If you feel more Tired Than Ever as this year comes to a close, you’re not alone, as covid restrictions lifted and you seemingly ran out of excuses to decline social events, live music came back full force to tempt your wallet and test your vocal cords. With a backlog of tours from 2020 and 2021 along with newly announced tours hitting the road this year, there was a seemingly endless supply of must-see concerts. Affirmatively, the experience of seeing your favorite artist live cannot be beaten by virtual events or whatever livestream-type concerts we’d like to leave behind in our browser history. Since rankings are subjective or in Gen Z terminology “cheugy”, we’ve decided to award some of the most-talked-about tours of 2022 with our own monikers. Whichever tour on this list was your fave also says something about you, don’t pretend you went to see Phoebe Bridgers to smile or Harry Styles to not fan girl with a feather boa. Scroll through our Tours of ‘22 list and make your own Spotify Wrapped: Concert edition with your top four choices.
Billie Eilish, Happier Than Ever
The Most Big T-Shirt Energy Tour After delays and restrictions, it was a long time coming to see the oversized T-shirt-wearing and hair-dyed pop star that is Billie Eilish. Her Happier Than Ever tour left no country or city unturned with 87 shows in total, spanning North America, Europe, Asia, Oceania, and Latin America. She also brought her best friends and favorite artists along with her, like Arlo Parks, Willow, Jessie Reyez, Girl in Red, and Dora Jar to name a few. The most engaging part of the show was Eilish herself, cheekily telling fans to “have fun, bitch” and jumping around onstage with electrifying energy. After the success of her second studio album, Happier Than Ever, which was released during covid, it was only fitting that she had stadiums quite literally happier than ever dancing to “bad guy” and then weeping to “when the party’s over” because her music brings up all the feels.
The 1975 – At Their Very Best
The Most Engaging Tour Wherever they go, The 1975 always makes a ton of noise. Their current At Their Very Best tour has taken North America by storm, as it seems every night Matty Healy and the band do something newsworthy. Whether it’s eating raw meat, kissing fans on stage, or yelling about menthol cigarettes in auto-tune, The 1975’s current tour has provided us with co-worker coffee chat till next year. Their gorgeous set design featured an interactive sitcom-style family home complete with a stack of retro TVs and lots of room for Healy to jump around with red wine or a cigarette in hand. The performance of their latest album Being Funny in a Foreign Language gives it new life and was balanced by crowd pleasers from their discography. If you’re looking for the full rock’n’roll gritty concert experience, Healy has been granting requests for mouth-to-mouth wine sharing—’tis the season after all.
Harry Styles – Love On Tour
The Most Fan Girl Tour If you attended a Harry Styles concert this year, chances are your eardrums are still recovering. His Love On Tour concert tickets were some of the hardest to get and for good reason, his fans were absolutely feral screaming at his every movement and basking in the joy of hearing songs from Harry’s House live for the first time. The Gucci-clad British heartthrob danced around the stage exuding charisma and positive energy as his live band added depth to the experience of his concert. It’s impossible not to be swept up in the pandemonium of a Harry Styles concert and no matter how many of your friends share a passion for his music, there’s nothing quite like the shared experience of fangirling with thousands of like-minded Harry stans. Those that get it, get it, and the only people at his concert that didn’t were the boyfriends and dads dragged along for the “Watermelon Sugar” ride.
Phoebe Bridgers – Reunion Tour
The Most Came Here to Cry Tour If anyone had a moment this year, it was Phoebe Bridgers. It’s been a wild road for Phoebe, as her rise to the top of the indie-pop game came with a handful of fever-dream moments. After dropping her landmark record Punisher in the midst of the pandemic, Phoebe had to wait until the end of 2021 to play shows and finally went on a world tour this past year. From Coachella and Glastonbury to Red Rocks and the O2 Academy Brixton, Phoebe went everywhere and back in 2022. Known for her witty and self-deprecating take on sadness, the atmosphere of her music live is decisively woeful. The visuals are dark, the outfits are reminiscent of Wednesday Addams, and the dark humor is high. But that’s exactly what you want out of a Phoebe Bridgers concert. I’m not crying, we’re all crying and screaming the lyrics to “I Know The End” and it hits different than the 3746 times you’ve listened to it alone.
My Chemical Romance – Reunion Tour
The Most Teenage Dirtbag Tour The emo generation of the 2000s finally got the one thing they’ve always wanted—a My Chemical Romance reunion tour. Initially scheduled for 2020, the tour was pushed back a full two years, only building the anticipation of the band’s long-awaited return. In many ways this reunion was a dream for MCR fans: changing setlists, festival appearances, and Gerard Way dressing up every night. Starting in the UK, trekking through Europe, and finishing at the When We Were Young festival in Las Vegas is the perfect way for MCR to return, and emo fans across the globe finally got to reignite their childhood angst. Gen Z may have MGK (Machine Gun Kelly) but Millenials will always have MCR and nothing can replace the nostalgia of your teenage angst being soundtracked by pop-punk bands of the aughts.
Kendrick Lamar – The Big Steppers
The Most GOAT Tour Known for his absence and silence in-between albums, Kendrick Lamar came back from a five-year break with a bang. He went to therapy, contemplated his position as a moral authority in hip-hop as voted by the people, and grappled with his identity—all of which informed his fifth studio album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers. He then went on a world tour relying on family ties for support by bringing along his pgLang artist, Tanna Leone, and cousin Baby Keem. The Big Steppers tour was Kendrick Lamar at his very best, with every meticulous detail of the 1.5-hour-long set planned and performed to perfection. He used compelling visuals like shadow play, therapist interjections, dancers, pyrotechnics, and colored lights to illustrate the thematic elements of his new album. Hip-hop shows aren’t known for their bells and whistles but Kendrick delivered a theatrical performance that had the intention and storytelling large-scale pop tours often lack. Song after song, weaving old classics like “m.A.A.d city” with new songs like “N95”, Kendrick built on the awe and excitement of the crowd in a Meek Mill “y’all thought I was finished?” way. Arguably his best tour yet, Kendrick may not be your savior but he is, without a doubt, one of the greatest of all time.
Giveon – Give or Take
The Most Heartbreakin’ Tour The baritone and brooding R&B heartbreaker also known as Giveon hit the road this year after the release of his Give or Take album. Since his debut EP, Take Time, fans have been swooning over his honeyed deep voice and storied tales of heartbreak falling hard and fast only to have relationships turn sour. It was his feature on Drake’s “Chicago Freestyle” that catapulted him to a bigger spotlight and if you attended his concert in the hopes of hearing it live you weren’t disappointed. Giveon is the type of artist who largely keeps to himself outside of music but his extrovert capabilities were on display at each concert warmly greeting fans and engaging with the crowd between songs. He cheekily asked if his next love was somewhere in the audience as a transition into “Make You Mine” and took a BeReal with a fan’s phone at the tour’s stop in Toronto. It’s impossible not to reminisce over exes or missed connections at a Giveon concert but the ultimate heartbreak was when he said goodbye and you were left wondering when you’d see him live again.
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Global Stadium Tour
The Most Cross-Generational Tour If you’re an avid Chili Peppers fan, 2022 was definitely your year. Not only did the band reunite with longtime guitarist John Frusciante, but they released two new records and played sold-out stadiums all around the world. Bringing artists like The Strokes, St. Vincent, Thundercat, Anderson Paak, and A$AP Rocky along with them, the Chili Peppers reunion tour was a spectacle worthy of the nearly two-decade wait. It was also one of the stadium tours that you and your parents may have wanted to see together but you would still be straining your voice trying to explain to them who the stylish guy with braids is when the Chili Peppers brought A$AP Rocky out. Aside from being an exciting performance, it proved the band is as popular as ever being the 7th highest-earning tour of the year. With additional legs announced for 2023, it’s not too late to see Anthony, Flea, and the gang at the top of their game.
Alex G – God Save the Animals Tour
The Most Indie Tour Hot off the release of God Save the Animals, one of the best indie-rock records of the year, Alex G embarked on a North American tour that made waves across the indie-music world. Constantly changing up his set and surprising fans with hilarious covers (i.e. playing an autotune version of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” in Toronto), Alex G captivated audiences with his wit and emotion every night. Chances are there was someone in the crowd next to you bragging about how they’ve been listening to him since Bandcamp days and when he went by (Sandy) Alex G. Indie fans love a good underground artist but talent prevails and watching his tight band bring the heat alongside him affirmed his star will only keep rising.
Jack Harlow – Come Home The Kids Miss You
The Most Flirty Tour If there was an award for the biggest flirt of 2022 it would no doubt go to Jack Harlow. He took over social feeds with viral moments of candid flirtiness almost as much as he dominated radio play with songs like “First Class”. For many fans, his Come Home The Kids Miss You tour was the first opportunity to see him live and experience the Harlow effect IRL. He used banter to transition between songs, devilishly hyping the crowd up for an intermission involving three fans and a chance to shoot their shot in the set’s basketball net. When it got too hot, he “accidentally” hosed the crowd down delivering a personalized and immersive experience that streaming can’t compare to. His live band breathed new life into his discography and his on-screen personality was just as charming in person.
Turnstile – Love Connection
The Most Injured in a Mosh Pit Tour What else is there to say about this tour that hasn’t already been said? Turnstile had quite the year after releasing their career-defining record GLOW ON and brought it to life on their most recent Love Connection tour. As perhaps the most hyped tour in all of punk and indie-rock this year, tickets sold-out instantly and Turnstile did not disappoint. Bringing along fellow Baltimore artists Snail Mail and JPEGMafia, Turnstile blew the roof off of every venue they played and proved that the hype around them is real—no one moshes like Turnstile fans. Think water bottles being sprayed, hair being swung, shoes being stepped on, and a blur of sweaty punk rockers having something akin to an exorcism via music. Building on the success of this year, Turnstile has been recruited to open for Blink-182 during their massive reunion tour next year.
Lil Nas X – Long Live Montero
The Most Theatrical Tour It’s wild to think that after multiple Grammy Awards, number-one hits, and internet takeovers, Lil Nas X just went on the first headlining tour of his career. Dubbed the Long Live Montero tour, named after his 2021 chart-topping debut album MONTERO, Nas proved he can give a damn good performance outside of award shows too. Playbills were handed out in the lobby, the first nod to the show’s Broadway theme, and it was a way to credit everyone that made the production possible. Naturally, Nas had six costume changes, all highlighted in the Playbill, which were Renaissance-inspired and aligned with the Broadway three-act structure of the show. The set and costume changes were concealed by “The Wizard Of Naz” projected on the stage curtain between acts. The Wizard was as informative as she was entertaining, explaining to the crowd how each act represents a different part of Nas’ story in coming to terms with himself and his desires. The concept was on brand with MONTERO and Lil Nas X’s visuals to date and while reflective of his star power, it set a high standard for what to expect from his next tour. Although, if there’s anyone that can outdo such a grandiose debut—it’s Lil Nas X.
Rosalía — Motomami
The Most Sassy Tour As reggaeton continues to take over the world, no one is advancing the genre quite like Rosalía. In support of Motomami, her wildly inventive record released earlier this year, Rosalía brought her squad of impeccably dressed dancers worldwide to show that she is a superstar worthy of everyone’s attention. The TikTok content that ensued instilled fomo and awe in those who didn’t make it out to the show. From sassily chewing gum during “Bizcochito”, riding electric scooters on stage, and shredding her electric guitar, the Motomami tour solidified Rosalía as a truly generational talent. Special shout-out to her motorcycle aesthetic tour outfits which constantly changed and really made you think about how many different ways you can slay in a mini skirt and a leather jacket.
The Weeknd – After Hours Til Dawn
The Most Sinister Tour Despite being plagued by postponements, delays, and cell service outages, the After Hours Til Dawn tour was undoubtedly one of the biggest live spectacles of the year—and The Weeknd’s career. With an elaborate stage set-up, dynamic lighting, intense pyrotechnics, and eerie hood-clad dancers, Abel brought it all as he played tracks from his blockbuster albums After Hours and Dawn FM along with classics from earlier in his career. It was sinister, otherworldly, ominous, and oh-so-Abel reflective of his current purgatory pop star era while also allowing room for his chilling R&B classics to organically intertwine. It was the immersive experience that his fans have been waiting for and with the 2nd leg of the tour kicking off next summer, surely it will be all over your social feeds again.
What Your Top 4 Says About You
Choose the graphic below that best summarizes the concerts you went to (or wish you went to) and read on.
Two words: unapologetically bold. You are the definition of living life to the fullest and you are a magnet for positive energy because of the good juju you radiate outwards. You picked up crocheting as your new hobby and now your evenings consist of balls of yarn, scented candles, and Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, Jack Harlow, or Lil Nas X to keep you company.
Wednesday’s Child is Full of Woe
One thing about you is that you go against the grain. You seek out the depths of the internet for niche subcultures. Your worst nightmare is being forced to listen to the radio’s Top 40 songs in an excruciatingly long Uber ride. The ‘Lorem’ and ‘Pollen’ Spotify playlists run your weekday mornings and you swear you’re soulmates with every indie band’s lead singer like Phoebe Bridgers, Matty Healy from The 1975, Alex G, and Brendan Yates from Turnstile.
You’re a creature of habit, you know what you like and you love the comfort of nostalgia more than the excitement of change. You have a soft spot for the 2000s and the era of music and pop culture that went along with it. The Y2K resurgence this year amused you as you watched people scramble to buy items you still have from high school. You’re loyal, self-assured and you go to concerts to relive memories with artists like Red Hot Chili Peppers, My Chemical Romance, Blink-182, and Paramore.
Hip-hop & Pop Culture Aficionado
Either you live and breathe hip-hop, or you don’t. And you’re obviously the former. You march to the beat of your own drums or in this case, 808s. You’re a walking style icon and your friends come to you for euphemisms in the latest Metro Boomin album. Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, Giveon, and Tyler, the Creator are just a few artists you have on repeat and yes, you’re in charge of the aux, always.