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14 Artists Who Need to Tour Australia as Soon as Possible

They often say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but countless Australian music fans are holding out hope for some of these musical icons.

Collage of Depeche Mode, Björk, and Tom Waits

Australia is often a major touring destination for most artists, but some of the world's biggest names seem to have an aversion to coming down under.

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It’s no secret that Australians love their live music. Why, in addition to Melbourne being named the live music capital of the world, Irish icons U2 managed to pull in US $35.7 million from just eight shows in Australia last year. No matter how you slice it, that’s a testament to how much your average Aussie likes a night out with some good tunes.

But spare a thought for some of the most diehard music fans out there who never get a chance to see their favourite acts live. While Aussies never got a chance to see Canadian icons Rush during their lifetime, artists like Madonna and Paul McCartney finally ended local touring droughts of 23 and 24 years, respectively, when they both finally visited a few years back.

However, countless artists remain on the wish-lists of numerous Australian music-lovers. With some of them not visiting for a number of years or even during their entire careers, we’ve decided to take a look at some of the artists who need to add a trip down under to their itineraries, stat!

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Garth Brooks

Years Since Last Tour: 26

His name is synonymous with country music, he’s one of the best-selling artists of all time, and he boasts an amazing 13 Grammy Awards, but one thing Garth Brooks is seemingly unable to achieve is another Australian tour. Performing down under for the first and only time in 1994 as part of his debut world tour, Brooks’ shows were a massive success, but once this international trek wrapped up, his tour dates were mainly confined to North America.

Even a stint as the Brisbane-born Chris Gaines wasn’t enough to convince Brooks to head back down to Australia. Of course, it’s not just Aussies who have been overlooked, with Brooks’ European fans not seeing him perform live since 1998 either, despite a five-date tour of Ireland being planned – and subsequently cancelled – in 2014. Currently, it seems as though Brooks has no intentions of performing outside of his native US, despite the pleas of his legions of fans.

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Van Morrison

Years Since Last Tour: 35

It says a lot about an artist like Van Morrison when he’s been on the road with remarkable consistency for over 50 years. Unfortunately, the lion’s share of this touring has seen him perform predominantly in the United Kingdom and the US, with Australia’s sole exposure to his music occurring back in 1985.

Arguably one of the hardest-working musicians in the business today, Morrison’s aversion to coming down under seems to stem from the fact that Australia is so far away. In fact, Bluesfest’s Peter Noble claimed in 2014 that a friendly relationship with Morrison’s agent led to the discovery he’s effectively “wasting [his] time” attempting to lure the Northern Ireland icon down to our shores.

At 74 and with 11 tour dates under his belt this year already, it’s clear that Van Morrison has no plans on stopping touring, but if catching him live is on your bucket list, you might want to start looking at flights.

Image of US musician Tom Waits



Tom Waits

Years Since Last Tour: 39

When Tom Waits first visited Australia back in 1979, his visit was marred by his now-iconic appearance on The Don Lane Show which Lane famously claimed “lit up our switchboard for about an hour after the show. And not all with compliments, either.” Two years later, Waits was back, and his month-long tour was just as memorable as the first, with tracks from his 1980 record Heartattack and Vine on full display.

Since then, it’s been radio silence for his Australian fans, with close to 39 years passing since his last visit. Of course, it’s not as if promoters haven’t been trying to get Waits back down under, with Peter Noble revealing that his frequent attempts to procure the artist had become even less likely in recent years, with the now-70-year-old performer having effectively retired from touring following his last large-scale tour in 2008.

Though he’s not retired altogether (he’s still a semi-active actor), it’s looking less and less likely that Waits will return to Australia, and even more likely that his diehard fans may have missed their chance to catch him on stage.

Image of English musician Kate Bush



Kate Bush

Years Since Last Tour: Never Toured

In all honesty, it’s almost amazing that anyone has managed to see Kate Bush live, really, let alone her Australian fans. Though she first rose to fame with the success of The Kick Inside in 1978, both this record and her Lionheart follow-up resulted in 1979’s Tour of Life; her sole live trek to date. In addition to TV performances throughout the US and Europe, these 28 shows were critically-acclaimed, but left Bush exhausted and unwillingly to take her music on the road.

Though one-off performances did follow, it was until 35 years later than fans got another chance to catch Bush performing live, with her 22-date Before the Dawn residency at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. Again, attracting critical acclaim and drawing fans from all over the world, these shows have been her last to date, and the ever-reclusive Bush has made no announcements regarding new music or further performances.