The best tours of 2013 found classic rock's biggest bands treating their fans to dazzling audio-visual spectacles, unexpected romps through the rarest corners of their catalogs and new twists like string sections and flame-throwing metal spiders. So which was the best? Check out these 12 worthy candidates below, watch them all in action and then decide who gets your vote for the Tour of the Year.
Brian Wilson / Jeff Beck"Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck Concert Tour"
When this tour featuring two seemingly somewhat mismatched rock legends was first announced, a few eyebrows were raised. But we should have realized two of the genre's most famous perfectionists wouldn't have attempted to work together if they didn't think it would yield great results.
Rush"'Clockwork Angels' Tour"
In addition to playing much of their highly acclaimed 2012 'Clockwork Angels' album, Rush made news by adding a live string section to their ranks on this tour, whose set lists featured a surprising number of songs from their '80s albums.
The Rolling Stones"50 & Counting"
Apart from wisely trading months of touring all across the country for multiple-night stands in just a handful of cities, the Rolling Stones made few concessions to age on their 50th anniversary tour, proving themselves spry and able to deliver their classics in fine style.
Robert Plant"Presents Sensational Space Shifters"
He could cash that big blank check marked "Led Zeppelin reunion tour" anytime he wants, but once again Robert Plant chose to explore new territory with yet another backing band, this time bringing African influences to his Zep and solo songs.
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers"Summer 2013 Tour"
Proving once again that he's one of rock's most stubborn rebels, Tom Petty spent some time away from the outdoor sheds and greatest hits sets in favor of intimate venues and hidden gems from his long, distinguished career.
Ted Nugent / Styx / REO Speedwagon"The Midwest Rock 'N Roll Express"
This same trio of midwest-born rockers -- Ted Nugent, Styx and REO Speedwagon -- that joined forces for one of 2012's best tours quite logically saw no reason the fun had to end last year. And if they decide to go for three we'll be right there in the front row this year.
Paul McCartney"Out There!"
Paul McCartney brought his three-hour, career-spanning triumph of a tour to places he'd never or rarely been this time out, thrilling fans with solo, Beatles and Wings classics.
The makeup and songs mostly stayed the same, but Kiss added a gigantic, fire-spitting mechanical spider to their already overstuffed live show this year. U.S. crowds didn't get to see a whole lot of it yet, but that's expected to change in 2014.
Sammy Hagar"Four Decades of Rock"
The (rich) Red Rocker, Sammy Hagar, brought a bunch of his former bandmates out on tour to celebrate his 40-year career with a (mostly) chronological set touching on his Montrose, Van Halen and solo days. What, no HSAS?
Fleetwood Mac"Fleetwood Mac Live"
OK, so the tour name wasn't all that creative. But this was still the first chance in four years to see Fleetwood Mac together -- and some lucky fans even got to see all five members of the 'Rumours'-era lineup, as Christine McVie guested at a couple of tour-ending shows. Foreshadowing?
The Eagles"History of the Eagles Live in Concert"
The Eagles told the story of their career from start to finish on this highly popular tour, with help from former bandmate Bernie Leadon and a few Joe Walsh / James Gang classics mixed in for good measure.
Black Sabbath"Reunion Tour"
Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and especially Tony Iommi overcame a lot of adversity before they were finally able to kick off this Black Sabbath reunion tour -- first announced way back in 2011. But judging from the show we went to, both they and their fans agreed it was all worth it in the end.