Summer 2015's 30 Hottest Tours - Rolling Stone
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Summer 2015’s 30 Hottest Tours

Everybody from the Rolling Stones to Taylor Swift is hitting the road. Here are our picks for this year’s can’t-miss shows

Summer 2015's 30 Hottest Tours

Summer 2015's 30 Hottest Tours

Robyn Beck/Getty

Titans of rock (the Rolling Stones, the Who), country megastars (Shania Twain, Kenny Chesney) and pop's newest icons (Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran) are taking over stadiums, arenas and amphitheaters across North America this summer. The season is shaping up to be one of the biggest in biz history, and we have the ultimate guide to all the big tickets, from Nicki Minaj to Marilyn Manson to Dave Matthews Band.

Mick Thompson of Slipknot and Randy Blythe of Lamb of God.

Mick Thompson of Slipknot and Randy Blythe of Lamb of God.

Daniel Boczarski/Redferns/Getty; Christie Goodwin/Redferns/Getty

Slipknot & Lamb of God

Dates: July 24th-September 5th

Openers: Bullet for My Valentine, Motionless in White

Why You Should Go: For the heaviest double-bill of the summer, look no further than metal titans Slipknot and Lamb of God. This year is big for both acts: Lamb of God are releasing their first album since lead singer Randy Blythe was acquitted of manslaughter charges, and Slipknot is recognizing the fifth anniversary of founding member Paul Gray's death.

Tickets: $30-$80

Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson

Victor Moriyama/Getty; David A. Beloff/Getty

Smashing Pumpkins & Marilyn Manson

Dates: July 7th-August 9th

Why You Should Go: Billy Corgan promises career-spanning sets when he tours with his old Nineties pal Marilyn Manson. But don't get it twisted: "Anyone who calls this a nostalgia tour doesn't know what the fuck they're talking about," Corgan says. "Believe it or don't — but if you don't, then you will miss something rare, which is three hours of really powerful music."

Tickets: $35-$110

Taylor Swift

Jun Sato/Getty

Taylor Swift

Dates: Through October 31st 

Openers: Haim, Shawn Mendes, Vance Joy (varies by date)

Why You Should Go: Taylor Swift says she was on a mission to make her current arena and stadium tour every bit as much of a pop experience as last year's 1989 album. "I was very adamant that every decision I've made creatively in the past had to be almost flipped," Swift says. "You're not going to see me playing the banjo." Producer Max Martin was enlisted to teach her live band how to re-create the 1989 sound. The set list draws most from the record but also includes revamped versions of some old favorites — "'Love Story,' 'I Knew You Were Trouble' and 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together' are completely different," Swift says.

Tickets: $33-$250

Shania Twain

CALGARY, CANADA - JULY 10: Shania Twain performs at the Calgary Stampede at Scotiabank Saddledome on July 10, 2014 in Calgary, Canada. (Photo by Melissa Renwick/Getty Images)

Melissa Renwick/Getty

Shania Twain

Dates: June 5th-August 24th

Openers: Gavin DeGraw (U.S.), Wes Mack (Canada)

Why You Should Go: When Shania Twain's two-year run in Las Vegas concluded in December, the 49-year-old pop-country hitmaker knew her performing days were almost over. "I just feel like there are so many other things to do musically," says Twain. This summer, she'll bid farewell not in a casino theater but with the Rock This Country trek, which launches June 5th in Seattle. "I thought it would be more satisfying to end it on tour and not in a static environment," she continues, promising a show emphasizing the guitar-heavy country music she recorded with producer and then-husband Mutt Lange. "I want to focus more on the rock vibe and the punch and edge that the music naturally has. I'm going to stick to the hits and let the energy go and rock."

Tickets: $45-$151


BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 13: Bono of U2 perform on stage during the Bambi Awards 2014 show on November 13, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Gisela Schober/Getty Images)

Gisela Schober/Getty


Dates: Through July 31st

Why You Should Go: The last time U2 went out on the road, they built a spaceship — the 29,000-square-foot "Claw" that was the centerpiece of their 2009-'11 world tour. This time around, they're playing through custom PA system that employs speakers hung from the ceiling spread evenly throughout the venue. "Everyone up to this point, us included, has always put all the speakers at one end of the stage and blasted all the sound the full length of the venue," says the Edge. "With this, you sit no further than 50 feet from a set of speakers." The show, which opened last week in Vancouver, is also Bono's first since a serious bicycle crash left the 55-year-old unable to wield his instrument. "I miss his guitar playing," says the Edge. "I particularly miss it when I have to go into a solo and there's no Bono there to back me up. I'm like, 'Oh, shit. This is quite a different thing.'"

Tickets: $35-$280

Van Halen

HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 30: Eddie Van Halen and Wolfgang Van Halen of Van Halen performs on March 30, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Jeff Kravitz/Getty

Van Halen

Dates: July 5th-October 4th

Opener: Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band

Why You Should Go: In celebration of Van Halen's first live album to feature vocals from David Lee Roth, the hard rock band has planned a hefty tour that will cross North America. Performances on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Ellen previewed the unerring energy that they'll be bring to these summer dates. In fact, the singer had been so enthusiastic on Kimmel that he needed to get stitches following a baton incident that occurred on air. Even more irresistible: the promise of another new studio album, something guitarist Eddie Van Halen has hinted at in recent interviews.

Tickets: $43.50-$166.50

The Who

Josh Brasted/Getty

The Who

Dates: Through November 4th

Openers: Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

Why You Should Go: To celebrate their 50th anniversary, the Who are spending the year on the road with an ambitious show that mixes in deep cuts like "Pictures of Lily" and "A Quick One, While He's Away." "I know this is the last big tour we'll ever do," says Roger Daltrey (Pete Townshend, however, isn't so sure). "We have to be realistic. I want us to stop at the top of our game when we are still really good at what we do."

Tickets: $35-$150

Neil Young

Kevin Mazur/Getty

Neil Young

Dates: July 5th-24th

Openers: Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, Band of Horses, Puss N Boots

Why You Should Go: Neil Young's upcoming protest album The Monsanto Years was recorded with Willie Nelson's sons Mikah Nelson as Lukas Nelson, as well as their backing band Promise of Real. They're nearly 50 years younger than Young, but they found an intense musical connection they plan on bringing to amphitheaters all across North America. A rehearsal show at California bar featured the entire new album along with Young classics like "Country Home," "Walk On" and "Down by the River," but trying to predict what Young will want to play this summer, or even if the tour will go past these initial dates, is impossible to know. "Neil could call me up right now and say, 'We're doing a show in Iraq tomorrow,'" says Micah. "We'd be like, 'OK! Here we go.'" No matter what happens, the Nelson boys are extremely pumped. "As much as you can imagine how fun it would be, just amplify that by 10,000," says Lukas. "And that's close to how we feel as a band. It's almost spiritual."

Tickets: $34.50-$165

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