It’s an election year, which means that artists hitting the road in the coming months will either be weighing in on the presidential candidates’ policies or providing a sweet escape from the slings and arrows of politics. This spring will see the launch of the first Rage Against the Machine tour in years, as well as Kenny Chesney’s brilliantly titled Chillaxification Tour. No matter what concertgoers are looking for, though, the season has plenty to offer. Here are Rolling Stone’s picks for spring’s can’t-miss concerts.
May 8th – July 9th
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After a triumphant run of No Filter shows last year, when Mick Jagger limberly returned to the stage following heart bypass surgery, the group will return for a month of North American stadium shows. The last trek found them playing all of their classic songs and a handful of deep cuts from Let It Bleed and their early singles; at one date, they played “Mercy, Mercy” for the first time in 50 years. “It’s always a pleasure to return to North America,” Jagger said in a statement, “and play for some of biggest and best crowds in the world!”
Ongoing through March 21st
A couple of years after he earned a Number One hit with “Rockstar,” Post Malone is living the rock-star life with an extensive arena tour. In the past year, he’s helped revitalize Ozzy Osbourne’s career by featuring the Prince of Darkness on the track “Take What You Want,” and scored a string of Top 10 singles, including “Wow,” “Goodbyes,” and “Circles.” Rapper Swae Lee, who collaborated with Post on the Number One hit “Sunflower,” will be joining him for some of the dates toward the end of the trek.
Ongoing through April 24th
After illuminating the “No Vacancy” sign for the Las Vegas residency where they played all of Hotel California, Eagles are taking the album back on the road for multi-night engagements around North America. In addition to playing all 10 of the iconic album’s tracks, including the title song, “Life in the Fast Lane,” and “New Kid in Town,” they’ve been filling out their concerts with dozens more of their greatest hits, including some of Don Henley and Joe Walsh’s solo favorites. If the fans are lucky, they might even reprise “Hotel California.” And if you don’t like it, remember, you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.
Ongoing – June 14th
Decades after proving herself as a talent to be reckoned with on “Delta Dawn,” Tanya Tucker is paying it forward this year with CMT’s Next Women of Country Tour. In addition to her own sets, where she plays her hits and cuts off her critically acclaimed 2019 LP, While I’m Livin’ — an album that notched her four Grammy nominations and two wins, including Best Country Album and Best Country Song for “Bring My Flowers Now” — she’s sharing the stage with Brandy Clark, Aubrie Sellers, Erin Enderlin, Hailey Whitters, and many others. Some of the dates will also see her joined by Shooter Jennings, who co-produced While I’m Livin’ with Brandi Carlile.
Three 6 Mafia
March 6th – May 23rd
Although Juicy J has spent most of the last decade focusing on his solo career, he’ll be reuniting with DJ Paul for a short fun of Three 6 Mafia reunion shows this spring, including appearances at festivals and a few dates in theaters. “This a must see!” Paul told Billboard. “We want everyone to come and be a part of history. We have been one of the most hits makin’ — most influential groups of all times!” Expect a crunk turnout.
March 11th – October 23rd
Although it’s been a few years since he put out an album of his own, Chris Stapleton is reviving his All-American Road Show for a lengthy run of concerts. This time, he will be accompanied variously by everyone from old timers like Willie Nelson and Hank Williams Jr. to fresh new voices like Yola and the Highwomen. He’ll be bringing the diverse lineups to arenas around North America, booked around a benefit show, A Concert for Kentucky, that will find him playing alongside Nelson, Yola, and Sheryl Crow, with an eye toward raising money that would go directly to helping out organizations in the Bluegrass State.
March 17th – May 1st
The Alabama Shakes frontwoman will support her recent solo debut, Jaime, with a tour starting this March. The record’s funky opening number, “History Repeats,” earned her two Grammy nominations in rock categories, which is a little deceptive since she brilliantly blended jazz, soul, roots, and of course rock together to make a sound all her own on the track. She played each of the album’s 11 songs at her concerts last year, as well as covers of songs by Prince, the Beatles, Jackie Wilson, and Sam and Dave — a quartet of musicians that only scratch the surface of showing off the breadth of her influences.
March 18th – April 19th
It’s taken Pearl Jam a little longer than usual to come up with a follow up to 2013’s Lighting Bolt, but they’re returning this spring with Gigaton. The first couple of songs they’ve released from it, “Dance of the Clairvoyants” and “Superblood Wolfmoon,” are pole opposites in terms of tone — the former is a funky, almost electronic-influenced dance tune while the latter is a fist-banging rocker — which leaves things wide open for what they could do with their upcoming tour. They’ll kick things off with a show in Toronto before taking it to arenas for gigs through April.
Rage Against the Machine
March 26th – August 13th
For reasons unknown, Rage Against the Machine sat out the 2016 presidential election cycle, but it seems now that Trump is up for reelection, they have decided to reactivate for their biggest tour in years. The group, which hasn’t put out a new album since the George W. Bush administration, will kick things off in March with an extensive trek around the Evil Empire. To keep things above board, they’ve worked hard to keep ticket prices at (somewhat) reasonable costs with a few exorbitantly priced options where the extra proceeds benefit charities.
March 28th – July 8th
The Yellow Brick Road will wind back to North America this spring, when Elton John embarks on another leg of his final tour. This time will feel like even more of a victory lap, though, since his biopic Rocketman earned him both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for the breakout single, “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again.” Despite its success, he’s only played the song a couple of times. Luckily, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to find a place for it in his hits-filled set lists, since the trek runs through July.
April 1st – April 22nd
Only Alice Cooper can title a tour “Ol’ Black Eyes Is Back” without batting a mascara-crusted eyelid. The pioneering shock rocker will be setting up his guillotine at North American venues — including a significant number of Canadian dates — starting April Fool’s Day. After more than half a century on the road, Cooper may well deserve the title of the Hardest-Working Man in Hard Rock for his indefatigable spirit, fully stacked concert calendar, and, most important, the vivacity to keep songs like “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “Under My Wheels,” and “I’m Eighteen” sounding fresh for all these years.
April 18th – August 28th
As if anyone could attend a Kenny Chesney concert feeling uptight, the country superstar has dubbed his upcoming trek the Chillaxification Tour. That said, he’ll be doing anything but kicking back since he’s decided to upgrade himself from arenas to stadiums for the run, where he’ll likely be playing his latest hit, “Tip of My Tongue,” which he cowrote with Ed Sheeran. To keep with the supersized spirit, Chesney has recruited Florida Georgia Line, Old Dominion, and Michael Franti and Spearhead to open all the dates.
April 25th – May 13th
Other than playing guitar at his daughter’s graduation ceremony last year, former Fleetwood Mac vocalist-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham has kept a low profile since suffering a heart attack in February 2019. It was reported at the time that he may have sustained significant damage to his vocal cords, because of the way doctors had to act fast, but he has not yet commented on the shape of his voice. The fact that he has booked a run of shows for this spring, however, suggests he’s back in fighting shape.
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