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Who's the biggest band in the world?




Who’s the biggest band in the world?

Maybe you’ve tossed that question around with your friends while waiting for a concert to begin. It’s a good conversation starter. It’s also a question of some relevance to Tampa Bay music fans.

In perusing the upcoming concert calendar for Tampa Bay, we realized that a good chunk of the world’s biggest bands are coming to Tampa and Orlando within the next three months.

So we’re putting the question out there: Who is the Biggest Band in the World, circa 2009?

To answer a question this, um, big, we must first establish some qualifiers. Our rules:

1. No solo artists. Sorry, Kenny Chesney, Paul McCartney, Madonna, Jimmy Buffett, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West and Miley Cyrus.

2. The band must be active and touring. So no Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Van Halen, the Police or ’N Sync. Any one of these bands could come back to life at any moment, but until they do ... they’re out of the discussion.

3. We’re talking biggest, not best. You may hate Fall Out Boy, but there’s no denying Pete Wentz, with his million-plus Twitter followers, is an immensely popular figure. Put it this way: In a theoretical million-seat stadium, which of these artists would sell the most tickets?

Here are 10 contenders for the throne, all of whom are coming to Tampa Bay in the next three months. Then cast your vote for who you think currently holds the title of World's Biggest Band.

Green Day (Aug. 3, St. Pete Times Forum): Dookie was a smash. Their follow-up albums produced hits like Walking Contradiction and Good Riddance (Time of your Life). But it was 2004’s American Idiot that cemented the NoCal punk trio’s status as rock visionaries.

Coldplay (Aug. 9, Ford Amphitheatre): Wuss-rock, snooze-rock, call it what you will. Chris Martin and company have still produced the most dynamic pop-rock singles of this decade, from Yellow to Clocks to Viva La Vida. In 20 years, they’ll be as associated with the ’00s as Duran Duran was with the ’80s.

Dave Matthews Band (Aug. 12, Ford Amphitheatre): The most charismatic and beloved jam-band frontman since Jerry, Dave (we’re all on a first-name basis here, man) inspires fanatical passion among fans of jazzy, rootsy boogie-rock. The band’s annual summer shed shows annually rank among North America’s top-grossing tours.

Jonas Brothers (Aug. 18, St. Pete Times Forum): Snicker all you like. But if you think Nick, Joe and Kevin aren’t the biggest pop group in the world right now, you’re kidding yourself. The JoBros have a firm (but tender) grasp on the rabid-teenage-girl demo, which has driven musical popularity since the days of the Beatles.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (Sept. 12, Ford Amphitheatre): We’re flirting a bit with our “no solo artists” rule here, but we maintain there’s a difference between Bruce solo and Bruce with the E Streeters. A Springsteen concert really isn’t the same without Max, Little Steven and the Big Man. Unless you just really, really love The Ghost of Tom Joad.

Journey (Sept. 23, Amway Arena, Orlando): True, Steve Perry is no longer with the band. But anyone who’s seen the new lineup live will agree that soundalike frontman Arnel Pineda is no vocal slouch. And regardless of your feelings on ’80s karaoke-rock, you have to admit, Don’t Stop Believing may be the most enduring rock song of the past 30 years. It’s still in iTunes’ top 100 downloaded singles!

Fall Out Boy (Sept. 27, Ford Amphitheatre): Perhaps it says something about the state of American music that Fall Out Boy is considered one of our nation’s top bands. But the influence Fall Out Boy has had on the current state of pop and rock is much greater than you’d think. One big knock against Fall Out Boy: They’re not even the top-billed band on this tour. That would be the reunited Blink-182.

Aerosmith (sometime this fall, Ford Amphitheatre): The band had to cancel its performance July 11 at the Ford Amphitheatre due to — well, let’s just say the ravages of age. But when they return to Tampa for a make-good show this fall, their lifelong fans will no doubt walk that way.

Metallica (Oct. 3, St. Pete Times Forum): That a metal group might be considered America’s biggest band — to say nothing of Biggest Band in the World — is astonishing, when you think about it. The sheer brutality of Master of Puppets and Ride the Lightning are insane. And the opening strains of Enter Sandman still make us want to put our fists through a brick wall.

U2 (Oct. 9, Raymond James Stadium): Here they are, the frontrunners for the title of Biggest Band in the World. But are they? New disc No Line on the Horizon was a bit of a letdown. Still, the band’s back catalog of singles would be enough to fill several Greatest Hits albums. And with 22 Grammy awards under their belt — including multiple wins for Album, Record and Song of the Year — they’ve got the hardware to back up Bono’s ego.

Other options: Bon Jovi, Radiohead, the Eagles, AC/DC, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Rush, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nickelback, Phish, Il Divo.

Cast your vote below!

Kings of the music world
Who is the biggest band in the world right now?
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
Dave Matthews Band
Fall Out Boy
Green Day
Jonas Brothers

[Last modified: Thursday, July 30, 2009 7:01am]


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