It’s been a bumper year for world tours — everyone, their mother and new puppy made their way to Beyoncé’s 56-stop half a billion dollar Renaissance pilgrimage, while Taylor Swift’s earth-shattering Eras tour (saw it at the cinema, can’t comprehend the hype) will be the first to shatter the $1 billion ticket sale ceiling.
And with any tour or album launch, the merch duly follows. If you can face the snaking queue, they are a must-have souvenir. You can also just buy them online afterwards. Here are 2023’s top five, ranked:
The Rolling Stones: Hackney Diamonds
First place goes to the Stones thanks, simply, to the great deal of effort (or outsourcing) put in. A flurry of collaborations have followed the launch of new album Hackney Diamonds, on 20 October, each of which involving a spin of John Pasche’s tongue-wagging logo: British designer Paul Smith has designed a custom vinyl sleeve and a line of cotton tees “with a few subtle Paul Smith ‘twists’, as we call them,” the designer says of his pop colour stripe iteration. Meanwhile KidSuper, designed by New Yorker Colm Dillane, painted the mouth in blood-cum-lipstick stained fingerprints and diamonds on tees and hoodies, as well as one charming line drawing of Mick Jagger’s face — if that’s your thing. And for the sporty: FC Barcelona and Spotify are also offering a range of tongue splashed jerseys. Get what you need.
Find them at the RS No. 9 Carnaby St, W1F 9PE or from £30, rsno9.co.uk
Madonna: The Celebration Tour
It was always going to be a fashion feast. Fans released a collective sigh of relief as Queen Madge appeared, on 14 October, at the 02 to begin her world tour which had been briefly jeopardised due to a health scare. Her looks did not falter; Jean Paul Gaultier, Versace, Vetements, Eyob Yohannes and a knee pad were the order of service. Hordes gathered at merch stands to snag more affordable options beforehand. Must-haves from the Celebration Tour offering are tees in red, white and black with vintage shots (conical bra, included) with her body warped into contortions. Hoodies are less appealing, with a strange collage of Madge-cutouts stuck on the back, but a polyester red shell-suit jacket replete with an ‘M’ shaped crown on the reverse is a sure-festival hit.
From £45, madonna.com
The hysteria that gripped London at the end of May was quite remarkable. There had been muttering of gaggles of beehivers going, but witnessing the real-time mass migration to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was spectacular. Disco cowboy hats, skin-squeezing metallic bodysuits — the works. The merch, which has come in four drops and sold via Amazon, is an octane less extra, but fun nonetheless. The most recent drop — bright pink tees emblazoned with a scantily-clad Beyoncé, and black ones which read CU*NTY — is sold out, but highlights from the others include a green, intergalactic-style Beyoncé which reads ‘Alien Superstar’ and the better-known hat, crystal lingerie and horse riding Bee on a black tee.
From £25, amazon.co.uk
Harry Styles: Love on Tour
Headlines post-Harry Styles concerts read ‘feather boa massacre’ during the Love on Tour tour this summer — oh, the drama. Merch on offer is significantly less dramatic than the singer's extravagant stage gear; predominantly rainbow, sparkling Gucci jumpsuits styled by Harry Lambert. Cartoon houses playing instruments cover contrast sleeve sweatshirts, while the cult tee consists of a rainbow with a chirpy looking house-with-legs in the centre. Hoodies, which simply read Love on Tour, have sold out.
From £30, hstyles.co.uk
Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour
It’s one heck of a gig — two hours and 45 minutes, if you are watching the filmed version — which races through ten acts of Swift’s back catalogue. I was bowled over neither by the looks or performance, but am part of the minority; the Eras Tour has ramped up the singer’s net worth, and made her the first billionaire with music as a central income. Lovely. A fraction of that? T-shirt sales! The best is a black and white double cut-out of Swift singing in a red dress; the worst, a white crewneck sweatshirt which sees her twisted sideways, in a robot dancing position.
From £35, taylorswift.com