Tour Preview: Why 2012 Is Shaping Up to Be a Monster Year – Rolling Stone
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Tour Preview: Why 2012 Is Shaping Up to Be a Monster Year

Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, Madonna and more are planning to hit the road

2012 tours

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The ancient Mayans supposedly predicted that the world was going to end in 2012. That might explain why so many giant touring acts seem to be hitting the road next year. (They want to make their money while they still can.) Some acts like U2 and AC/DC may be taking the year off, but many of the other biggest names in the business seem to be gearing up for tours – even if they publicly refuse to admit it at this point. Here's a guide to the biggest (likely) tours of 2012.

By Andy Greene

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

The Who

The Who have been largely inactive since a short Australian tour in early 2009, but Pete Townshend has been talking up a Quadrophenia tour next year. "I've been nagging Roger for quite a time to get this show out," Townshend recently told Billboard. "And now it looks like we will probably tour." They last played the 1973 rock opera during a 1996/97 tour, but last year they did a one-off at the Royal Albert Hall with special guest Eddie Vedder. 

Likelihood: 80 percent. Just because Pete says they are touring today, doesn't mean he won't change his mind tomorrow. That said, he's been saying this for months and months now. Daltrey said he's on board, so this seems like a pretty safe bet.

bruce springsteen

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Bruce Springsteen

On November 20th, word came down that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were going to tour Europe from the middle of May through late July. "Info on the US dates and the World tour dates will coming up shortly," read the post on Springsteen's official website. A new album is also on the verge of being announced, so expect Springsteen so spend much of 2012 on the road. There's no word on how the group will deal with the absence of Clarence Clemons, but don't be shocked to see them employ a full horn section. 

Likelihood: 100 percent. This thing has been announced. There's no timeline for the American run, but we hear it's probably going to hit U.S. arenas in March and April. 

brian wilson

JSN Photography

The Beach Boys

This is a real tough one to get a solid read on. The Beach Boys celebrated their 50th anniversary this year, but it's easy enough to fudge the dates and celebrate it next year. We've heard over and over again that Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and Mike Love are going to put aside their differences and reform for a reunion tour next year. Word is that arenas are being booked around America for 2012. Also, the absence of a single date for Mike Love's Beach Boys, Jardine or Wilson next year is jarring. 

Likelihood: 80 percent. This seems like a lock, but these guys really hate each other. It's possible to imagine it all falling apart, but they may be past the point where that is feasible.


Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


Unlike these other bands, Radiohead actually have tour dates officially on the books for 2012. They kick things off February 27th in Miami and wrap up that leg April 15th in Glendale, Arizona. That's just the beginning of a year-long jaunt. An appearance at Coachella doesn't seem out of the question, but that's just sheer speculation on our part. The timing seems to work out though.

Likelihood: 99.9 percent. It's always possible that Thom Yorke will freak out about the tour's carbon footprint and call the whole thing off . . . but this tour is happening.

black sabbath

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Black Sabbath

Only the Download Festival is officially on the books for 2012, but the band held a press conference recently and confirmed that a new album and world tour were slated for next year. The only question now is the setlist. The last few tours featured little beyond obvious hits like "Paranoid," "Iron Man" and "War Pigs." Hopefully they're going to broaden it out a little this time. Here's hoping for "Sabbra Cadabra," "Killing Yourself To Life" and "Into The Void."

Likelihood: 99.9 percent. Unless Ozzy drops dead, this is happening.

van halen

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Van Halen

Van Halen had an Australian festival tour booked for next year, but it was cancelled by the promotors when they failed to line up other headliners. Clearly, Van Halen are going to tour next year. They just signed to Interscope and a new album is supposedly imminent. 

Likelihood: 80 percent. Their 2007 reunion tour was pushed back a few months so Eddie could go to rehab. Assuming he's staying off the sauce, this tour is probably happening. If they run into trouble with the album, however, it might get pushed back to 2013. But that seems unlikely.

kenny chesney

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Kenny Chesney/Tim McGraw

U2 and the Rolling Stones may get all the press, but one of the most reliable stadium acts on the road is Kenny Chesney. Throw Tim McGraw onto the bill and you've got yourself a mega tour. Back in the day, Chesney opened for McGraw – but things have changed and now Chesney is closing out the show.

Likelihood: 100 percent. A 19-date stadium tour has already been announced.

roger waters

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Roger Waters

My god, this has been one gigantic tour. Waters spent much of 2010 and 2011 bringing the Wall around the world – but he's just getting started. He has 64 dates lined up for 2012. That includes stops at baseball stadiums all across America, and a hell of a lot of arenas. "They're trying to get me back to Europe next year," Waters told Rolling Stone earlier this year. "But I think I'll be completely cooked by the end of July next year." If 64 Wall shows doesn't cook him, we don't know what would. 

Likelihood: 100 percent. The only question is whether or not he decides to do even more.

neil diamond

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Neil Diamond

The Diamond hit Australia and Europe in 2011, but didn't stray onto American soil. This summer he's launching an extensive American tour of arenas and ampitheaters. Neil is 70 years old, but he still puts on a powerful show. 

Likelihood: 100 percent. This thing is on the books. It looks like there's a Madison Square Garden-sized hole after his show at Jones Beach, so New York City shows seem quite possible. They may just be waiting for Jones Beach to sell out before announcing them, but that's just complete speculation. 

dave matthews band

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Dave Matthews Band

The Dave Matthews Band publicly announced that 2011 was going to be a rare off year for then, even though they wound up throwing a bunch of festivals. Word is they are going to return to the summer shed circuit in the summer of 2012, but nothing has been announced so far.

Likelihood: 85 percent. These guys have grossed the GDP of many mid-sized nations over the past 20 years. No way they're going to stop.


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You didn't think that break-up was for real, did you? They were clearly plotting a comeback that whole time. The days of five-months slogs are over, but Phish have been touring every year since their reunion in 2009. A four-night stand is booked at Madison Square Garden in late December of this year, but expect short bursts of activity throughout 2012.

Likelihood: 90 percent. Nothing is on the books, but we're talking about Phish here. They tend to go out and play live.

the eagles

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The Eagles

According to Joe Walsh, the Eagles are going to celebrate their 40th anniversary in the second half of 2012. "We’ve archived so much stuff from the band’s early days, concert footage and film and interviews and stuff," Walsh says. "We’re going to put a show, kind of a retrospect show together around that. But it’s a new show because everybody’s seen our show, so we have to put together something new. And the 40-year anniversary theme will work well and be valid. So we’re putting that together and that’ll probably take four or five months."

Likelihood: 95 percent. Who are we to call Joe Walsh a liar? The thing is, 40 years ago the Eagles have a pretty different line-up. They should suck it up and invite Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon out on the road. Hell, even suck it up big time and invite Don Felder back. Sure, you hate his guts – but it would make for a much better show. The anniversary should be celebrated by all seven Eagles. (There's about a .0001 percent chance that Don and Glenn will agree with that assessment.)

stevie nicks

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Fleetwood Mac

Let's allow Lindsey Buckingham to comment on the possibility of Fleetwood Mac touring next year. "We're doing something for sure," the Fleetwood Mac guitarist told Rolling Stone in August. "I wouldn't be shocked if it was a tour and possibly an album. We'll have to wait and see. Nothing is on the books right now. With Fleetwood Mac, there's a lot of landmines out there politically and it's hard to get everybody on the same page at the same time – but I think this might be one of those years where everyone will want to do the same thing. Whatever that is."

Likelihood: 60 percent. This could easily move into 2013 – especially if they decide to cut an album first. Also, it was widely reported that they were going to tour stadiums with the Eagles in the summer of 2010, and that didn't happen.


Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


Coldplay are one of the few rock acts to emerge within the last decade that had successfully made the leap to arenas. They can even fill stadiums in Europe. They played a bunch of festival dates this year and are hitting European arenas this December. The only 2012 dates on the books right now are U.K. stadiums in May and June, but there's almost certainly a U.S. arena run coming.

Likelihood: 99 percent. They have a new album out, and they've been very clear that they're supporting it on the road.

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