The Greatest Touring Names of All Time
In popular music, which is often about staying on-brand and in the present day, as every facet of an artist’s public persona reflects the work they are currently promoting, it’s easy to forget that touring gigs don’t always have to be named after their headliner’s latest album.
With all due respect to recent outings such as Taylor Swift’s Reputation Tour and Ariana Grande’s Sweetener World Tour, each phenomenal culmination of the career arcs they represented, it’s a shame the shows no longer seem to mark the periods artistic performers, but instead get sloppy names that seem like an afterthought.
Luckily, there will always be numbers that still capture our imaginations with fun and creative tour names. Here are 10 of the best touring names of all time.
Madonna, Blond Ambition World Tour (1990)
Blond Ambition is perhaps the best example of how a successful pop tour can succeed as a separate entity from the album it promotes. Madonna incorporated themes from 1989 like a prayer in this tour, while also including the aesthetics of Art Deco and German Expressionism as well as the notorious use of sexually charged religious imagery. Ambition indeed.
Drake, do you want a visit? (2013-2015)
The answer was a resounding yes, up to 66 dates and $46.2 million. Drake ran with that endorsement and has since created a massive body of work regardless of whether people wanted to hear it or not.
We are scientists, With love and misery 50th Anniversary Tour (2019)
When New York indie favorites We Are Scientists were pressed that their breakthrough album With love and misery came out in 2005 and wasn’t even close to turning 50, they doubled down and argued that no one cares about a 14th birthday. I can’t argue with that logic.
Sufjan Stevens, The Sirfjam Stephanapolous Christmas Sing-a-Long Seasonal Affective Disorder Spectacular Music Pageant Variety Show Disaster (2012)
This one speaks for itself. And at this word count, it would be weird if it wasn’t.
Nine Inch Nails + Jane’s Addiction, NIN Tour | Y.A. (2009)
There’s nothing more satisfying than watching artists collaborate, at least in part because they can get a good pun out of it. It’s even sweeter when the collaboration makes sense (no disrespect to pun enthusiast Jack Gray).
KISS, the farewell tour (2001-2002)
End of the Road World Tour (2019–present)
These KISS tour names weren’t trying to be funny, but they ironically pulled it off. KISS didn’t invent the farewell tour, but they arguably had the longest time to master it. There have been 12 full tours between The Farewell Tour and End of the Road Tour, so it’s hard to say if it’s really that hard to say goodbye to the band or if they just think the fans aren’t paying attention. .
Beyoncé, The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour (2013-2014)
Although this tour was a huge success, there were some minor reactions from people who thought it was hypocritical for Queen Bey to taste Chimamandi’s “We Should All Be Feminists” TED talk. Ngozi Adichie on recent single “Flawless” just for his tour. husband’s surname. Maybe that’s reading too much into it, given that she was promoting an album called Beyoncebut we’re still secretly waiting for Jay-Z’s Mr. Knowles tour.
Ridiculously Indulgent and Misguided Vanity Tour “Weird Al” Yankovic (2018)
It took a lot of restraint to only include one of Yankovic’s tours in this one, so instead of redundantly explaining what a fun and goofy dude “Weird Al” is, here are some honorable mentions: Tour of the Universe in 3-D (1984), The Stupid Tour (1985) and Touring With Scissors (1999-2000), to name a few.
Idina Menzel, Barefoot on the Symphony Tour (2010-2013)
Even though it ended just months before her starring role in Frozen grabbed America’s children by the throat and rocketed her to mainstream stardom, Barefoot at the Symphony was a victory lap for musical theater veteran Menzel, then best known for her role in Broadway’s Nasty. The name of this tour is completely literal, as she didn’t wear shoes for any of her performances. We love a down to earth diva.
Lil Wayne, I Am Music Tour (2008-2009)
It would be an arrogant statement from anyone else, but considering Wayne’s cool, critically acclaimed and commercially The Carter III, and how he was poised to establish himself as a rap patriarch thanks to his mentorship of newcomers Drake and Nicki Minaj, we think he earned this one.