We all have our fantasy “dream tours” – favorite recording artists (or even combinations thereof) that we’d love to see performing live in concert, even if doing so would require the acquisition of a time machine. But even more tantalizing, in a way, are the “ghost tours” – those incredible tours that very nearly did come to pass, at least until fate, greed or (in some cases) common sense intervened.
Here are 15 of the most memorable ghost tours from the last half-century of pop history; some of them have achieved almost mythological status, while others marked a turning point in an artist’s history, and still others simply exemplify the difficulties that can arise when you’re dealing with arena-sized egos. Regardless, we wish all of these tours had happened the way they were originally supposed to – and we really wish we could have been there for all of them.
Kanye West and Lady Gaga: Fame Kills (2009)
The summer of 2009 was abuzz with talk of a joint tour involving Kanye West and Lady Gaga, a summit meeting of hip-hop and pop that would feature the two artists simultaneously occupying different ends of a specially designed arena-traversing stage. “We’re doing it together, with no opening act,” West told ABC’s The View that June.
The epic U.S. jaunt was supposed to kick off that November in Phoenix, and finish 10 weeks later in Dallas; but on September 13th, 12 days before tickets for the Fame Kills tour were due to go on sale, West infamously interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. The ensuing media firestorm cast a dark cloud over the tour, which was officially canceled on October 1st – though no official reason was given for the cancellation. “We mutually decided to cancel the tour,” said Gaga, who announced her upcoming Monster Ball Tour two weeks later. “He’s going to take a break, but I’m not.”
Genesis: ‘Lamb Lies Down on Broadway’ Reunion With Peter Gabriel (2005)
Despite the many millions of records that Genesis have sold with Phil Collins fronting the band, a reunion with original frontman Peter Gabriel and early guitarist Steve Hackett has long topped the wish lists of hardcore Genesis fans. Word of a possible reunion tour began to circulate in late 2005, when Hackett, Gabriel and Collins all publicly expressed a willingness to consider it. Several months later, Collins further stoked the reunion fever by revealing that he, Gabriel, Hackett, and current Genesis members Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford had actually met to discuss the possibility of re-staging their epic 1974 concept album, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
Nothing came of it at the time, but excitement built anew in 2014, when fans seized upon various clues that seemed to indicate a reunion in honor of the album’s 40th anniversary – but three years later, a Lamb-era reunion still hasn’t come to pass. “It’s never been ruled out,” Gabriel told Rolling Stone in 2013. “I’m trying to picture a time when it would top my priorities list though.”