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Concert tour

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An outdoor stadium filled with spectators on the podiums and on the ground. In the middle Ed Sheeran performs on a raised stage, with video screens above him.
Audience view of Ed Sheeran's 2022–24 +–=÷× Tour in Copenhagen.

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]

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.


David Bowie's Glass Spider Tour stage (1987), then the largest touring set. Reportedly, it took 43 trucks move the set.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6]

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 did not include transportation of the backstage staff, musicians, performers, and the singer herself.[7]


The majority of concert tours are part of a promotional campaign to support an album release.[8][9] Hence, new songs from the respective album are included on its tour's setlist.[10] Some tours are known as "greatest hits tours" or "reunion tour" without any new material or specific album release,[11][12] such as Fleetwood Mac's 2009 Unleashed tour and No Doubt's 2009 Summer Tour.[13][14] Taylor Swift's The Eras Tour (2023–2024) is a retrospective of her career to that point, where each act of the concert represents one of her albums.[15] 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).[16][17]

Farewell tour[edit]

A farewell tour is a concert tour intended to signal the retirement of a singer, the 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.[18][19][20] 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.[21][22]


Taylor Swift's 2023-24 Eras Tour is the highest-grossing tour of all time.

As of December 2023, the highest-grossing concert tour of all time is Taylor Swift's The Eras Tour, with a revenue of $1.039 billion in 2023 alone, making her tour the first to gross over $1 billion, and the highest gross in a single calendar year. On second place is Elton John's Farewell Yellow Brick Road, with a total gross of $939 million from 2018–2023.[23] On third place is Ed Sheeran's ÷ Tour, with a gross of $776.2 million.[24][25]

Global touring revenue reported to Billboard Boxscore exceeded $5.5 billion in 2016.[26] Due to the collapse of record sales in the 21st century, concert tours have become a major income for recording artists.[27] Besides the tickets, touring also generates money from the sales of merchandise and meet-and-greet packages.[28][29] 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.[30]


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.[31] 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."[31] 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.[32] 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.[33] 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.[34]

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.[35]

See also[edit]


  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. ^ Pareles, Jon (2 August 1987), "Bowie Creates a Spectacle", The New York Times, retrieved 4 April 2023
  5. ^ "Taking the Show on the Road". Inbound Logistics. August 2016. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Halloran, Mark E. (2008). The Musician's Business and Legal Guide. Pearson Prentice Hall. ISBN 9780132281270.
  9. ^ Bacior, Robin (June 1, 2020). "Releasing an Album Without the Ability to Tour". Spotify for Artists.
  10. ^ Sackllah, David (May 2, 2017). "How Many Songs Off New Albums Should Bands Play?". Consequence.
  11. ^ Kot, Greg (May 14, 2016). "One long joy ride". Press of Atlantic City.
  12. ^ Steve, Hochman (June 4, 2000). "What Would You Say? Dave Matthews Tours Without a New Album". Los Angeles Times.
  13. ^ Gottlieb, Jed (March 6, 2009). "For Fleetwood Mac, the flame still burns". Boston Herald.
  14. ^ Michaels, Sean (May 19, 2009). "No Doubt launch comeback without new album". The Guardian.
  15. ^ Aramesh, Waiss David (March 18, 2023). "Taylor Swift's The Eras Tour Is a 3-Hour Career-Spanning Victory Lap". Rolling Stone. ISSN 0035-791X. OCLC 1787396. Archived from the original on March 18, 2023. Retrieved September 17, 2023.
  16. ^ Greene, Andy (9 January 2017). "The Edge Breaks Down U2's Upcoming 'Joshua Tree' Tour". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ Greene, Andy (Nov 18, 2019). "13 'Farewell' Tours That Didn't Stick -- From Mötley Crüe to Kiss". Rolling Stone.
  20. ^ Maher, Natalie (Feb 22, 2018). "A List of All the Recent Farewell Tour & Show Announcements". Billboard.
  21. ^ Holland, Bernard (Sep 6, 2007). "Luciano Pavarotti Is Dead at 71". The New York Times.
  22. ^ Morris, Chris (Mar 21, 2020). "Country Music Icon Kenny Rogers Dies at 81". Variety.
  23. ^ Murray, Conor. "Taylor Swift's Eras Tour Is First In History To Gross Over $1 Billion, Report Says". Forbes. Retrieved 2023-12-23.
  24. ^ "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.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ "Nine Ways Musicians Actually Make Money Today". Rolling Stone. 2012-08-28. Archived from the original on 2018-06-30. Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  29. ^ Adams, Cameron (2012-11-14). "$1500 packages to meet rock band KISS sell out in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth ahead of Australian tour". news.com.au. Archived from the original on 2018-06-30. Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  30. ^ Fekadu, Mesfin (December 11, 2020). "Pollstar: Live events industry lost $30B as a result of the pandemic". Associated Press. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ Frost, Caroline (October 10, 2016). "Celine Dion Has Bittersweet Night, Marking 1000th Performance In Las Vegas". HuffPost UK. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ 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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