The Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang Tour was a worldwide concert tour which took place between August 2005 and August 2007, in support of their album A Bigger Bang. It has become the highest grossing tour of all time with $558,255,524 earned.
In keeping with tradition, the Rolling Stones performed a surprise club show on August 10, 2005 at the Phoenix Concert Theatre before an audience of 1,000, each only paying $10 (the Phoenix's regular cover charge).
The tour had its official start on August 21, 2005 with two shows at historic Fenway Park in Boston. The Stones' huge stage caused extensive damage to the outfield, so that approximately 40,000 square feet (4,000 m²) of sod had to be brought in to repair it, and a subsequent baseball game held at the park three days later had to be pushed back an hour to give the grounds crew more time to complete the repairs.
The tour has since played across 55 shows in North America, 4 shows in South America, 5 shows in Japan and one in China. The Rolling Stones have completed their South Pacific leg by playing at two destinations in both Australia and New Zealand.
At the end of 2005, it was announced by tour producer Michael Cohl that the A Bigger Bang Tour had grossed a record-shattering $162 million since opening at Fenway Park. This broke the previous North American record, held by the Stones themselves for their 1994 Voodoo Lounge Tour, which grossed approximately $120 million. In terms of revenue, the A Bigger Bang Tour was the largest tour in North America. The second largest was the Stones' 1997 Bridges to Babylon Tour.
On February 1, 2006, The Stones played their first concert at the Baltimore Arena since 1969, the second smallest venue they have played for the entire tour. Their most intimate performance, save the surprise Phoenix show in Toronto, was in Radio City Music Hall on March 14, 2006, in a private concert for supporters of the Robin Hood Foundation. This benefit concert was their only performance at the venue to date.
While on the American leg of the tour, on February 5, 2006 the Stones played "Start Me Up," "Rough Justice" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" at the halftime show of Super Bowl XL in Detroit. Before performing "Satisfaction," Jagger made an uncharacteristic comment on their longevity: "This one we could've done for Super Bowl I." Jagger was asked to leave out two sexually suggestive lyrics. The audio on his microphone was lowered twice for the two requested omissions, but Jagger did sing those lyrics.
The outstanding scale of the tour was realised on February 18, 2006 when the Stones played a one-night concert on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The free concert was broadcast on television and broke several records as the largest rock concert of all time. There were a reported 2 million people present on the beach and crowding subsequent streets. A special bridge was constructed for the band to cross from the stage to the hotel safely. Three days after the monstrous event, U2 played in São Paulo, and clearly affected by the huge night, ended their concert with the words, "I can't get no, satisfaction!" While the Guinness Book of World Records states the largest free concert ever was given in the same spot in 1994 by Rod Stewart, to 3.5 million people, that figure includes everyone who was on Copacabana Beach for fireworks and New Year's Eve celebrations, not just for that concert. This show was recorded for exhibition on digital movie screens across the United States via Regal Cinemas and heard live on XM Radio. Additionally, the show was shown live on AOL Music in partnership with Network Live
April 8 saw The Stones arrive in the People's Republic of China for their first-ever performance in the world's most populous country (performances planned in 2003 for the Licks Tour were canceled due to the SARS epidemic). The Chinese authorities required that the group not perform "Brown Sugar", "Honky Tonk Women", "Beast of Burden", and "Let's Spend the Night Together", as they were considered to be "too suggestive."
During the vacation, Richards fell from a coconut tree while climbing it to obtain coconuts. After suffering a concussion. he was rushed back to Ascot Private Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand for further observation. Although reports claimed he had been released two days later, it was soon confirmed by the hospital he underwent brain surgery on May 5 to relieve a blood clot that had gathered behind his skull. The BBC reported that upon discharge, Richards profusely thanked the hospital staff for his care.
On May 15, Britain's The Independent newspaper said that the injury meant up to six shows could be pulled from the start of the band's European tour at an estimated cost of £1 million a show. The A Bigger Bang Tour restarted in Milan, Italy on July 11, 2006 at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, with Mick Jagger singing an entire Italian translation of "As Tears Go By" and Richards having made a full recovery; four of the first fifteen dates were rescheduled for later in the summer, with the rest of the dates taking place in the summer of 2007. As well as the first fifteen dates, two more dates were postponed due to Mick Jagger contracting laryngitis.
The only previous show cancelled was one in Dublin, due to complications with the promoter. Due to delays with construction, the two shows set to be at Wembley Stadium were moved to Twickenham Stadium, London. To promote this European leg of the A Bigger Bang Tour, there were plans to release the new track "Biggest Mistake" from the A Bigger Bang album.
In mid-August 2007, several media sources reported that the band would quit touring at the end of their tour, and the last concert on the tour, in London on August 26, would be their last gig ever. Less than a week later, in an interview with The Sun newspaper, guitarist Ronnie Wood said the band had no plans to quit. and Mick Jagger also stated "I'm sure the Rolling Stones will do more things and more records and more tours.
The tour concluded with a record total gross of $558,255,524. This surpassed the previous record of $377 million earned by U2 for their successful Vertigo Tour. The Stones also hold the record for third and fourth highest grossing tours with the Voodoo Lounge Tour and Bridges to Babylon Tour.
The official logo for the tour was the "Chippy Tongue"—an exploding re-design of the traditional Tongue logo.
The A Bigger Bang Tour stage was a phenomenal construction designed with the best architecture and state-of-the-art electronics which present visual screen shows of the Stones Tongue and live footage. There was an enormous runway which extends out perpendicular to the centre of the stage along which Mick Jagger frequently walks, skips and struts. The stage itself was measured to have a height of seven stories. It was part of the concept designed by U2 who incorporated ideas to be closer to the audience. In most concerts, a section of the stage detached itself and rolled the entire band along the catwalk, creating an "island" B stage in the middle of the stadium. It was the B stage that is the U2 contribution. Unusual stage designs in and of themselves have been a feature since Rolling Stones Tour of the Americas '75.
The introduction featured fireworks and computer-generated graphics representing the literal Big Bang. The four band members' faces hazily appear, and further graphics depicting fast travel through a city's streets before Keith Richards appeared on the screen to the sound of the band's opening song (either "Start Me Up" or "Jumpin' Jack Flash").
During the concerts, one large central screen played live footage of the various band members, predominantly Jagger. Either side of the main screen, there were two sets of lighting effect panels that combine with the main screen to produce visual effects at various points in the show. Bassist Darryl Jones and musical director Chuck Leavell were almost completely ignored in the video effects.
At stadium gigs, during "Sympathy for the Devil," huge flames were sent into the air above the stage. During the 1970s, this song only made sporadic live appearances, though is captured on 1977's Love You Live. However, since 1989's Steel Wheels Tour, "Sympathy for the Devil" has become a setlist mainstay and a vehicle for the show's most elaborate effects.
The concerts featured older hits such as "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll," "Honky Tonk Women" and "Brown Sugar" as well as new tracks including "Rough Justice," "Infamy," "Rain Fall Down" and "Oh No, Not You Again."
Dominican artist Juan Luis Guerra, opened their San Juan, Puerto Rico show making it the only Merengue artist that has ever opened for the Stones. This opening act "garnered the best reception ever seen at a Stones show", as reported by It's Only Rock and Roll, the Rolling Stones Fan Club of Europe.
For the Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada show acts included Sloan, a local band, well-known rap artist Kanye West and Alice Cooper. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club opened the show in Wichita and Missoula. Three Days Grace opened both concerts in Regina. Blue October opened for them in Boise, Idaho.
The two shows in San Francisco were supported by Metallica, said they were "honoured" to break a 17-year span of not performing an opening show, in order to open for the Stones. The Stones acknowledged this gesture, by giving them 75 minutes per show, instead of the usual 45 to 60 minutes. They were also Metallica's only dates that year as they had planned to take 2005 off from touring.
Guns N' Roses were supposed to open for the Stones for two dates in Germany, whilst on one of their Chinese Democracy Tour pre-legs. However, due to Keith Richards' fall from a tree, the shows were cancelled.