5 Classic Rock Bands That Still Tour Today

As the late 1960s gave way to the early 1970s, improvements in sound systems allowed concert promoters to begin booking louder bands in larger rooms. Those technological advancements made it possible for artists to play amphitheaters and arenas without sacrificing sound quality, which helped launch the modern-day touring industry. Rock ‘n’ roll bands took advantage of the opportunity, and the arena rock movement was born.

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Very few bands from that era have managed to maintain their reputation as platinum-selling rockers during the 21st century. That hasn’t stopped many of them from continuing to play the large venues that began hosting them decades earlier, though. In the list below, we shine some light on five of the classic rock acts that continue to tour today.

1. REO Speedwagon

REO Speedwagon formed in 1967, during keyboardist Neal Doughty’s junior year at the University of Illinois. It took a dozen years or so for the guys to become arena rock kings, during which time they tapped Kevin Cronin as frontman, softened the edges of their sound, and mastered their ability to write power ballads.

[RELATED: Behind the Band Name: REO Speedwagon]

“Keep on Loving You” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling” both became No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 during the early 1980s, with “Here with Me” marking the band’s final appearance in the Top 40 in 1988. Decades after that era of radio singles, REO Speedwagon continues to take it on the run with a lineup that includes Cronin and longtime bassist Bruce Hall. Doughty left the roster in 2023, after 56 years with the band.

2. Journey

Neal Schon formed Journey in 1973, when the guitarist was just 19 years old. A hotshot instrumentalist who’d already spent two years in Santana’s band, Schon filled Journey’s ranks with other musicians who could seriously play. The group performed a heady, progressive form of jazz fusion music until the late 1970s, when the addition of Steve Perry pushed Journey in a more commercial direction. Perry remained with the band for seven multi-platinum albums, singing era-defining hits like “Don’t Stop Believin'” and “Open Arms” before exiting the lineup during the late 1990s.

Replacing him wasn’t easy, but the group found another spirited frontman in Arnel Pineda. Since Pineda’s addition, Journey’s ticket sales have been reenergized, with the group often touring alongside bands like Styx, Toto, and Def Leppard.

They’re going on tour and you can learn more about how to buy Journey World Tour 2023 tickets by clicking this article.

3. Heart

When sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson joined Heart during the early 1970s, the band had already existed for nearly a decade. That didn’t stop the Wilsons from quickly becoming Heart’s focal point. After establishing themselves as hard-rocking hitmakers with albums like Dreamboat Annie and Little Queen, the Wilsons revamped their image and sound during the 1980s, earning their first No. 1 album (the self-titled Heart) and chart-topping singles (“These Dreams” and “Alone”) along the way. The Wilsons’ ability to adapt to new eras has served them well not only in the recording studio, but also onstage, where Heart continues to tour—often with new versions of the band’s lineup on a periodic basis. Nancy and Ann have both been known to perform Heart songs during their respective solo tours, too.

4. The Doobie Brothers

The Doobie Brothers‘ roster shifted constantly during the band’s 1970s heyday. Frontman Tom Johnston left the lineup in 1975, having developed stomach ulcers while touring behind the album Stampede, and Michael McDonald took his place one year later for Takin’ It to the Streets. Musicians like Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Willie Weeks cycled through the band’s roster at various points, too. This turnover proved to be the band’s secret weapon, since it created a wide network of Doobie alumni who remained on good terms with the group. Since the 1970s, nine of those alums have temporarily returned to the lineup for more touring. Johnston, Patrick Simmons, and John McFee have all been back in the fold since the 1990s, while McDonald returned during the mid-2010s, giving the band two frontmen.

5. Styx

Dennis DeYoung left Styx‘s lineup twice, with his permanent exit occurring in 1999. Although he wasn’t the band’s only lead singer, Styx’s future seemed uncertain without DeYoung, who had written seven of the group’s eight Top 10 hits—including “Mr. Roboto,” “Lady,” and “Babe”—and helped shape their theatrical version of progressive rock. In his absence, the band hired Lawrence Gowan and sailed into the 21st century not as chart-toppers, but as reinvigorated road warriors. Styx continues to hit the road nearly every year, playing amphitheaters alongside fellow classic rockers like Journey, Yes, and REO Speedwagon.

Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for God’s Love we Deliver

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