and done he will have 190 concerts under his belt, but he's even thinking about bringing it back to Europe in 2013. A Pink Floyd reunion feels pretty unlikely at the moment, so this is as close to the Floyd experience as fans are probably ever going to get. 

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7. Black Sabbath

The original line-up of Black Sabbath reunited in 1997 and toured off and on until 2005, but they never managed to cut a new album. The group got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, and soon afterwards the group reunited with second singer Ronnie James Dio and wound up in a lawsuit with Ozzy Osbourne over the band's trademark. A reunion seemed unlikely, but last year they put aside their differences to begin work on their first album since 1978's Never Say Die!. A world tour is slated to begin in May, but Tony Iommi just announced that he's undergoing treatment for lymphoma. The diagnosis reportedly caused them to back out of a planned performance at Coachella in April, and it's unknown if the other dates are going to happen. We wish Tony a speedy recovery. 

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6. Rush

Rush are putting the finishing touches on their new LP Clockwork Angels at the moment and hope to have it in stores this spring. We spoke with Rush frontman Geddy Lee in October about their plans beyond that. "There will be a tour," he said. "I can't tell you exactly when. Maybe the summer or maybe the fall. We need some time to organize all that, but we have started to do that. But yes, there will be a follow-up tour to support the record." The group did their 1981 classic Moving Pictures on the last tour, so we suggested to Lee that they bust out 2112 next time out. "I think that's something that would be fun to try," he said. "It's definitely possible."

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5. The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones haven't played a concert since the summer of 2007, and the publiciation of Keith Richards' tell-all book Life didn't exactly make Mick want to launch a big tour with him – but rumors have been swirling forever that they're going to tour this year in celebration of their 50th anniversary. Most members of the band are on record saying they hope it happens, but it's ultimately going to be Mick Jagger's decision. The group reportedly jammed together in December, and even brought Bill Wyman back to the fold. We're all praying they wind up hitting the road. Stay tuned. 

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4. Radiohead

Most bands tour shortly after the release of a new album, but Radiohead aren't most bands. They decided to wait an entire year after The King of Limbs hit shelves to tour, largely because touring drummer Clive Deamer was busy touring with Portishead. Now that he's free the band is going to spend much of 2012 touring, starting in Miami in February. Don't expect a greatest hits set, though. "Last time we went out, it felt very much like In Rainbows plus the greatest hits," Ed O'Brien told the BBC last year.  "And it’s not going to be like that this time. I guess it’s going to be predominantly from this record and the last record, and then see which songs fit around that.”

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3. Madonna

Almost no live act on the planet sells more concert tickets than Madonna. She hasn't been on the road since 2008, but this year she's going to release a new LP and tour the world to support it. Details will probably be announced shortly after her Super Bowl halftime set. Expect lots of new songs and many radically re-worked hits from her past. Also, expect to pay an insane amount of money for tickets. It's well worth it. She puts on a spectacular show. 

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2. Van Halen

Van Halen gave the New York press a taste of their upcoming world tour at the tiny basement club Café Wha? earlier this month. The reviews were largely ecstatic, and tickets are no doubt going quickly for the arena dates around America. Much like in 2007, original frontman David Lee Roth is back at the helm – but bassist Michael Anthony has been dumped in favor of Eddie Van Halen's song Wolfgang. They have a new album coming out, but the show will surely revolve around the classics from Roth's original tenure with the band. 

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1. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Not much is known about  Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's upcoming world tour. We don't know how they're going to deal with the absence of Clarence Clemons. We don't know the American dates. We don't know much of anything about the new album they're supporting. We do know that they're going to spend much of 2012 on the road in support of a new album, and American dates will likely kick off sometime in March. The Working On A Dream tour in 2009 was sensational, so we have high hopes for this one.