Guide

Top 10 Best Concerts In Chicago

An ariel view of Solider Field in Chicago filled with over 70,000 fans during the opening act of Ed Sheeran Concert in July 2023.
Source : twitter

Chicago is one of the best cities in the United States of America to host musical concerts. The city in Illinois has seen numerous best concerts in the history of states.

The largest city in Illinois is home to numerous concert venues and stadiums which have hosted bands and artists like Taylor Swift, The Rolling Stones, and Bruce Springsteen, among many others.

While there are recurring music festivals with popular and big concerts held every year in different parts of Chicago, they are not close to the historic concerts hosted by the city. Roger Waters alone drew ticket sales revenue of over 5 million in 2010 from a single multi-day event that too in an indoor venue.

We have listed the ten best concerts hosted by the city of Chicago since the 1990s and sorted them based on the year. However, every event has set or broken records in one way or another and amassed a huge crowd.

10 Best Concerts In Chicago

Artist Name (Tour)Date
Neil Diamond (World Tour)September 14 - 16, 1996
The Rolling Stones (No Security Tour)March 26, April 12, 1999
Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band (Reunion Tour)September 27 - 30, 1999
U2 (Elevation Tour)May 12 - 16, 2001
Paul McCartney (Driving USA)April 10 - 11, 2002
Roger Waters (The Wall Live)September 20 - 24, 2010
Pearl Jam (Lightning Bolt Tour)July 19, 2013
Taylor Swift (The Red Tour)August 10, 2013
Beyoncé and Jay Z (On the Run Tour)July 24, 2014
One Direction (On the Road Again Tour)August 23, 2015

You May Like:

1. Neil Diamond (World Tour)

A poster showing Neil Diamond holding Guitar made to advertise his 1996 World Tour.
Source : concertarchives

Neil Diamond's World Tour 1996 was hosted by United Center in Chicago. Over 59,364 people joined the concert in three days.

The concert was hosted on September 14, 15, and 16, of 1996. The sold-out concert raised over $1.5 million in three days making it one of the largest and best concerts hosted in Chicago.

Fans of all ages and walks of life attended the show, from teenagers to elderly people everyone enjoyed the enchanting voice and music by Neil Diamond at United Center for all three days, obviously a different group of people on all the days.

Setlist

The selected setlist of Neil Diamond's World Tour concert at the United Center in Chicago is listed below.

  • Crunchy Granola Suite
  • Hello Again
  • Solitary Man
  • Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon
  • Cherry, Cherry
  • Beautiful Noise
  • Play Me
  • Kentucky Woman
  • Can Anybody Hear Me
  • One Good Love
  • No limit 

2. The Rolling Stones (No Security Tour)

A poster advertising No Security Tour with picture of the Rolling Stones band members.
Source : amazon

The Rolling Stones's No Security Tour concert was also hosted by United Center in 1999. The event was held on two dates March 26 and April 12.

The March 26 concert was attended by 19,030 fans and the April 12 event was attended by 18,941 fans. The two concerts raised $2.26 and $2.27 million respectively just from the ticket sales revenue.

One of the most famous bands, Rolling Stones's concert was one of the biggest and most popular events in Chicago. With fans of all ages and from around Illinois attending the event, it is easily one of the best concerts Chicago has ever hosted.

The opening act for the March 26 event was performed by Goo Goo Dolls. Jonny Lang opened on April 12.

Setlist

Rolling Stones's average setlist for the 1999 No Security Tour is listed below.

  • Jumpin' Jack Flash
  • Live With Me
  • You Got Me Rocking
  • Respectable
  • Honky Tonk Women
  • Moonlight Mile
  • Memory Motel
  • Some Girls
  • Saint of Me
  • Paint It Black
  • You Got the Silver
  • Before They Make Me Run
  • Out of Control

3. Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band (Reunion Tour)

Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa sing side-by-side during their 1999 Reunion Tour
Source : brucespringsteen

Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band's Reunion Tour is another best concerts hosted by Chicago. The multi-day event was between September 27 - 30, 1999.

The Chicago concert was part of a long-awaited reunion tour of Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band, and also arguably one of the greatest tours in the United States of America. They performed in Chicago during the second leg of the tour.

Over 57,833 fans of all ages attended the concert lasting three days as September 29 was a rest day, and generated over $3.77 million in ticket sales revenue alone. In total, the tour ran for 15 months playing 132 shows in 62 cities across North America and Europe.

Setlist

Here is a list of selected songs performed by Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band on their Reunion Tour in Chicago.

  • Take 'Em as They Come
  • The Ties That Bind
  • The Promised Land
  • Adam Raised a Cain
  • Two Hearts
  • Atlantic City
  • Mansion on the Hill
  • Independence Day
  • Youngstown
  • Badlands
  • Out in the Street
  • Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
  • Janey Don't You Lose Heart

4. U2 (Elevation Tour)

Poster advertising Elevation Tour by U2.
Source : last

U2's Elevation Tour concert was hosted by the United Center in Chicago between May 12 - 16, 2001. PJ Harvey performed the opening act for the band during the event.

The four-day event, as May 14 was a rest day, saw over 78,275 fans attending the event generating over $6.39 million in revenue. With all four days event being sold out, U2's Elevation Tour is among the best concerts ever hosted by Chicago.

The band performed in Chicago during the first leg of their world tour before moving to Europe with their performance and later returning back to North America to end the tour. The band also performed in Chicago on October 15 and October 16 of 2001 but shared the stage with the rock band Garbage.

Setlist

The band generally performed the following songs during their Elevation Tour all around the world.

  • Elevation
  • Beautiful Day
  • Until the End of the World
  • New Year's Day
  • Gone
  • Kite
  • Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of
  • I Will Follow
  • Sunday Bloody Sunday
  • New York
  • In a Little While
  • Desire
  • Mysterious Ways
  • Bad
  • Where the Streets Have No Name
  • The Fly

5. Paul McCartney (Driving USA)

Singer Paul McCartney jumps off a red car while holding guitar on the original poster of his Driving USA tour.
Source : twitter

English singer Paul McCartney performed in Chicago as part of his Driving USA tour on April 10 and 11, 2002. Driving USA was the first tour for Paul in the 21st century.

The English singer was accompanied by Guitarist and backing vocalist Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray who also played bass guitar. Paul Wickens played keyboards and according along with providing backing vocals and Abe Laboriel Jr. played drums and percussion in addition to providing backing vocals.

The two-day Chicago event was attended by over 32,178, and the sold-out ticket revenue was over $4 million. Fans from all corners of Chicago and neighboring cities attended the event at the United Center.

Setlist

Paul McCartney performed a variety of songs that he had written with Beetles and other bands including Wings during his tour, here is his average setlist.

  • Hello, Goodbye (The Beetles)
  • Jet (Wings)
  • All My Loving (The Beetles)
  • Getting Better (The Beetles)
  • Coming Up
  • Let Me Roll It (Wings)
  • Lonely Road
  • Driving Rain
  • Your Loving Flame
  • Blackbird (The Beetles)
  • Every Night

6. Roger Waters (The Wall Live)

A poster advertising The Wall Live tour by Roger Waters in Chicago along with the setlist for the performance.
Source : twitter

Roger Waters performed at the United Center during his The Wall Live Tour in 2010. The event was the first time where The Wall was performed in its entirety since 1990.

The Wall Live is one of the highest-grossing tours of all time and it generated ticket sales revenue of over $5.4 million in Chicago alone. Over 47,487 fans attended the event spanning four days between September 20 and September 24, September 22 was a rest day.

Roger Waters and his accompanying musicians G. E. Smith, Dave Kilminster, Snowy White, Graham Broad, Jon Carin, Harry Waters, and others put up quite a show for the fans attending the event making it one of the best concerts to be ever held in Chicago.

Setlist

The concert consisted of two setlists where the entire The Wall album was divided into two halves with a few songs overlapping. Here are selected songs from Setlist One.

  • In the Flesh?
  • The Thin Ice
  • Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1)
  • The Happiest Days of Our Lives
  • Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)
  • The Ballad of Jean Charles de Menezes
  • Mother
  • Goodbye Blue Sky

7. Pearl Jam (Lightning Bolt Tour)

The official poster of Pearl Jam Lightning Bolt Tour with the red and black logo.
Source : pitchfork

Pearl Jam performed at the Wrigley Field during their Lightning Bolt Tour in 2013. The event became the fastest concert to sell out in the history of Wrigley Field.

One of the best outdoor concerts to be ever hosted by Chicago, Pearl Jam fans endured hours of rain delay trying to stay dry by gathering in the few spots with roofs. However, for hundreds of thousands of fans in attendance, Lightning Bolt Tour proved to be more literal than expected.

The forgiving Chicago weather eventually cleared up and Pearl Jam entertained the fans for over two years with their 32-song setlist.

Setlist

Here are selected songs from Pearl Jam's performance at Wrigley Field during their Lightning Bolt Tour in 2013.

  • Release
  • Nothingman
  • Present Tense
  • Hold On
  • Low Light
  • Come Back
  • Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town

8. Taylor Swift (The Red Tour)

Taylor Swift playing red guitar during her The Red Tour.
Source : pinterest

Taylor Swift performed in Chicago during her The Red Tour on August 10, 2013. Over 50,809 fans attended the outdoor concert at Soldier Field.

The American singer who is currently taking the United States by storm with her latest tour is no stranger to drawing thousands of people to her shows. She performed Ed Sheeran, Casey James, and Austin Mahone.

Swift embarked on a world tour to promote her fourth studio album Red which was released in 2012. The Chicago concert generated over $4.19  million in ticket sales revenue. She surprised her fans in Chicago with Fearless as the song was not in her tour setlist.

Setlist

Here are selected songs from the standard setlist of The Red Tour.

  • State of Grace
  • Holy Ground
  • Red
  • You Belong With Me
  • The Lucky One
  • Mean
  • Stay Stay Stay
  • 22
  • I Almost Do
  • Everything Has Changed
  • Begin Again
  • Sparks Fly
  • I Knew You Were Trouble
  • All Too Well
  • Love Story
  • Treacherous

9. Beyoncé and Jay Z (On the Run Tour)

Beyoncé and Jay Z embrace each other for their On the Run Tour official poster.
Source : twitter

Beyoncé and Jay Z together performed in Chicago during the On the Run Tour. The pair sold out the Soldier Field concert with over 50,000 fans attending.

The couple performed on July 24, 2014, at Soldier Field in Chicago during their All-stadium tour. The pair performed collaboratively as well as individual songs during concerts around the world.

One of the best concerts in the history of Chicago, On the Run Tour co-headlined by Beyonce and Jay Z also collectively known as The Carters sold over 50k tickets collecting over $5.78 million in ticket revenue alone.

Setlist

The pair featured a 32-song setlist for their tour which included their collaborative and individual songs. Here are selected songs from their original setlist.

  • '03 Bonnie & Clyde
  • Upgrade U
  • Crazy in Love
  • Diamonds from Sierra Leone
  • I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)
  • Tom Ford
  • Run The World (Girls)
  • Flawless
  • Yonce
  • Dirt off Your Shoulder
  • Naughty Girl
  • Ring the Alarm
  • On the Next One
  • Baby Boy

10. One Direction (On the Road Again Tour)

A poster with drawings of all members of One Direction band advertising their 2015 On the Road Again Tour.
Source : fandom

One Direction performed at Soldier Field in Chicago during their On the Road Again Tour. The 2015 concert was attended by over 41,527 people.

The English-Irish pop boy band performed in Chicago during their 2015 On the Road Again tour on August 23, 2015. The band was accompanied by the Swedish duo Icona Pop. The concert sold-out generating over $3.32 million just from the ticket revenue.

On the Road Again Tour was the second all-stadium tour by the boyband. The band embarked on a world tour to support their 4th studio album named Four released in 2014.

Setlist

Here are selected songs from their 30-song average setlist for the tour.

  • Clouds
  • Steal My Girl
  • Where Do Broken Hearts Go
  • Midnight Memories
  • Kiss You
  • Fireproof
  • Ready to Run
  • Happily
  • Strong
  • Better Than Words
  • Don't Forget Where You Belong
  • Little Things
  • Night Changes
  • 18