Whip out the earplugs and credit cards. It is time for hot fun in the summertime as the concert business rolls out a broad variety of stars, lineup configurations and price points in what is expected to become one of the healthiest seasons in years. The industry anticipates a 20% uptick in receipts over 2012, according to Billboard. From veteran heavyweights that the Rolling Stones to the killer double charge of Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z to hip-hop and boy-band package tours, the summer stock caters to every appetite.
Nothing says sexy like a stadium tour, and this season has just one pairing two A-listers: Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake. Modestly titled Legends of Summer, the dynamic duo’s trek launches July 17 in Toronto before coming at New York’s Yankee Stadium on July 19-20. Ten extra cities follow, together with 2 stops in Boston’s Fenway Park (Aug. 10-11) and a finale Aug. 16 at Miami. By that time, Jay-Z’s spouse, BeyoncÃ©, will have completed her own Mrs. Carter entire world tour, which rolls at the USA June 28, in Los Angeles’ Staples Center, where she has a second date July 1. She’ll visit 23 other cities (including 2 in Canada), before wrapping in her hubby’s hometown, with a three-nighter in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center (Aug. 3-5).
Country acts are packing fans into some of the nation’s biggest venues. Earlier this season, Jason Aldean’s Night Train tour gave the University of Georgia’s Sanford Stadium its first concert, along with the singing sports fan has July shows slated for Boston’s Fenway Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field. Kenny Chesney’s No Shoes Nation tour has several soccer stadiums booked for the summer, including Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field, Detroit’s Ford Field and Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. Ticket demand for Taylor Swift’s Red tour along with its own 10 costume changes was so great that Swift had two nights at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field and Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass..
Rascal Flatts may not be playing stadiums on its Live & Loud tour (May 31, Jones Beach, N.Y.; 34 dates), but the trio is encouraging early arrivals with tailgating activities such as games, a dance-off plus a customized off-road vehicle. The Band Perry and The Voice winner Cassadee Pope open. Toby Keith hits the road with his Hammer Down tour (June 8, Ozark, Ark.; 34 dates) and does not let up till Oct. 19 in Laughlin, Nev.. It is his first without longtime bassist Chuck Goff, who died in February.
A few other big names could not begin their tours till midsummer, since they needed to complete their television obligations. Fresh off his year as an American Idol judge, Keith Urban will utilize his Light the Fuse world tour (July 18, Cincinnati; 47 dates) to present music from his forthcoming Fuse record, expected in September. Following Blake Shelton wraps his fourth year on The Voice in June, he will take Easton Corbin and Jana Kramer out due to his Ten Times Crazier tour (July 19, Virginia Beach; 30 dates).
Meanwhile, Luke Bryan will continue to write new chapters Within his Dirt Road Diaries Excursion with Florida Georgia Line and Thompson Square Nicely into October.
And the 28 remaining dates on Brad Paisley’s Conquer This Summer tour promise to be generally high tech affairs, since the guitar slinger has his own mobile program that lovers can use to become part of an interactive light show. — Brian Mansfield
Lil Wayne returns to the road for his America’s Most Wanted tour (July 9, Birmingham, Ala.; 40 dates) and he has heavy hitters T.I. and 2 Chainz in tow. Wayne, who’s had several recent health scares, is supporting his latest album, I’m Not A Human Being II. Meanwhile, the Wiz Khalifa is heading out on his next annual Under the Impact Music excursion (July 17, Mountain View, Calif.; 20 dates). The lineup includes A$AP Rocky, B.o.B, Trinidad James, Joey Bada$$ & Pro Era, Berner, Chevy Woods and Smoke DZA.
For R&B fans, Kelly Rowland and The-Dream are co-headlining that the Lights Out tour (tonight, Philadelphia; 15 dates), which kicked off earlier this week. Record, IV Play, premiered Rowland’s and Tuesday Talk June 18 A Good Game is expected. Newly formed supergroup TGT (crooners Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank), hit the street in their own 3 Kings tour (June 26, Oakland; 17 dates). — Steve Jones
Missed those ticket stampedes? Lots of classic heavyweights have to depart the gate. Bob Dylan’s Americanarama Festival of Music (starts June 26 at West Palm Beach, Fla.; 26 dates) finds the bard sharing a marquee with Wilco, My Morning Jacket, Richard Thompson and Ryan Bingham. Heart is double-billed using Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, along with both acts will end every night with a 30-minute dip into the Zep catalogue (June 17, West Palm Beach; 35 dates). Even sexier is a Black Sabbath outing that reunites 1968 founders Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi for the very first time in 35 years (July 25, Houston; 20 dates).
Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual tour (June 12, San Diego; 23 dates) celebrates that breakout album’s 35th anniversary. On the insides of career-spanning documentary The Annals of the Eagles, the Eagles embark in their History tour (July 6, Louisville; 34 dates), which Don Henley has hinted could be a farewell. And after its next Peach Festival Aug. 16-17 at Scranton, Pa., the Allman Brothers Band attracts Steve Winwood and Grace Potter & the Nocturnals along for select dates on a brief tour (Aug. 20, Chicago; 14 dates). — Edna Gundersen
Boy oh boy oh Boyz! New Kids on the Block and guests 98 Levels and Boyz II Men, three former adolescent ensembles, have just started a pack assault. Really tricky. Tonight they end an opening three-night stand alone in Uncasville, Conn., and will play 45 longer dates. 98 Degrees also hits Milwaukee’s Summerfest on June 26 while NKOTB and the Boyz play the Mixtape festival in Hershey, Pa., on July 27.
Look to give fans a taste of their studio album, anticipated later this year, throughout their first North American tour as 2010. Lead single Pom Poms currently is out, and the excursion starts July 10 at Chicago (26 dates, including Mixtape festival).
Can one of the original teenybopper bands — ’60s TV sensation The Monkees — nevertheless swing it to the concert stage? A small number of reunion dates their first in the USA since 1970, late last year, proved that they can. Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz set out on their Midsummer’s Night trek July 15 in Port Chester, N.Y. (24 dates). — Jerry Shriver
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