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Summer 2016’s 30 Hottest Tours

Beyoncé gets in Formation, Axl does double duty and much more

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In the coming months, a massive array of major artists will take to the road or continue in-progress trips. In addition to tours from pop royalty (Beyoncé, Adele) and resurgent rockers (Guns N' Roses, Blink-182), many acts are pooling their resources to create unstoppable package shows (Drake and Future, Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato, Weezer and Panic! at the Disco). Here are the 30 tours we're most excited about this summer.

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NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 25: Ozzy Osbourne performs with Black Sabbath onstage at Madison Square Garden on February 25, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Black Sabbath

August 17th-September 24th

A couple years shy of their 50th anniversary, Black Sabbath will continue their long goodbye in August for what may be their last-ever trek across North America. As with the first leg of the tour – a farewell jaunt ominously dubbed "The End" – this past winter, founding members Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler will be joined by touring drummer Tommy Clufetos (original drummer Bill Ward is not participating due to a contract dispute). But lineup changes have not stymied the heavy-metal firebrands from putting on stunning shows filled with their headbangingest hits ("Iron Man," "Paranoid," "War Pigs") and doomiest deep cuts ("Hand of Doom," "Dirty Women"). And despite the grandness of staging a farewell tour – the group has yet to confirm its last-ever concert – Osbourne says it's not about legacy. To him, it's about honoring the fans. "The very fact that people remember us today is enough for me," he says. "There ain't many bands that I know that have lasted as long as Black Sabbath have and are still considered somewhat relevant." 

Gwen Stefani; summer 2016, concerts summer 2016, tour summer 2016, festivals 2016, summer 16 tour, beyonce tour, axl rose acdc

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 05: Singer Gwen Stefani performs onstage during KIIS FM's Jingle Ball 2014 powered by LINE at Staples Center on December 5, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Christopher Polk/Getty

Gwen Stefani

July 12th-October 15th

Stefani knows she's out of practice. "My stomach is nervous," she says, looking ahead to her first major solo tour in a decade. "I haven't toured in so long." After a break in which she had three kids and became a coach on The Voice, the singer is excited to return with a new band. She'll play her old solo hits and debut songs from her confessional new album, which addresses the breakup of her marriage to Gavin Rossdale. "Even singing these songs is going to be healing," she says. "Because a lot of the music is so joyful and full of hope. It's pretty magical, I have to say."

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COMMERCE CITY, CO - SEPTEMBER 04: Trey Anastasio, Jonathan Fishman, and Mike Gordon of Phish perform during their sold-out three-night end to their 2015 Summer Tour at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on September 4, 2015 in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Taylor Hill/Getty

Phish

June 22nd-September 4th

Last summer, Trey Anastasio joined the Grateful Dead for their Fare Thee Well concerts before spending the rest of the year on the road with Phish. "By New Year's, I just felt so loose," he says. "It reminds me of 1994, 1995. I kinda miss that." Phish took that energy into the studio all winter, recording songs Anastasio expects to debut on the road. "We're firing on all cylinders," says Anastasio. "Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we all turned 50, but there's a patience and a desire to really hear what the other band members have to say."

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Christopher Polk/Getty, Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty

Bob Dylan/Mavis Staples

June 4th-August 14th

As a teenager, Dylan loved Staple Singers records. "I said to myself, ‘One day, you'll be standing with your arm around that girl,'" he said of Mavis Staples last year. (After they met in the Sixties, he famously proposed to her.) Now, they're reuniting for a 27-date tour of outdoor venues. Staples expects to delve into her late-Sixties Stax catalog, and Dylan has been focusing recently on post-1997 material. "I hope Bobby won't hide from me," Staples told Rolling Stone. "I might ask him, ‘If we get into a hotel that has a kitchenette, would you want me to cook for you?' I'll fix him whatever he wants."

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LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Chris Stapleton performs on day 3 of C2C - Country 2 Country festival at The O2 Arena on March 13, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Joseph Okpako/Getty Images)

Joseph Okpako/Getty

Chris Stapleton

Through October 22nd

Last year, Stapleton became the biggest new artist in country music with his platinum-selling Traveler. On his first major tour, he's inviting friends Jason Isbell and veteran hell-raiser Hank Williams Jr. to open select shows. Stapleton's band will include a rotating cast of country vets like harmonica player Mickey Raphael (of Willie Nelson's band) and pedal steel virtuoso Robby Turner (who once toured with Waylon Jennings). Expect lots of jamming, and covers ranging from Tom Petty to Prince. "I don't know if we're a direct fit for anything," says Stapleton. "So that makes it OK for us to do everything."

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NEW YORK, NY - MAY 21: Sean "Diddy" Combs aka Puff Daddy performs onstage during the Puff Daddy and The Family Bad Boy Reunion Tour presented by Ciroc Vodka and Live Nation at Barclays Center on May 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Live Nation )

Kevin Mazur/Getty

Bad Boy Reunion

August 25th-October 8th

Considering the family-like atmosphere established by Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs with his groundbreaking label Bad Boy Records, it's surprising it took this long for him to take his hefty, iconic roster out on the road in one big group. For this trek, he's brought together everyone from Lil Kim to Faith Evans to the Lox in order to continue celebrating two decades of one of hip-hop's most influential labels. In true Puff fashion, he got the party started a little early in order to commemorate what would have been Notorious B.I.G.'s 44th birthday with a May 20th Brooklyn gig complete with honorary Bad Boy artists Mary J. Blige and Jay Z. Fans across North America will have to wait until August, when the proper tour launches, to witness a piece of hip-hop history.

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Sting/Peter Gabriel

June 21st-July 24th

Sting and Gabriel first hit the road together for a series of benefit gigs for Amnesty International in 1986. A successful 2014 tour with Paul Simon inspired Sting to reunite with Gabriel for collaborative evenings heavy on the hits. "We'll hopefully find something unexpected and intriguing between us," says Sting. "It's going to be serious fun!"

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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

June 29th-August 6th

As they prepare to hit the road for their sixth joint tour, Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato are at the top of their respective games. Jonas — whose solo career post-JoBros is settling in nicely — is preparing to release his most provocative album yet with Last Year Was Complicated while Lovato has repeatedly established herself as one of the most powerful voices of this pop generation, having showed off her range on last year's Confident. The pair have seen each other grow up from Disney to adulthood, and now they're paving their own, mature pop lanes and even acting as business partners with their collaborative label, Safehouse. "The key for us was about living in the moment," Jonas said during the announcement of the Future Now Tour earlier this year. "Taking a step out individually over the last year and a half, two years, growing with our fans, and saying if there's ever a time to do it, it's now, to come together and do this tour."

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AUSTIN, TX - APRIL 30: Recording artist Miranda Lambert performs during the 2016 iHeartCountry Festival at The Frank Erwin Center on April 30, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Ethan Miller/Getty

Miranda Lambert

Through September 17th

Lambert has been working classic-rock covers – Foghat's "Slow Ride," Mountain's "Mississippi Queen" – into her sets of country hits. Recent gigs have been highly emotional affairs, in the wake of her divorce from Blake Shelton. "My main concern is being real and genuine," she says. "I usually wear jeans or shorts and a T-shirt, and I just go sing my heart out. Sweat and tears, guitars and beer. That about sums it up!"

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Mark Horton/WireImage/Getty, Taylor Hill/Getty

Weezer/Panic! at the Disco

June 10th-August 6th

Weezer's 1994 debut helped kick-start the emo movement that gave birth to Panic! at the Disco, so it's fitting the bands are going to hit the amphitheater circuit for a cross-generational tour. Weezer just released a California-pop LP that's perfect for summer nights, and Panic! surprised the world earlier this year with a chart-topping comeback album, Death of a Bachelor. "Panic! fans are super open-minded," says Rivers Cuomo. "So it's going to be a huge lovefest."

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Slipknot/Marilyn Manson

June 9th-August 5th

Two of the most twisted shock rockers to emerge from the Nineties will tour together again this summer for the first time since Ozzfest 2001. It's a perfect match, according to Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor. "He's so good at that reactionary rock & roll," the masked singer said of Manson in an interview with Rolling Stone this year. "Slipknot holds down the metal side of that where no matter who you are, you listen to our music and it elicits a response … some kind of way for us to feel." It's a mutual respect that goes back over a decade. In 2001, Manson said he championed bringing Slipknot onto the Ozzfest bill because he liked "the fact that they are very nihilistic and there's a lot of chaos in their show." At the time, he said both bands were "two of only a few bands that have a genuine attitude in what we do." All these years later – as each artist tours on albums that signified rebirths (stylistically for Manson, emotionally for Slipknot) – it's a distinction that still rings true.

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Mauricio Santana/Getty

Florence and the Machine

May 24th-July 3rd

As Florence and the Machine have graduated to larger stages in recent years, frontwoman Florence Welch has become an onstage dynamo. On the first leg of the group's tour supporting its latest LP, last year's cinematic and emotional breakup record How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, the singer pulled ballerina shapes, ran around barefoot and even charged audiences topless all as an expression of primal freedom. She and her multi-person rock orchestra return in May for an expansive North American trek that finds them playing amphitheaters and arenas, venues where Welch can stretch out and test her mettle. "It's almost like I'm trying to fly," she tells Rolling Stone of her high-performance onstage athleticism. "I always imagine that one day I would just run and take off. There's just so much adrenaline going, so the mortality of your body is sort of inconsequential. Just like, 'Fuck it. Go!'" 

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Jeff Beck/Buddy Guy

July 19th-August 20th

Two of the greatest living guitarists will be sharing a co-headlining bill on a tour that runs from July into August. Last year, Buddy Guy – the man Keith Richards recently proclaimed "the top honcho now" – put out Born to Play Guitar, an album of 14 six-string burners, including a tribute to late bluesman B.B. King. This summer, Jeff Beck will release Loud Hailer, his first LP in six years, an album that will find him playing rock, soul, funk, electronic music and, of course, the blues. That said, don't expect to hear a lot of Beck's new wizardry on the road right off the bat. "We're going to do the usual thing and start the show to get it rolling," he recently told a press conference. "Then when it's safe, we're going to start with the new stuff." As for the new tunes, fans should expect more traditional songs over his typical instrumental rock orchestras. "What you hear is just the most genuine album I could come up with rather than a bunch of musos trying to gas each other out with as many notes at they could possibly play," he says.

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LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 15: (L-R) Actor/musician Johnny Depp, singer Alice Cooper and musician Joe Perry of Hollywood Vampires perform onstage during The 58th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 15, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Kevork Djansezian/Getty

Hollywood Vampires

May 24th-July 25th

What began as a supergroup recording project has become a full-fledged band. Hollywood Vampires originally came together as means for its core members – Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp and Joe Perry – to toast what the shock-rock icon describes as his "dead drunk friends." Now they've committed to an 18-date summer tour, which begins with one date in May and then many more in July. "Apparently, Johnny's not making any movies this summer," Cooper tells Rolling Stone with a big laugh. "I think he loves playing rock & roll more than he does making movies." The band primarily plays gritty rock cover songs, which the singer says is an homage to each of the musicians' roots. "Every band that's ever made it was a bar band at some point," Cooper says. "It was a band that played four hours a night and had to do 'Mustang Sally' and every dance song that ever was, and that's how a band gets good. It's an old tradition to go back to that and be a bar band again, only we're a pretty big bar band."

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Kevin Mazur/Getty, Kevin Kane/WireImage

Joan Jett/Cheap Trick/Heart

July 14th-September 23rd

The three bands – all recent Rock Hall inductees – will unite for the Rock Hall Three for All amphitheater tour. "It's going to be a blast," says Jett.

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DOVER, DE - JUNE 21: Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots performs during day 3 of the Firefly Music Festival on June 21, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Firefly Music Festival)

Theo Wargo/Getty

21 Pilots

July 17th-August 11th

The chart-topping duo will tour arenas with a spectacle that includes stage dives and backflips. "These shows deserve to be special," says singer Tyler Joseph.

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SiriusXM's Town Hall With Don Henley Hosted By Bob Seger At Austin City Limits Live At The Moody Theater In Austin, TX

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Don Henley

July 17th-September 21st

Henley promises to include Eagles hits on his set list, which will be more poignant in light of Glenn Frey's death earlier this year.

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ZZ Top/
Gregg Allman

August 16th-October 7th

These two first toured together in 1971. Billy Gibbons expects to build on the camaraderie with epic jams like "Whipping Post." "There's going to be nothing but loudness and rock & roll in the forefront," he says.

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NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 27: Frederick "Toots" Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals performs during the 2012 Voodoo Experience at City Park on October 27, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Douglas Mason/Getty Images)

Douglas Mason/Getty

Toots & the Maytals

June 15th-August 13th

After three years off the road recovering from a stage injury, the reggae pioneer will bring classics like "Pressure Drop" to festivals and clubs. "I'm a little anxious," says Toots Hibbert. "I can't wait. … We have the best fans. They know it's going to be a party, and they expect us to be tight every night."

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