BEST TOURS OF 2017
WEDNESDAY // DECEMBER 20, 2017
With 2017 coming to an end, it's only natural to gear up for some of the most anticipated tours coming to our cities in 2018. Although some of us might want to close the door on 2017 and never look back, 2017 was a year for some of the best tours in the music industry.
From saying goodbye to Tom Petty to breaking our necks at a Metallica concert - here are a few notable tours of 2017 we won't ever forget.
Tom Petty’s 40th Anniversary Tour
Tom Petty’s death sent shockwaves across the music industry after his cardiac arrest in October 2017. Considering his 40th Anniversary Tour ended just one week before his passing marks this as one of the most memorable tours of 2017 as we say goodbye to a music legend. Last December, Petty actually told Rolling Stone, “I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was thinking this might be the last big one.”
Petty seemed overjoyed to be on stage, especially performing at his hometown show. The band performed their 1985 hit “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” an all-time Heartbreakers song during the band’s career. The band’s members consisted of keyboardist Benmont Tench, bassist Ron Blair, guitarist Mike Campbell, and 24-year old addition drummer Steve Ferrone.
Lighting designer/director and set designer Stanley A. Green upped the ante with the show’s 160 winch balls or orbs, creating an immersive effect on stage, according to PLSN. Technical director Kevin Cassidy mentioned Tom Petty’s humorous desire to feel like he’s inside of a lava lamp.
Petty went bigger with his last tour with video screens, including a 60 foot wide LED screen filled with minimal I-Mag video content and London-based Treatment Visual Productions, all programmed by Green, PLSN reported. The huge backdrop combined with the color-changing orbs lit up the stage for his very last tour in history.
U2: The Joshua Tree Tour
U2 revived its 1987 The Joshua Tree album, the band’s fifth album, with a concept relying on nostalgia but also complete relevance in wake of the 2016 election. The album was written during the Reagan-Thatcher era of British and U.S. policies, including Thatcher trying to put down a miners’ strike, wrote Sarah Larson of The New Yorker. Roger Waters is another artist who had touched on social justice-themed tour earlier this year. U2 felt their 1987 album became more relevant than it would have 3-4 years ago, Bono told Rolling Stone.
And, the 50-show tour was a major hit, earning a whopping $316 million with more than 2.5 million tickets sold, Billboard reported. The tour included fan favorites “Where the Streets Have No Name,” and “With or Without You.” Band manager Guy Oseary expressed his privilege in being a part of the epic tour, originally meant for the band to perform only one show, according to Billboard.
The band went big on production, with Anton Corbijin as the photographer and film director - the band’s creative source for 30 years, wrote PLSN. U2 revamped their performance with new technologies from PRG’s Spaceframe and a 4k broadcast camera system in its 87-inch stadium design.
Green Day’s epic Revolution Radio Tour showed off their first album in four years. Revolution Radio released in 2016. The pop-punk trio came back stronger than ever with 12 albums underneath their belt, with the same energy the band had brought since the beginning.
Fan favorites took over the crowd, like “Holiday,” “Minority,” “Good Riddance,” and so much more, but the band played new hits “ Still Breathing,” and “Bang Bang.” Another highly political tour, Armstrong preached unity, adding rock ‘n roll can change the world in standing up to bullies, Billboard said.
The band went bigger on lighting rather than video assist, which was only present on the side screens for IMAG, PLSN wrote. Along with lighting, designed by Ethan Weber and directed by Tommy Horton, the band wanted to incorporate pyro into a few of their songs, provided by ffp Special Effects.
The band rethought drum risers and decided to incorporate 190 light bulbs into the step units, along with the circus-style Green Day marquee boasting 729 RGBW LED lamps, both fabricated by Gallagher Staging & Productions. View the full production crew here.
The heavy metal band pleased the crowd with their biggest tour yet -- and yes -- our necks still falling off from the headbangers. For the first time in 20 years, Metallica performed an American tour, and what they brought to the table definitely made up for it. Fan favorites “Seek and Destroy,” “Fade to Black,” “One”, and encored with thrashers “Battery,” “Nothing Else Matters,” and “Enter Sandman.”
Lighting director and designer Rob Koenig worked with show director and set designer Dan Braun to come up with a lighting design easily compatible with an 175 foot emissive video surface - one of the largest video surfaces ever used on a tour, PLSN reported. Along with lights and video, the tour called for two large inflatable balls, lasers, explosions, sparkle cannons and a fire screen spewing 300-foot comets.
Metallica’s Mammoth WorldWired Tour is said to be their biggest production ever, according to Rolling Stone. Each show generates enough power that 1,800 homes use for one month’s duration. Details:
- -3 days to set up
- -48 trucks
- -over 350,000 watts of audio
- -83 laser fixtures on stage (640 hours to program)
- -40,000 speakers
The ever-so-humbling Lumineers exploded back in 2013 with the folky rock ‘n roll band’s hit song “Ho Hey,” and haven’t stopped growing since. The Colorado natives’ 2017 Cleopatra World Tour - and with a great response. The Lumineers ranked No.14 on Pollstar's first quarter of the year worldwide ticket sales at $234,184.
They’re up there with Green Day, Bruce Springsteen, Guns N’ Roses and more. You can feel the band’s intimate performance from any seat in the venue as they connect with the audience through Wesley Schultz's vocals, piano, acoustic guitars and tambourine led hits.
The Cleopatra World Tour boasted an aesthetic Cathedral style design to match a growing audience, which means a growing space for performances. Lighting designers Sooner Routhier and Robert Long worked on creating various visuals to match the “stories” of the show - switching from acoustic songs to full-band performances, wrote PLSN.
One of the best audience surprises had to be the B-Stage, where everyone in the back had a chance to literally touch the stage as if they were in the pit.
Guns N Roses
After some rocky band turmoil in 2016, Guns N Roses was back and better than ever to rock their 2017 18-month tour. In fact, their three shows in November 2017 all sold out seats at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
According to LA Weekly, the band opened with another version of “It’s So Easy” before beginning their 3.5 hour long set without leaving a single hit out. Guitarist Axl Rose stole the show and kept his vocals strong throughout. Memorable and emotional moments include the band giving tribute to Glen Campbell, Malcolm Young and Chris Cornell.