It’s been a quiet two years as music tours have been put on pause indefinitely or pushed back. With COVID ravaging the world for almost all of 2020 and 2021, musical artists used to being able to ply their skills on stages in front of thousands found themselves living a far quieter life all of a sudden. Now however, as 2022 gets up and running, COVID is fading into the background. A combination of readily available vaccines and a virulent but less-deadly variant all spelled good news for the world, which is now celebrating a return to the world of live music and tours.
Unfortunately, just as everyone took a deep breath in relief, another world event rose from the depths of our greatest worries: the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Now, even as music tours resume and artists eye worldwide venues they’ve been shut out of for years, another threat to free travel looms. Will it mean another year of silent stages and uncertainty?
Three Titans Announce Big Tour Dates
As the 2022 touring season kicks off, three of the world’s musical titans have announced that they’ll be hitting the road this year. Here’s what you need to know about these big three:
- Duran Duran: The beloved ’80’s band has announced their long-awaited North American headlining tour. It all kicks off August 19 in Treasure Island Ampitheater, Welch, Minnesota. From there, the tour takes the group to iconic locations such as Madison Square Gardens (8/25), Wynn Las Vegas (9/01, 9/03), Hollywood Bowl (9/09-9/11) and more. Nile Rogers and CHIC will be joining the group on the tour for all venues except Las Vegas. Duran Duran is currently a leader on the list of nominees for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the first time the award-winning, global sensation band has been nominated in over 40 years of making music. For more information on the tour or to purchase tickets, visit the Duran Duran website.
- Jack White: White, musician and artist, has just announced his first headlining tour in four years, with support performances by The Kills, The Afghan Whigs, Be Your Own Pet, Cautious Clay, Chicano Batman, The Backseat Lovers, Men I trust, Geese, Ezra Furman, Briston Maroney plus more. White’s tour, called the Supply Chain Issues tour, kicks off April 8 and 9 in Detroit at the sold-out Masonic Temple Theatre to celebrate the release of his newest album, Fear of the Dawn. For more information including dates, locations and ticket prices – visit the website.
- Pearl Jam: In support of their newest album, Gigaton, Pearl Jam has announced a brand new North American and European headlining tour called Consequence. Originally slated to kick off in 2020, for obvious reasons the group has had to push it back a little bit. But now they’re hitting the road, and it all starts May 3 in San Diego. Stops on the tour include London, Copenhagen, Las Vegas, Budapest, Toronto, New York City and more. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the website.
With these three heavy hitters hitting the road, it’s a good sign that the live music industry is on the path to recovery.
Europe and the US Battle for Bands
Currently, both European and US venues are battling over getting the biggest names. Many bands have been able to continue playing in limited fashion domestically, so now that Europe and the world is open to them again – bands are setting their sights overseas.
Here are a number of big-name acts and where they’re headed this year:
- Lady Gaga kicks off her tour in Europe this Summer, resuming the tour she had to postpone due to COVID in 2020.
- Beach House: The band is wrapping up a North American stint right now before heading to the UK and Europe, wrapping up in Canada.
- Foo Fighters: Hitting the road again this year to celebrate their 27th anniversary as a band, the Foo Fighters with Dave Grohl at their head will be traveling across North and South America, Europe and the UK.
- Tyler, The Creator: Wrapping up the North American leg of his tour, Tyler will soon be heading to Europe and Oceania this Summer.
- My Chemical Romance: The pandemic hit just in time to break emo hearts across the world as the popular emo-rock band reunited in 2020 for a doomed tour. Now, they’re hitting the road again as fans scramble for fast-selling tickets at venues across the world.
Artists sticking close to home include Avril Lavigne, Katy Perry and more – but Europe is definitely getting their fair share of artists this year as they reach back out to fan bases they’ve missed out on for two years.
Uncertainty Shifts from COVID to War
Unfortunately, all is not settled when it comes to the recovery of the live music industry. With the end of the acute phase of COVID, the world assumed it was time to get back to normal. Enter: Russia.
With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, travel plans across the world have been disrupted. Will it devolve into world war? Will goods and services become so pricey that jet-setting overseas is out of reach? Will it even be safe to take to the skies?
These are questions that international travelers are weighing in recent days, and as the invasion of Ukraine drags on into weeks, the questions mount. Travelers are becoming increasingly nervous that the war will spread – and their travel plans to Europe will dissolve. The music industry, like all world travelers, is full of people watching just as anxiously to see what happens in the coming weeks.
If a solution is found rapidly in Ukraine, it’s possible that the Summer travel season will be back to normal – for the first time in years. However, with Russia struggling to gain the upper hand and Russian President Vladimir Putin increasingly frustrated and furious over his stymied military efforts, the possibility that diplomacy will make an end to things quickly becomes less likely by the day.
It’s a heartbreaking situation for people in Ukraine and nearby Eastern Europe as they watch the death and humanitarian crisis unfold. Compared to that, disrupted travel plans seem like a small price to pay; but nonetheless, it’s on the minds of many.