Summer 2017’s Hottest Tours: Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga and More – Rolling Stone
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Summer 2017’s Hottest Tours: Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga, Metallica and More

Also: Bruno Mars’ funk party, U2’s ‘Joshua Tree’ encore and other must-see shows making the rounds

2017 Tours: Kendrick Lamar, Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga

Read our round-up of the summer's hottest tours, including Bruno Mars, Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar and many more.

Al Pereira/WireImage/Getty, Chelsea Lauren/Rex, Christopher Polk/Getty

Summer is when music’s biggest names hit the road with their grandest spectacles, and 2017 is no exception. The coming months will see tours from pop superstars (Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars), rock heavyweights (The Who, Metallica, Green Day), hip-hop chart-toppers (Future, Kendrick Lamar) and tons more. Read on for the highlights of what’s shaping up to be a stellar season for live music.

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 11: Lady Gaga performs at Staples Center on August 11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Lady Gaga

Jason Merritt/Getty

Lady Gaga

August 1st–December 18th
Tickets $46–$281

officially graduated from arenas to stadiums at the Super Bowl, where she
reminded the world she’s one of pop’s best performers. She previewed her
upcoming 41-date Joanne tour at Coachella, bringing flames, fireworks,
dancers and plenty of sentimentality, like when she sat at the piano and
delivered a soulful “The Edge of Glory.” 

LAS VEGAS, NV - October 31: Trey Anastasio;Page McConnell of Phish performs David Bowie's 'Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars' live on stage at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on October 31, 2016 in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Phish - Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


July 14th–September 3rd
Tickets $50–$75

On a map, Phish’s 2017 summer tour looks unusually short: just five cities. That’s because 13 of the 21 shows are in one room, New York’s Madison Square Garden. Dubbed “The Baker’s Dozen,” the Garden dates will be the most Phish have played in a row in one venue since their club days. “We feel comfortable there,” singer-guitarist Trey Anastasio says of the arena, where Phish’s end-of-year runs are
already a tradition. “If you played me five different tapes, I would be
able to pick out the Garden. It has a reverberation you can feel.” So far,
there hasn’t been much discussion about repertoire or potential guests. “There
are conversations like, ‘Maybe we should plan this,'” Anastasio says. “And
the next conversation will be, ‘Maybe we shouldn’t plan anything.'” Ultimately,
that “relaxed feeling is the point of a residency. Relaxed is good.”

LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 23: Recording artists The Edge (L) and Bono of music group U2 perform onstage at the 2016 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 23, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images)

U2 - The Edge, Bono

John Shearer/Getty


Through August 1st
Tickets $32–$280

When U2 first toured for The Joshua Tree in
1987, the band was struggling with its new fame and how to mount a stadium
show. “I, for one, didn’t enjoy it,” says bassist Adam Clayton. “This
summer is almost an opportunity to take it back.” The band looks forward
to readdressing the grandeur of songs like “Where the Streets Have No Name”
and “Mothers of the Disappeared,” which took aim at Ronald Reagan’s
devastating foreign policy. “There’s an element of nostalgia that we can’t
avoid,” says the Edge. “But it’s not motivated by a desire to look
backward. It’s almost like this album has come full circle.”

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Bruno Mars performs onstage during The 59th GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for NARAS)

Bruno Mars

Kevin Mazur/Getty

Bruno Mars

July 15th–November 11th
Tickets $75–$200 

“I’m dripping from the first song till the end,” says Mars, backstage in Birmingham, England, discussing his furiously physical 24K Magic world tour. To match the throwback vibe of his latest album, Mars is forgoing high-tech production in favor of old-school showmanship. That means lots of dancing, his eight-piece band often changing arrangements on the fly, and no distractions: “I got no time to put together gimmicks and robots and all that stuff – I want to go out and sing.” 

INDIO, CA - APRIL 23: Kendrick Lamar performs on the Coachella Stage during day 3 (Weekend 2) of the Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 23, 2017 in Indio, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)

Kendrick Lamar

Kevin Winter/Getty

Kendrick Lamar

July 6th–August 18th
Tickets $74–$170

last extensive solo tour was in 2013. Since then, he’s released two classic LPs
and one mixtape, and he played music from all of them during this year’s
headlining set at Coachella. In an era of flashy arena hip-hop tours, Lamar
kept the focus on his music, appearing onstage alone, rapping with explosive
energy on sing-alongs like the Black Lives Matter anthem “Alright.”

SACRAMENTO, CA - OCTOBER 04: Paul McCartney performs at the Grand Opening of the new Golden 1 Center on October 4, 2016 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/WireImage)

Paul McCartney

Steve Jennings/WireImage

Paul McCartney

July 5th–October 2nd
Tickets $30–$350

can think of only one reason he’s able to play three-hour shows at age 74. “I
like doing it,” he says. “Once you get in front of an audience
– and I’ve experienced this many times – it charges your battery.” He’s
promising a “refreshed” version of 2016’s One on One Tour, hitting
cities he’s never played, like Wichita, Kansas. His favorite moments include “A
Hard Day’s Night” (“That opening chord is still a thrill”) and “Live
and Let Die,” which takes the end of the night to a new level. “All
the girls in the audience say, ‘You don’t even have a sip of water.’ Can you
imagine the Beatles stopping: ‘Excuse me, glug-glug-glug’? I’m not raised in
the ‘drink water’ school.” 

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 12: (L-R) Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett of Metallica perform live on stage at Lincoln Financial Field on May 12, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images)


Lisa Lake/Getty


Through August 16th
Tickets $59–$159

Lars Ulrich says the band was inspired to launch its first U.S. stadium tour in
14 years after seeing the success of early-Nineties tourmates Guns N’ Roses. “I
was like, ‘OK, let’s put our balls on the line and see if anybody comes,'”
Ulrich says with a laugh. Metallica will bring the hits, plus a heavy dose of
their new LP, Hardwired … to Self-Destruct. Says Ulrich, “In 35
years, I’d never heard the sentence ‘Why are you not playing more new songs?’
until this tour cycle.”

INGLEWOOD, CA - MARCH 05: Musician Ed Sheeran performs onstage at the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards which broadcast live on Turner's TBS, TNT, and truTV at The Forum on March 5, 2017 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Ed Sheeran

Kevin Mazur/Getty

Ed Sheeran

July 29th–October 7th
Tickets $40–$100

scoring the first platinum LP of 2017, Sheeran is taking his one-man show to 60
arenas, which he calls “practice” for a stadium run next year. “I
don’t care what artists say about intimate gigs,” Sheeran says. “They’re
not as fun.”

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 02: Singer Justin Bieber performs onstage during 102.7 KIIS FM's Jingle Ball 2016 presented by Capital One at Staples Center on December 2, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Justin Bieber

Mike Windle/Getty

Justin Bieber

July 29th–September 6th
Tickets $50–$180

Purpose tour has had rocky moments, like when the singer stormed
offstage in England, blaming screaming fans. Lately, Bieber is “in a
really good space,” says Debra Rathwell, of promoter AEG. Bieber is ending
the $200-million-grossing tour with a nine-date stadium run that works in covers
like Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” alongside megahits such as “Sorry.”
“It’s a party on steroids,” says Rathwell.

AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 02: Chris Stapleton performs during the Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park on October 2, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Erika Goldring/FilmMagic)

Chris Stapleton

Erika Goldring/FilmMagic

Chris Stapleton

Through November 18th
Tickets $30–$70

Following 2015’s double-platinum Traveller, Stapleton is releasing two albums this year. He will also mount one of the most ambitious country tours ever: The All-American Road Show includes Marty Stuart, Margo Price and a gigantic speaker system that is shaped like a band shell and produces studio-quality sound. “We don’t have lasers or things blowing up,” Stapleton says. “I want people to come to our show to listen.”

INDIO, CA - OCTOBER 16: Musicians Roger Daltrey (L) and Pete Townshend of The Who perform during Desert Trip at the Empire Polo Field on October 16, 2016 in Indio, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

The Who - Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend

Frazer Harrison/Getty

The Who

July 13th–September 23rd
Tickets $46–$501

Townshend was surprised by the crowds on the band’s recent 50th-anniversary
tour. “We were playing to a much larger number of younger people,” he
says. “It’s a real kick.” Now, the Who are hitting smaller cities,
along with a six-night Vegas residency. Expect lots of Tommy: The band
has been working in tracks like “Christmas” and “1921” for
the first time since 1989. “Maybe it’s because I can see the end,”
Townshend says. “But it means more to me.”

NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 25: Tom Petty of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performs during their 40th Anniversary Tour at Bridgestone Arena on April 25, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Sacks & Co)

Tom Petty

Rick Diamond/Getty

Tom Petty

Through September 17th
Tickets $39–$150

want to make it celebratory,” says Petty of the Heartbreakers’
40th-anniversary tour. Inspired by deep-cut-packed theater shows he played in
2013, Petty is working in gems like the rave-up “Rockin’ Around (With
You),” which he hadn’t played since 1983, and several Wildflowers songs,
which he reconnected with while working on a box set. Petty, 66, calls this his
“last trip around the country,” but concedes he’s unlikely to quit
completely: “I need something to do, or I tend to be a nuisance around the

INDIO, CA - APRIL 16: Rapper Future performs on the Coachella stage during day 3 of the Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival (Weekend 1) at the Empire Polo Club on April 16, 2017 in Indio, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Coachella)


Christopher Polk/Getty


Through June 30th
Tickets $35–$125

tour with Drake last summer was the top-grossing hip-hop tour of all time, making
$84 million. Now, after he scored two Number One albums in March, the rapper is
headlining his own tour, bringing along opening acts Migos and Young Thug. “This
tour is about my whole journey,” says Future, “so expect all the

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 09: Billy Joel performs live on stage at Madison Square Garden on August 9, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images)

Billy Joel

Matthew Eisman/Getty

Billy Joel

Through September 21st
Tickets $50–$140

Billy Joel wrote “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)” in
the Seventies, he had no idea he’d still be playing stadiums the year that song
was set. “There’s a whole new thing going on,” says Joel, referring
to the bigger crowds he’s seen since he returned to the road in 2013 after a
long break to recover from hip surgery. “There’s offers coming in from
everywhere. It’s like, ‘Is everybody else quitting?'” Lately, he’s been
mixing in covers like James Brown’s “I Feel Good,” and his continuing
monthly residency at Madison Square Garden has caused him to resurrect lost
classics like 1980’s “Sleeping With the Television On.” “It’s
almost absurd to me that I can play a stadium,” he says. “I don’t
jump around like Jagger. I just sit there at the piano and bang out the tunes.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11: John Mayer performs at The O2 Arena on May 11, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Matthew Baker/Getty Images)

John Mayer

Matthew Baker/Getty

John Mayer

July 18th–September 3rd
Tickets $36–$150

stumbled into one of the coolest setups a guy could have in a music career,”
says Mayer, who will play shows all summer as a guitarist in Dead & Company
and as a solo act. He says last year’s Dead tour has caused him to rethink
performing: He is breaking the night into “chapters” that include
full-band and acoustic segments. His favorite part? A set with his blues trio,
which includes Steve Jordan and Pino Palladino. “The first time the trio
makes a sound, even I’m not ready for it,” Mayer says.

INGLEWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 11: Billie Joe Armstrong of the band Green Day performs onstage at 106.7 KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas 2016 - Night 2 at The Forum on December 11, 2016 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for CBS Radio)

Green Day

Kevin Winter/Getty

Green Day

August 1st–September 16th
Tickets $15–$99

the band has toned down political talk for new songs, fun Sixties-rock medleys
and Nineties hits. “I want people to have a great experience away from the
news,” says Billie Joe Armstrong. “Let’s have a human experience and
rub up against each other.”

EAST HAMPTON, NY - AUGUST 20: Lionel Richie performs onstage at the Apollo in the Hamptons 2016 party at The Creeks on August 20, 2016 in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images); NEW ORLEANS, LA - JULY 02: Recording artist Mariah Carey performs on stage during the 2016 Essence Festival at the Louisiana Superdome on July 2, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

Lionel Richie; Mariah Carey

Patrick McMullan, Paras Griffin/Getty

Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey

July 21st–September 5th
Tickets $39–$399

says he was shocked when Carey agreed to tour with him. Though they’re still
working out the set, they will each perform separately, with likely duets in
the middle. “I think this is going to be one of the most exciting tours I’ve
been on – next to the great Tina Turner,” Richie says. 

CHULA VISTA, CA - JULY 27: (L-R) Musicians John Mayer, Bill Kreutzmann, and Bob Weir of Dead & Company perform on stage at Sleep Train Amphitheatre on July 27, 2016 in Chula Vista, California. (Photo by Daniel Knighton/FilmMagic)

Jay Blakesburg

Dead & Company

Through July 1st
Tickets $35–$175

a different experience than last year, though Bob Weir is cryptic on details: “The
premise we’re working with is when most people go to a show, they’re watching a
movie on the big screen in their head. We’re going to try to play to that.”

INDIO, CA - OCTOBER 09: Musician Roger Waters (C) performs during Desert Trip at The Empire Polo Club on October 9, 2016 in Indio, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Desert Trip)

Roger Waters

Kevin Mazur/Getty

Roger Waters

May 26th–October 28th
Tickets $32–$249

is promoting his first rock album in 25 years, but he’s promising a “75-25”
ratio of Pink Floyd and solo gems to new songs, and “over 400 feet of
projection.” “We’re doing rock & roll, but it’s also theater,”
he has said. “We care about it.”

NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT - JUNE 12: Adam Lambert, Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen + Adam Lambert perform on stage at Seaclose Park on June 12, 2016 in Newport, Isle of Wight. (Photo by Mark Holloway/Redferns)

Queen - Adam Lambert, Brian May and Roger Taylor

Mark Holloway/Redferns

Queen + Adam Lambert

June 23rd–August 5th
Tickets $43–$270

“There will be no holograms,” Queen guitarist Brian May assures fans of how the band will be paying tribute to Freddie Mercury on the band’s upcoming arena dates with Adam Lambert. “But there will be a retrospective element that connects to the glory days of when Freddie was with us. There will be echoes from the past in a new way.” As for just what that means, though, he’s keeping silent so as to surprise fans. That said, he says set lists will skew toward “vintage Americana Queen,” meaning classics like “We Will Rock You.” “I remember Prince saying, ‘Too many hits, too many hits,’ which is a good problem to have,” he says, “but we’ll be throwing in a few songs people won’t have seen live for a very long time.” That’s all right with Lambert, who has been singing with the band since their 2009 American Idol performance together and likes the collaborative nature of the pairing. ” We are a band when we get onstage at this point,” he says. “We have that thing where you can look at each other and there’s an unspoken communication that happens. It’s pretty exciting.”

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Singer Don Henley performs onstage during MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Tom Petty at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 10, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)

Don Henley

Lester Cohen/WireImage

Don Henley

June 6th–July 29th
Tickets $72–$185

Henley is taking a 15-piece band on a solo tour, playing Eagles songs, solo cuts and telling the stories behind them. It ends with a 70th-birthday gig on July 22nd in Dallas with special guests.

DENVER, CO - APRIL 1: Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac performs during the band's "On With The Show" tour at the Pepsi Center April 1, 2015, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Daniel Petty/The Denver Post via Getty Images); LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 27: Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac performs live at The O2 Arena on May 27, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Getty Images)

Lindsey Buckingham; Christine McVie

Daniel Petty/The Denver Post, Samir Hussein/Getty

Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie

June 2nd–July 27th
Tickets $25–$190

duo wanted to continue the chemistry they rekindled on Fleetwood Mac’s last
tour. Expect plenty of hits. “They’d run us out on a rail if we didn’t do them,”
Buckingham says.