2014 in Review
The year 2014 was a great one for live concerts. Billy Joel made history in his hometown of New York with the launch of his Madison Square Garden residency, while Beyoncé and Jay Z left their mark at stadiums across the country during the On the Run Tour. 2014 also showed us the life cycle of the music industry: young artists Miley Cyrus and One Direction confirmed their rising star power with huge tours, while music icons Cat Stevens and Garth Brooks returned to the stage after many years away. In the summer, after one last tour around the U.S., country legend George Strait said his final farewell to fans in his home state of Texas.
But what does a snapshot of the year’s biggest tours look like on a track level? Using data from setlist.fm, the crowd-sourced concert setlist wiki, we compiled a list of the most played songs for some of our top touring artists of 2014, including the acts mentioned above.
One Direction Relies on Biggest 2014 Single for Where We Are Tour
Some of the most-performed songs for big tours were fairly predictable. One Direction played “Story of My Life” 61 times, more than any other song in its catalog. It’s worth noting that the song was the second single—and best-selling track—off Midnight Memories, the 2013 album the group was supporting on the road. When the 2015 One Direction tour returns in July, you can bet the most popular singles from its new No. 1 album, Four, will make it on to the setlist.
This pattern rang true for most of the pop powerhouses as well. Beyoncé’s top songs (“Blow” and “Drunk in Love”) were both from her GRAMMY-nominated 2013 album, and Katy Perry’s six-times Platinum single “Dark Horse” topped her 2014 setlist. Country star Luke Bryan performed “That’s My Kind of Night” the most, at 48 shows. It’s fitting, considering the tour (which was so popular that it’s been extended into 2015) took its name from that same multi-Platinum track.
Touring Veterans Treat Audiences to Biggest Career Hits
Veteran outfits on the road in 2014 had more material to choose from, but as you can see in the list below, these acts kept fans happy with greatest-hits-heavy setlists. Paul McCartney stuck mostly to Beatles tunes for his Out There Tour dates, and Garth Brooks has mostly performed fan favorites from his early career, including his bar anthem “Friends in Low Places.”
This was also true of rock outfit, Fleetwood Mac, which will continue its reunion tour with Christine McVie in 2015. The much-loved five-piece’s most-performed songs of the ongoing On With the Show Tour (“Go Your Own Way” and “The Chain”) are both staples from its 1977 album Rumours. As of Oct. 2014, that classic record has sold more than 20 million copies in the U.S. alone, making it one of the top 10 best-selling albums in all of American music history.
Check out our Spotify playlist of these most-performed songs of 2014, and then prepare to compile data for next year by securing concert tickets for the biggest upcoming tours of 2015.
Most-Performed Songs from 2014’s Top Touring Acts
100x: Justin Timberlake – “Not a Bad Thing”
85x: Lady Gaga – “Bad Romance,” “G.U.Y.,” “Applause,” and more
80x: Katy Perry – “Dark Horse”
79x: Miley Cyrus – “Wrecking Ball”
78x: Zac Brown Band – “Knee Deep,” “Chicken Fried”
76x: Mötley Crüe – “Kickstart My Heart”
62x: Eagles – “Life in the Fast Line,” “Desperado,” “Hotel California,” and more
61x: One Direction – “Story of My Life”
61x: Bruno Mars – “Treasure”
54x: James Taylor – “Carolina in My Mind,” “Fire and Rain"
51x: Garth Brooks – “Friends in Low Places,” “The River,” "The Dance," and more
48x: Luke Bryan – “That’s My Kind of Night”
46x: Jason Aldean – “She’s Country”
42x: Cher – “Woman’s World,” “If I Could Turn Back Time,” “Believe,” and more
39x: Fleetwood Mac – “The Chain,” “Go Your Own Way”
38x: Tom Petty – “American Dream Plan B,” “Forgotten Man,” “U Get Me High,” and more
36x: Billy Joel – “You May Be Right”
35x: Paul McCartney – “Blackbird,” “Hey Jude”
31x: Dave Matthews Band – “Belly Belly Nice”
27x: Beyoncé – “Drunk in Love,” “Blow”
26x: George Strait – “The Fireman,” “Ocean Front Property”
25x: Enrique Iglesias – “Bailando”
20x: Stevie Wonder – “Sir Duke”
14x: Eminem – “The Monster,” “Not Afraid,” and “Lose Yourself"
10x: Drake – “Tuscan Leather”