Concert tour

A concert tour (or simply tour) is a series of concerts by an artist or group of artists in different cities, countries or locations. Often, concert tours are named to differentiate different tours by the same artist and to associate a specific tour with a particular album or product. Especially in the popular music world, such tours can become large-scale enterprises that last for several months or even years, are seen by hundreds of thousands or millions of people, and bring in millions of dollars in ticket revenues. A performer who embarks on a concert tour is called a touring artist.[1][2]

A stadium filled with spectators on the podiums and on the ground. In the middle is a stage with two giant pink 'L’ symbols flanking it. A large flood light is visible behind it.
Audience view of Madonna's 2008 Sticky & Sweet Tour in the national stadium of Santiago, Chile.

Different segments of longer concert tours are known as "legs".[3] The different legs of a tour are denoted in different ways, dependent on the artist and type of tour, but the most common means of separating legs are dates (especially if there is a long break at some point), countries and/or continents, or different opening acts. In the largest concert tours, it has become more common for different legs to employ separate touring production crews and equipment, local to each geographical region.[citation needed] Concert tours are often administered on the local level by concert promoters or by performing arts presenters. Usually, small concert tours are managed by a road manager whereas large concert tours are managed by a tour manager.


Céline Dion on stage performing "Eyes on Me" during her Taking Chances World Tour in Montreal, Canada in August 2008

The main challenge in concert tours is how to move the performance's logistics from one venue to another venue, especially for a transcontinental tour. Tour logistics should be very organized and everything has to happen on time and in the right order as planned.[4] Autoweek magazine estimated 30 to 50 trucks were required by Taylor Swift's The 1989 World Tour to bring all the stage, sound equipment, instruments, props, and clothes.[5] When Beyoncé visited the United Kingdom with her 2016 The Formation World Tour, it took seven Boeing 747 air freighters and a fleet of more than 70 trucks to get her stage set and other gear to the venues. The logistics phase of that tour didn't include transportation of the backstage staff, musicians, performers, and the singer herself.[6]


The majority of concert tours are part of a promotional campaign to support an album release.[7][8] Hence, new songs from the respective album are included on its tour's setlist.[9] Some tours are known as "greatest hits tours" or "reunion tour" without any new material or specific album release,[10][11] such as Fleetwood Mac's 2009 Unleashed tour and No Doubt's 2009 Summer Tour.[12][13] In another case, artists embark on a concert tour to celebrate the anniversary of their past albums, such as U2's 2017 tour to mark the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree (1987) and Janet Jackson's 2019 tour to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989).[14][15]

Farewell tourEdit

A farewell tour is a concert tour intended to signal the retirement of a singer, a disbanding of a band, or the end of a show's run. Many of the tours end up not being the last tour, with frequent regroupings, or revivals of shows.[16][17][18] Luciano Pavarotti's 2004 tour and Kenny Rogers's 2015–2017 tour are examples of farewell tours which were the last to be staged before their deaths.[19][20]


As of February 2023, the highest-grossing concert tour of all time is Elton John's Farewell Yellow Brick Road, which is an ongoing tour from 2018 to 2023, with a gross revenue so far of $817.9 million.[21] In second place is Ed Sheeran's ÷ Tour, with a gross of $776.2 million.[22][23] The third-highest-grossing concert tour of all time is U2's 360° Tour, which earned approximately $736 million between 2009 and 2011.[24] Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour, which earned $408 million in 2008 and 2009, was the highest-earning tour by a female artist.[25] According to the 2014 report from Billboard Boxscore, five acts made over US$1 billion in touring since 1990: The Rolling Stones, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and Bon Jovi.[26]

Global touring revenue reported to Billboard Boxscore exceeded $5.5 billion in 2016.[27] Due to the collapse of record sales in the 21st century, concert tours have become a major income for recording artists.[28] Besides the tickets, touring also generates money from the sales of merchandise and meet-and-greet packages.[29][30] However, the touring business suffered in the early 2020s because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pollstar estimated the total lost revenue for the industry in 2020 at more than $30 billion.[31]


The mobility of concert tours requires a lot of costs, time, and energy. It is very common for musicians to not see family members for over a year during their touring.[32] British singer Adele expressed her unhappiness of concert tours, saying "Touring is a peculiar thing, it doesn't suit me particularly well. I'm a real homebody and I get so much joy in the small things."[32] A concert residency concept is offered as an alternative to performers who just need to stay in one venue and the fans come to see them.[33] The concept has been revitalized in the 21st century by Canadian superstar Céline Dion with the success of her A New Day... residency (2003–2007). Her residency introduced a new form of theatrical entertainment, a fusion of song, performance art, innovative stage craft, and state-of-the-art technology. She managed to popularize the Las Vegas residency as a desirable way for top artists to essentially tour in place, letting their fans come to them.[34] American singer Lady Gaga, who cancelled the 2018 European leg of her Joanne World Tour, signed for a Las Vegas residency to help manage her fibromyalgia illness, which can be exacerbated by touring.[35]

The 2015 study by charity Help Musicians found that over 60% of musicians suffered from depression or other psychological issues, with touring an issue for 71% of respondents.[36]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Allen, Bob (May 11, 2012). "Hot Tours: Roger Waters, Mana, Bob Dylan". Billboard. Archived from the original on 2018-05-23. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
  2. ^ Allen, Bob (2016-03-23). "Madonna Extends Record as Highest-Grossing Solo Touring Artist". Billboard. Archived from the original on 2018-12-04. Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  3. ^ "What is a Concert Tour?". TourBeat. 14 October 2014. Archived from the original on 13 January 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2015. A concert tour is an opportunity for musicians to perform over longer periods of time across several cities, which are differentiated by segments known as "legs." Legs of tours of can be denoted by a series of dates that have no long break between them, by geographical regions or destinations, or by different opening acts. Each city or region may have the same opening act for each leg, or they may change opening acts at each city.
  4. ^ "Taking the Show on the Road". Inbound Logistics. August 2016. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  5. ^ Justine, Luke (28 May 2015). "How many trucks does it take to put on a Taylor Swift show?". Autoweek. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2017. The count was up to 22 at the beginning of today, but now it is close to 30. We are guessing that number will grow as the concert quickly approaches, maybe even to 50.
  6. ^ Bowler, Tim (2017-06-07). "What it takes to get Beyonce on a world tour". BBC News. Archived from the original on 2019-05-10. Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  7. ^ Halloran, Mark E. (2008). The Musician's Business and Legal Guide. Pearson Prentice Hall. ISBN 9780132281270.
  8. ^ Bacior, Robin (June 1, 2020). "Releasing an Album Without the Ability to Tour". Spotify for Artists.
  9. ^ Sackllah, David (May 2, 2017). "How Many Songs Off New Albums Should Bands Play?". Consequence.
  10. ^ Kot, Greg (May 14, 2016). "One long joy ride". Press of Atlantic City.
  11. ^ Steve, Hochman (June 4, 2000). "What Would You Say? Dave Matthews Tours Without a New Album". Los Angeles Times.
  12. ^ Gottlieb, Jed (March 6, 2009). "For Fleetwood Mac, the flame still burns". Boston Herald.
  13. ^ Michaels, Sean (May 19, 2009). "No Doubt launch comeback without new album". The Guardian.
  14. ^ Greene, Andy (9 January 2017). "The Edge Breaks Down U2's Upcoming 'Joshua Tree' Tour". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  15. ^ Allen, Bob (October 23, 2019). "Boxoffice Insider: Janet Jackson To Commemorate 'Rhythm Nation' Anniversary Down Under". Pollstar. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  16. ^ Krovatin, Chris (4 March 2019). "Is There Really Such Thing As A Farewell Tour?". Kerrang!. Wasted Talent. Archived from the original on 5 April 2019. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  17. ^ Greene, Andy (Nov 18, 2019). "13 'Farewell' Tours That Didn't Stick -- From Mötley Crüe to Kiss". Rolling Stone.
  18. ^ Maher, Natalie (Feb 22, 2018). "A List of All the Recent Farewell Tour & Show Announcements". Billboard.
  19. ^ Holland, Bernard (Sep 6, 2007). "Luciano Pavarotti Is Dead at 71". The New York Times.
  20. ^ Morris, Chris (Mar 21, 2020). "Country Music Icon Kenny Rogers Dies at 81". Variety.
  21. ^ Frankenberg, Eric (2023-01-30). "Elton John's Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour Is the Highest-Grossing Concert Tour of All Time". Billboard. Retrieved 2023-02-28.
  22. ^ "Ed Sheeran Concludes 'Divide' Tour, Sets All-Time Touring Record At $775.6M". Pollstar. August 27, 2019. Archived from the original on Dec 17, 2019. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  23. ^ Frankenberg, Eric (2019-08-27). "Ed Sheeran's Record-Breaking Divide Tour Posts Final Numbers: 255 Shows, $776.2 Million Grossed". Billboard. Retrieved 2023-02-28.
  24. ^ Waddell, Ray (29 July 2011). "U2 Set to Wrap Biggest Concert Tour Ever". Billboard. Archived from the original on 11 February 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  25. ^ Waddell, Ray (September 2, 2009). "Madonna Closes Tour In Tel Aviv; 2nd Highest Grossing Trek Of All Time". Billboard. Archived from the original on November 10, 2016. Retrieved 2014-01-08.
  26. ^ Terry, Josh (27 May 2014). "These Five Artists Have Made Over a Billion Dollars Touring". Consequence. Archived from the original on 8 February 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  27. ^ Waddell, Ray (Dec 13, 2016). "How 'The Shared Live Experience' and Even Streaming Fueled the $25 Billion Concert Biz". Billboard. Archived from the original on 23 December 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  28. ^ Lawrence, Jesse (Dec 30, 2014). "With Touring Still A Focal Point, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC And U2 Fight For Top Honors In Rock And Roll History". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2017-08-16. Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  29. ^ "Nine Ways Musicians Actually Make Money Today". Rolling Stone. 2012-08-28. Archived from the original on 2018-06-30. Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  30. ^ Adams, Cameron (2012-11-14). "$1500 packages to meet rock band KISS sell out in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth ahead of Australian tour". Archived from the original on 2018-06-30. Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  31. ^ Fekadu, Mesfin (December 11, 2020). "Pollstar: Live events industry lost $30B as a result of the pandemic". Associated Press. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  32. ^ a b Garrido, Duarte (29 June 2017). "'This is it': Adele hints to fans she may never tour again". Sky News. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  33. ^ Lerner, Rebecca (Jun 14, 2017). "Meet The Celeb 100 Stars Cashing In On The Vegas Residency Boom". Forbes. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  34. ^ Frost, Caroline (October 10, 2016). "Celine Dion Has Bittersweet Night, Marking 1000th Performance In Las Vegas". HuffPost UK. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  35. ^ Savage, Mark (August 7, 2018). "Lady Gaga's Las Vegas residency will comprise two separate shows". BBC News. Archived from the original on June 20, 2019. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  36. ^ Britton, Luke Morgan (25 June 2015). "Insomnia, anxiety, break-ups … musicians on the dark side of touring". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2017.

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