The 4th Annual Ultimate Classic Rock Awards for 2014’s Tour of the Year features many of the biggest acts ever to grace a concert stage, like Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney and the Allman Brothers Band. Some of them, like Kiss with Def Leppard or ZZ Top with Jeff Beck, offered concertgoers double the firepower for the evening. You can vote below for Tour of the Year.
The Let Rock Rule tour paired Aerosmith with Slash, which recalled the time Guns N’ Roses opened for Aerosmith in 1988. In the days leading up to the announcement, Joe Perry teased the tour by spray-painting several walls in Los Angeles. Together, they played 21 dates in sheds across North America over the summer.
Rock’s definitive road warriors, the Allman Brothers Band, decided to call it quits shortly after guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks announced that they would leave at the end of 2014. But they went out in style, with a string of dates at their second home, New York’s Beacon Theatre, concluding with a three-set show that was broadcast over satellite radio. Their final tour also took them to Mountain Jam, where they performed their first two albums — ‘The Allman Brothers Band’ and ‘Idlewild South’ — in their entirety.
One of the most welcome sights of a classic rock tour in 2014 was the return of Christine McVie to Fleetwood Mac for the first time since 1998. The reunion, which was sparked by her sitting in with the band in London in 2013, resulted in 34 shows at the end of 2014. It has been so well-received that they have extended the tour through spring.
Perhaps it was a way of making up for all those years that he refused to play Creedence Clearwater Revival songs, but in 2014, John Fogerty embraced his past like never before. He spent much of the second half of the year celebrating the 45th anniversary of the band's most productive year. He toured the U.S. and Canada, focusing on material from the three albums Creedence released in 1969, ‘Bayou Country,’ ‘Green River’ and ‘Willy and the Poor Boys.’ He has announced plans to bring the same show to the rest of the world in 2015.
Foreigner / Styx / Don Felder
The Soundtrack of Summer tour, which packaged Foreigner, Styx and former Eagles guitarist Don Felder, crisscrossed the U.S. from mid-May through late-July. Felder opened each show, with the other two switching spots on a nightly basis. The tour gained national headlines in Philadelphia when two of the tour buses caught fire while in a parking lot. They thanked the Philadelphia Fire Department by donating $10,000 to the department’s Widows Fund.
Never one to sit around for too long, Sammy Hagar grabbed old buddy Michael Anthony, Waboritas guitarist Vic Johnson and drummer Jason Bonham and took fans on 'A Journey through the History of Rock.’ The show touched on Hagar’s entire career — Montrose, solo, Van Halen and Chickenfoot — and, thanks to Bonham’s involvement, a handful of Led Zeppelin tunes.
Judas Priest / Steel Panther
Judas Priest’s first album in six years, ‘Redeemer of Souls,’ saw them replace longtime guitarist K.K. Downing with Richie Faulkner without missing a beat. Along with NSFW metal band Steel Panther, they spent October and November bringing what Rob Halford called an “incredible metal night” to more than 30 cities across America, including a stop in Brooklyn that we caught. Priest already have dates booked worldwide through Aug. 1, 2015.
Once again, Kiss’ summer tour saw them bring another heavyweight band on the road with them. With Def Leppard opening, the nine-week, 40-date jaunt across North American found Kiss, as they’ve done in the past, donate one dollar from every ticket sold to assorted charities that benefit military families. We saw them in August at a show that also included the Dead Daisies, a band comprised of veterans of such bands as Guns N’ Roses, INXS and Whitesnake.
After a handful of spring shows in South America, Paul McCartney’s 2014 hit a snag. A virus landed him in the hospital, forcing him to cancel an entire week of dates in Asia and postpone the start of his U.S. tour. But he rebounded by repeatedly delivering marathon concerts with his customary enthusiasm. The tour reached a poignant note in August when he played the final event at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, the same spot as the Beatles’ last-ever concert on Aug. 29, 1966.
Motley Crue / Alice Cooper
Motley Crue began 2014 by announcing their ‘Final Tour,’ complete with tombstones, a jazz funeral procession and even signing a legally binding ‘Cessation of Touring Agreement’ at the press conference. As befits the macabre tone, they invited Alice Cooper along as their opening act. Tommy Lee unveiled a new drum roller coaster, the Cruecifly, that was so big, it couldn’t even be performed at some venues. We’re not sure exactly when it will end -- we’ve heard New Year’s Eve, but then Vince Neil said he hopes that their last-ever show will be Jan. 17, 2016, which will be their 35th anniversary.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers / Steve Winwood
‘Hypnotic Eye,’ Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ first album since 2010’s ‘Mojo,’ was supported by a nine-week tour from early August to early October in cities across North America, including a late-August stop at Boston’s Fenway Park. Opening up for Petty on all dates was Steve Winwood.
After years of one-off dates and shows in Europe, Queen + Adam Lambert finally brought their live experience to North America. This past summer, they played 19 shows in 18 cities in the U.S. and Canada over the course of a month. They ended 2014 by playing a high-profile New Year’s Eve show at London’s Westminster Central Hall that was broadcast on the BBC.
The Rolling Stones weren’t kidding when they called their 2012 return to the road 50 and Counting. Their 14 on Fire tour took them to three continents. Unfortunately, the Australia and New Zealand leg was twice derailed, first with the death of L’Wren Scott, Mick Jagger’s girlfriend, and one of the rescheduled dates was canceled when Jagger picked up a throat infection.
After spending the first part of the year in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, Bruce Springsteen brought his tour in support of ‘High Hopes’ to the U.S. It was a brief run for Springsteen, with only 15 shows in five weeks during the spring. But the concerts, one of which we saw in Nashville, still blended newer songs and old favorites with his trademark intensity. He also threw in plenty of covers by acts as diverse as the Clash, AC/DC, the Bee Gees and Lorde.
Another tantalizing tour for classic rock fans paired ZZ Top and Jeff Beck. Their shows became noteworthy when the two acts combined forces in the encore for some guitar-based fireworks. Unfortunately, an injury to Dusty Hill forced ZZ Top to bow out of the last 13 shows, but they rescheduled several of those dates for 2015.