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2017 is shaping up to be a good year for live music. Theaters, arenas and amphitheaters around the country are booked with concerts featuring up-and-comers, hot nostalgia acts and, of course, singers currently topping the charts. If you’re wondering which shows are generating the most buzz, here’s a list of the ten tours you shouldn’t miss. Take a look and then check out CheapTickets.com for the latest info and ticket prices.

RELATED: 8 most epic Super Bowl halftime shows ever

Ariana Grande: Dangerous Woman Tour
This pint-sized diva with a Grande voice kicked off her 37-date North American tour in early February. She’s also a Broadway vet (who also recently appeared in NBC’s “Hairspray Live!”), so don’t be surprised if she sneaks a show tune or two into her set.

Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey: All the Hits Tour
Mariah didn’t ring in 2017 on the right note (or any note, for that matter), during her troubled New Year’s Rockin’ Eve performance, but you can expect the diva to be in better form during this 35-date tour with Lionel Richie, which starts March 15. (No word on whether or not Richie will actually dance on the ceiling.)

Bruno Mars | Flickr CC: Brothers Le

Bruno Mars: 24K Magic tour
Talk about great expectations: Bruno Mars sold one million tickets to this tour (which comes to North America July 15) in a single day. That’s a lot of magic. (You can get yours right here.)

The Weeknd: Starboy – Legend of the Fall Tour
The Weeknd (real name: Abel Makkonen Tesfaye) is known for his moody, R&B songs—with dark, graphic videos to match. His concert tour (coming to North America April 25) will likely follow suit, so it should probably come with a parental warning.

Boyz II Men | Flickr CC: Eva Rinaldi

New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men, Paula Abdul: Total Package Tour
If the cast of “Full House” can make a big comeback, so can other stars from the ‘90s. This trio of acts on this 40-city tour (kicking off May 12) covers all the bases: There’s the peppy boy band, R&B bedroom crooners and a Laker’s Girl-turned pop star. The only thing missing from this bill is Abdul’s cartoon cat duet partner from “Opposites Attract.”

Queen and Adam Lambert | Flickr CC: Tatianka1986

Queen + Adam Lambert Tour 2017
No one can really replace Freddie Mercury, but “American Idol” runner-up Adam Lambert comes pretty close. The singer is collaborating with the classic rock band once again for a 25-city tour starting June 23.

ALSO: For savings that truly rock, sign up for CheapTickets Rewards!

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill: Soul2Soul The World Tour 2017
Every few years, this country-music power couple brings back their hugely successful tour that first launched in 2000. This year’s version (the first since 2006) kicks off April 7 and each of the 73 shows will feature separate sets by the two singers, plus a portion of duets.

U2 | Flickr CC: U2start

U2: The Joshua Tree Tour
Here’s some news that will make you feel old: U2’s breakthrough album, The Joshua Tree, first topped the charts 30 years ago. The Irish band is celebrating the anniversary with 20 North American dates starting May 12.

Idina Menzel: World Tour 2017
The voice behind “Wicked” and “Frozen” kicks off a 48-city tour (with most dates in North America, as well as Europe and Japan) on April 7. We can only hope John Travolta will also be on hand to introduce her as “Adele Dazeem” like he did at the 2015 Oscars.

Lady Gaga
Since Gaga wowed everyone with a show-stopping Super Bowl half time performance, it’s no surprise the singer is using that momentum to launch a new tour. And even though she’s touring to support her stripped down, country-tinged album, “Joanne,” expect the concerts (which kick off August 1) to be the kind of over-the-top spectacle we’ve come to expect from the meat dress-wearing diva.


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The Super Bowl halftime show is one of the most high profile gigs in music. You get only 12 minutes, maybe less, if you’re sharing the stage. For some, it’s a blur of glory. For others it feels like an eternity set to fireworks. In it’s 50 years, the Super Bowl halftime show has certainly seen its share of both triumphs and catastrophes. With Lady Gaga set to take the stage in Houston in 2017, here’s our list of the Super Bowl’s most historic halftime performances.

RELATED: Get your Super Bowl LI tickets from CheapTickets!

Flickr CC: Larry Darling

Flickr CC: Larry Darling

8. Katy Perry, Missy Elliot and Lenny Kravitz (2005)

There’s no doubt Katy Perry knows how to put on a good show. Who can forget the sight of Katy in her flame-print dress riding that gigantic metal lion? She did look a little stiff singing “Roar” atop her gigantic stead. Nevertheless, it was definitely one of the most memorable openings to any halftime show. Lenny Kravitz joined her for a particularly rocking version of “I Kissed A Girl.” As the first bars of “Get Your Freak On” start pounding out for the return of the fantastic Missy Elliot, the performance kicks into full gear. Yes, Katy gets slightly upstaged by her boisterous backup, Left Shark, and Missy, a supremely confident stage stealer, but ultimately this performance represents all the beautiful insanity that is a Super Bowl halftime show—turned up to 11.

Flickr CC: kyleburning

Flickr CC: kyleburning

7. Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, P. Diddy, Kid Rock, Jessica Simpson, and Nelly (2004)

Hands down the most famous Super Bowl halftime show in history, just for all the wrong reasons. One second of breast and Janet Jackson’s career was over. As nearly was Justin’s. The FCC fined CBS and it wasn’t until 2011 that a court finally quashed the penalties. The NFL even kicked ex-‘N Sync member JC Chasez off that year’s Pro Bowl halftime show for fear he would be too sexually suggestive. They opted instead for Hawaiian dancers. CBS forced Janet Jackson to apologize in a recorded statement. Oh, and the performances were pretty good, too.

Flickr CC: Teresa Sedo

Flickr CC: Teresa Sedo

6. Pete Fountain, Irma Thomas, and Doug Kershaw (1990)

The mashup is an NFL halftime tradition, but they can’t all be winners. While the Super Bowl has seen its fair share of insane combinations of talent over the years (the absolutely bizarre, yet oddly enthralling combo of ‘N Sync, Aerosmith, Nelly, Mary J. Blige and Britney Spears jumps to mind) this one takes the cake for insane pairings. A dual celebration of Mardi Gras and the 40 year anniversary of the Peanuts cartoon, it’s ridiculous and not even in a fun way. The show opens with Charlie Brown and company dancing along to a marching band and ends with Snoopy riding a Louisiana riverboat to “When The Saints Go Marching In” which segues into “Happy Birthday Charlie Brown.” Not one bit of it makes any sense.

5. Michael Jackson (1993)

For a long time the NFL treated the halftime show as a throwaway. Between 1967 and 1989, halftime shows were cheesy affairs. 1992’s halftime show featured Gloria Estefan performing with a group of Olympic figure skaters. It was better, but nobody watched it because “In Living Color” aired a comedy special at the exact same time. The very next year, the NFL brought in the king of pop for what turned out to be the last of Michael Jackson’s many great televised performances.

Right from the beginning, the star power was on in full effect. Jackson stood statue still for a full minute and a half, just letting the crowd go wild, before bursting into “Billy Jean.” The ending was cheesy, with a chorus of children joining in on “Heal The World,” but this was the beginning of the star studded halftime show lineups we’ve come to expect—and the NFL never looked back.

RELATED: PSA: Airports are now hiring therapy pigs

Flickr CC: Steffane Lui

Flickr CC: Steffane Lui

4. Diana Ross (1996)

If Michael Jackson was the beginning of the Super Bowl halftime show’s celebrity power, Diana Ross paved the way for ridiculous spectacles like Katy Perry’s metal lion. The cinematography was a mess. But the performance was great, culminating in Diana’s big exit. A helicopter lands on the stage and she’s airlifted out of the stadium as the words “A true diva knows how to make a grand entrance and an even grander exit” flash onto the screen. And with that, the halftime show’s history of over-the-top pageantry was firmly cemented.

Flickr CC: PeterTea

Flickr CC: PeterTea

3. Prince (2007)

Just Prince doing his thing in the middle of a thunderstorm. The man absolutely brought it with fantastic covers of “We Will Rock You,” “Proud Mary” and “All Along The Watchtower,” as well as a few of his personal best. Only a few years after “nipplegate,” this was a daring choice for the NFL. Prince’s performance was undoubtedly sexy, but managed to stay cable network friendly. The finale of “Purple Rain” was one of the best any performer can hope to offer, and Prince’s guitar solo made it clear; if you weren’t going to actually play an instrument, you better at least have a metal lion or something.

Flickr CC: U2start

Flickr CC: U2start

2. U2 (2002)

More than a great show, this was a true historic moment. Bono and company started things out with a full rendition of “Beautiful Day.” Then the words “September 11th, 2001” flash onto a giant screen behind the band. You can actually hear a reverent hush fall over the cheering crowd as Bono begins “MLK,” then transitions into “Where The Streets Have No Name” as the names of survivors begin to scroll on the screen behind him. So much could have gone wrong and not just because a subpar performance would have been a disaster. U2 played it perfectly, from the song choices to the staging. As Bono shouts “America!” and an ocean of glow sticks wave pridefully back at him, you can still feel the intensity of the moment watching it years later. Powerful and unifying. It wasn’t a “wardrobe malfunction,” but it got America’s attention.

Flickr CC: Arnie Papp

Flickr CC: Arnie Papp

1. Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Beyoncé, and Mark Ronson (Let’s be honest, we’re talking about Bey’s part) (2016)

Beyoncé’s first Super Bowl performance in 2013 was undoubtedly a better show. She got top billing and reunited with Destiny’s Child. Easily one of the best halftime shows, it’s no surprise the NFL wanted her back just three years later. Coldplay opened with “Viva La Vida,” a perfect opening number, and Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson brought it to us with “Uptown Funk.” But it was Bey’s performance that made history.

She didn’t even need a stage, launching into “Formation” right on the field in front of a wall of fire. The song, and it’s accompanying music video is a clear indictment of racial inequality and police brutality. Beyoncé and her backup dancers dressed in outfits that evoked the Black Panthers. Just like U2’s performance, this was a show that became part of the American narrative. Not all historical events are unifying. Neither are all Super Bowl halftime shows. This was an amazing artist, using one of the biggest stages in show business to address a pressing social problem in American culture. Whether or not you feel it was appropriate, we will be talking about Beyoncé’s performance—especially people’s reaction to it—for years to come.   


Tagged: City, Sports

Jesse Betend

Jesse Betend

Jesse is a writer and radio producer in Chicago. He is the Executive Producer for the embarrassing storytelling podcast "We Still Like You" and writes for the Chicago Sun-Times.