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The 10 Greatest Tours Of All Time

We’ve made this irrefutably correct list of the best tours of all time, featuring Nirvana, Slipknot, Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Guns N’ Roses and a bunch of other total heroes who you love.

While live music as we know it is on pause, the K! office has been reminiscing over some of the greatest tours we’ve ever seen. Whether it’s worshipping the biggest bands on the grandest stages or witnessing plucky underdogs finally getting their chance to shine, there have been some incredible ‘I was there’ moments over the years.

So, let’s get started. Here are the 10 greatest tours to ever take place.

Green Day (American Idiot World Tour, 2004-2005)

Few bands get a second shot at greatness, but Green Day’s seventh album American Idiot not only granted the Bay Area punks just that, it surpassed anything they had ever managed before or since. Hitting the road for a year and a half from summer 2004, they played 161 shows, including a headline slot at Reading Festival and a mammoth knees-up of their own at Milton Keynes National Bowl, playing to an estimated 130,000 punters. If that doesn’t tell you just how big Green Day were at this stage in their career, consider this: among the support acts on the tour were Against Me!, Simple Plan, Taking Back Sunday, Jimmy Eat World and My Chemical Romance.

My Chemical Romance (The Black Parade World Tour, 2007-2008)

In early 2007, a few months after the world had well and truly fallen under the spell of the emo scene’s most ambitious record, The Black Parade, the New Jersey five-piece hit the promo trail. Hard. Taking in a whopping 133 shows, The Black Parade world tour was the band’s most comprehensive, understandably taking its toll on several members at various stages. The show itself was a theatrical, all sensory masterclass, capturing the alt.rock world’s most preeminent force at the height of their commercial and creative powers. If you missed out back then, check out the live album recording from Mexico City on October 07, 2007, The Black Parade Is Dead!, for a flavour of why we’re so stoked see their reunion tour when live shows are allowed again.

Guns N' Roses And Metallica, 1992

The year is 1992, Guns N’ Roses are riding high off the back of their majestic Use Your Illusion double album set, and Metallica are about to dominate the mainstream thanks to the seeds sown by lead singles off their self-titled ‘Black’ album. The two bands subsequently go on the road together across North America for 25 classic shows, and vie for scene supremacy. Oh, and some band called Faith No More opened. It was meant to be Nirvana, apparently, but Kurt Cobain reportedly turned the offer down. Which probably made him just about the only person who didn’t want to witness this once in a lifetime pairing of bona fide legends.

Nirvana, 1990-91

It’s impossible to overstate how important Nirvana were in changing the face of alternative music at the start of the ’90s. Thanks largely to the huge boost granted by heavy MTV rotation of the video for Smells Like Teen Spirit, their second album Nevermind was a certified smash that killed off the last vestiges of the then-dominant ‘hair’ metal lot. According to those lucky enough to see them at the time, the ultimate power trio were incredible in the midst of that first full flush of fame and excitement. Whether it was at London’s Astoria in 1990, supporting Sonic Youth in a pub in Cork, Ireland, or their ‘arrival’, mid-afternoon on the main stage at Reading ‘91, this was a run of shows that ushered in a changing of the guard and birthed a giant.

Slipknot (World Domination Tour, 1999-2000)

Kicking off their first-ever major tour with a pre-Christmas gift in the form of an Astoria headliner, Slipknot announced themselves to the UK and beyond in explosive style. At the time still shrouded in mystery, intrigue and genuinely feared in some sections of the media thanks to their reputation as the most dangerous band in the world, this was another game-changing touring run. It would see the nine stay on the road for almost a full year, promoting the filth and fury of their incendiary debut album, all across the globe. They may have become a slick live machine in later years, but these were intense, essential performances that matched every bit of hype that the band rode in on.

AC/DC (Black Ice World Tour, 2008-10)

Two years on the road, across 168 shows, supporting 15th album Black Ice, this was AC/DC’s final fling with founding axe-master Malcolm Young and long-serving frontman Brian Johnson. It also made the Aussie legends a pretty penny, banking an eye-watering $441.1 million (£334m), placing it in fourth on the list of the highest grossing tours of all time. More importantly though, this was the world’s last chance to bow down and pay tribute to one of the greatest bands in rock, doing their thing on the grandest of stages. Unless rumours are to be believed

Metallica (Damaged Justice Tour, 1988-89)

Metallica appearing twice in the top 10 of the all time greatest tours? Yup, and you can bet your ass they merit it, too. Hot on the heels of the haunting, epic video for One, Metallica set off on an arena tour that was more of a victory parade, celebrating the breakthrough success of their pivotal fourth album, …And Justice For All. The thrash masters were a breath of fresh air in contrast to the soft rock and power balladry on offer elsewhere, with the shows on this worldwide trek reflecting the speed and ferocity with which they played and their success, which was growing by the day.

Muse (The Resistance Tour, 2009-11)

The previous 15 years had already seen Muse establish themselves as a big bloody deal, but it was on this two year run, promoting fifth album The Resistance where they became a mega-bollocks stadium band. So, those shows they’d played before, with pyro, CO2 cannons, lasers and elaborate stage productions? All were made to look like the equivalent of village dog and pony shows by comparison, as anyone who attended their three dates at Wembley on this tour can confirm. Basically a forum for Matt Bellamy and co. to let their maddest dreams run wild and boy did they.

Paramore And Fall Out Boy (Momentour, 2014)

Okay, so we’re still not over the fact that this one-time partnership was cruelly limited to North American dates, but what a double-headliner! The appropriately named Monumentour saw two of our favourite bands hit the road together throughout 2014; Paramore promoting the gorgeousness of their self-titled opus and Fall Out Boy showing off the bold new sound of their 2013 comeback record Save Rock And Roll. What we wouldn’t give to have been a part of those shows or have these two tour together again some day. Hint, hint…

twenty one pilots (Blurryface, 2015-16)

Though their 2016-17 EMØTIØNALADSHØW tour was a gargantuan celebration of Blurryface’s runaway success, the gigs that supported its release were the ones that in years to come people will say, ‘I was there.’ Arguably the last time anyone will ever catch the Ohio duo in such close quarters, watching twenty one pilots rise from headlining London’s Boston Music Room to playing the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire and then finally the O2 Academy Brixton in the span of less than a year was a privilege, as the bond between a genuinely special band and their adoring fanbase blossomed and bloomed with each passing moment.

Posted on August 13th 2020, 12:56pm
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