All anyone's been talking about are those aged wonders The Rolling Stones and their 50th-anniversary tour, currently in Chicago. But there's so much more happening on the road this summer.
It's a crowded tour market and everyone is competing for your entertainment dollar.
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The average concertgoer very rarely leaves that comfy chair to head to the arena or stadium, so there's something of a battle royale out there for your attention. In that spirit, we paired some of the hottest acts on the road to compete for your attention:
New Kids on the Block versus Bob Dylan
What do boy bands and Dylan have in common? An understanding that a healthy bottom line in a busy summer can sometimes be determined by whom you take out on the road. New Kids on the Block aren't new kids on the block, after all, so they smartly paired up with 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men for the aptly titled The Package Tour. Dylan, on the other hand, dipped into the large pool of acolytes he's influenced over the years to put together the Americanarama Festival of Music with My Morning Jacket and Wilco.
Kid Rock versus Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z
Ever the populist (and shrewd marketer), Kid Rock recently called high ticket prices for the Timberlake-Hova Legends of the Summer Tour "garbage" and is countering with $20 tickets for his own Best Night Ever Tour. Timberlake and Jay-Z are playing at some of America's most beloved ballparks and offer some of the hottest material going in music right now. Kid Rock is countering with $4 beer. That's right, $4 beer.
Paul McCartney versus One Direction
This one reminds us that American teenage girls have been screaming their heads off at British boy bands for a half-century. McCartney is inventive when it comes to tour plotting and can still excite with an expansive catalog of enduring hits. His stop at the Bonnaroo music festival this year is one of the summer's most anticipated moments. But when it comes to decibels, the boys from One Direction will incite Justin Bieber-level delirium when they storm the country's arenas.
Beyoncé versus Rihanna
They both chose to start overseas before bringing the party home and both have had their troubles, each recently canceling shows due to illness. Rihanna got off to a tough start when her media junket backfired and then there were the recent boos in Boston. And there are those rumors that persist around Beyonce's The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour that Queen B is pregnant and on the verge of canceling. But we're in a gambling mood. Roll the dice ... if you can pay the price.
See them locally: Beyoncé plays the United Center in Chicago on July 17. Rihanna played Chicago in March.
Taylor Swift versus Kenny Chesney
On the surface it seems like Swift and Chesney have little in common beyond format, but both have a gift for filling seats. At one time Swift was the pupil and Chesney the mentor out on the road, but these days they're equals when it comes to touring. Both can fill stadiums with shrewd choices for opening acts and both have had so much success on the road, you wonder how they keep it up.
See them locally: Swift plays Soldier Field Aug. 10. Chesney has no plans to play the Chicago area this summer.