While many are looking towards 2017 and all of the daily announcements of who will be hitting the road next, it isn't too late to remember the best of this year. 2016 was chock full of excellent tours, ranging from the usual to the wildly unexpected. With so many great acts hitting the road, choosing a roundup of the 10 best tours is challenging, but here are the top contenders.
A surprising break out in 2016, Icelandic group Kaleo saw their fame skyrocket this year, and their live shows are part of their appeal. Starting out 2016 in some of the nation's smallest clubs, by year's end, nearly every date Kaleo played on the "Way Down We Go" tour was sold out, and the band is poised to return in 2017 to much bigger venues. The band's raw power and driving sound that blends the best of rock and folk appealed to fans, and their cinematically impressive music videos drew in fans from the Internet.
9. The Cure
After performing at most of North America's biggest festivals over the past decade, but neglecting to do a proper world tour, The Cure surprised many fans in 2016 by hitting the road for 33 dates at major cities across the US. The band came together to bring fans of over 30 decades a perfect compilation of their hits across the decades. Proving that they are still relevant in an ever changing musical scene, the only disappointment offered by The Cure's tour was that it didn't cover more cities.
Hot on the heels of a sparkling new album, The Lumineers stayed busy throughout 2016 on their "Cleopatra World Tour." Having grown in both sound and stage depth, the band melded their rather serious lyrical content into an enjoyable fanfare for fans who came out to see them in person all year. Look for The Lumineers to continue touring North America in 2017, including some dates with the aforementioned band Kaleo, which should put them in contention for 2017's best tours as well. In the mean time, the band has managed to stay relevant throughout the Christmas season with a hit cover.
One of the most prevalent live acts of the past decade, Rihanna touring in 2016 was no surprise. However, her "Anti World Tour" is one of her best yet, with 75 shows across the world giving the solo artist a chance to hone her dance rhythm in front of massive live audiences. Never disappointing in production value, Rihanna's stage performance is perhaps one of the biggest on this list, featuring B-stages, a wall of bubbles, and guests including the occasional performance by Canadian rapper Drake.
One of classic rock's most enduring acts, it came as a surprise when AC/DC returned in 2015-6 for the "Rock Or Bust Tour," which even featured a stint with Axl Rose on vocals after Brian Johnson had to take medical leave. AC/DC spent most of 2016 ranked as the best selling live act on the road, a follow up to 2015 when they were also ranked the top selling tour, a title they can potentially reclaim. Fans flocked out to see the old pros rip up the stage in 2016, apt to not miss out on a chance to see the band before they could potentially head into retirement. For right now, AC/DC proved that they can still rock out with the best of today's rock bands.
Clearly in the running for both one of 2016's best bands and the year's greatest breakout story, Twenty Øne Piløts' "Emotional Roadshow" tour saw the group sell out increasingly larger venues across North America throughout the year. As a band who rose from playing clubs in late 2015, Twenty Øne Piløts' rise to arenas and amphitheaters was driven by back-to-back successful singles, starting with "Stressed Out" and "Ride," and wrapping up with "Heathens" from the Suicide Squad movie soundtrack. The band will be back in 2017, with some more arena shows currently scheduled.
As a youngster known throughout much of the early 2010s more for his hair and clique of screaming fangirls, 2016 was the year that Justin Bieber wished to reintroduce himself to the world in a different light. A more mature, settled down Bieber emerged with less of a teen pop sound, and more of an electronic/R&B vibe in 2015. His Purpose tour debuted in 2016, seeing success amongst both his grown up fans and a new-found more mature audience. Bieber will continue his exceptional, grown-up tour into 2017, as he just announced in an appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show.
Returning after five years on hiatus, during which she started her family and took some well deserved time off, Adele's extensive 2016 tour in support of 25 was one of the year's best sellers. Despite only being Adele's third major tour, the singer's phenomenal voice and talent continually kept fans coming out to hear her, which for many was a once in a lifetime experience. In addition to extensive dates in North America, Adele visited Europe, including the stunning headlining slot at Glastonbury Festival's Pyramid Stage. After completing her first visit to Australia and New Zealand, Adele will finally close out her massive tour in the summer of 2017, with four dates at London's Wembley Stadium that have been dubbed "The Finale."
A staple of live acts for decades now, 2016 saw The Boss hit the road once more for what many fans claim to be one of his best tours ever. "The River Tour" saw Springsteen and The E Street Band across North America, at one point continually breaking his own records for longest shows, clocking in night after night at over 4 hours of non-stop rock on stage. Touring in support of the 2015 album The Ties That Bind: The River Collection Box Set, Springsteen and the boys kept mixing up the set for their devoted fans, throwing in rare favorites nearly every night. 2017 will see Springsteen head down under, with dates scheduled in Australia, featuring Aussie band JET in a surprise opening slot.
Heading out on the aptly titled "Not In This Lifetime... Tour," Guns N' Roses shocked fans when they got back together after 23 years to finally tour with most of the original lineup. Axl Rose, Slash, and Duff McKagan shelved their differences to bring fans who have waited, in some cases, much of a lifetime to see them. The band has done so well, and gotten along so famously, that they have decided to keep the party going right into 2017, having just recently announced new dates for next year. As a tour that most fans thought would never come to fruition, it is without a doubt that Guns N' Roses "Not In This Lifetime" was the best tour of 2016.