U2, Taylor Swift have highest-grossing concert tours of 2011
Close behind U2 on the worldwide tour gross rankings was Take That, the former teen pop band from England that reunited for a hugely successful tour across the U.K. and Europe. The group, which was the springboard to fame for singer Robbie Williams, brought in $224 million from 35 shows in 17 cities.
Bon Jovi ranks third worldwide with a total gross of $148.8 million, followed by Swift at $104.2 million and former Pink Floyd singer-bassist Roger Waters at $103.6 million.
Filling out the worldwide Top 10 are John ($102.7 million), Rihanna ($90 million), Chesney ($84.6 million), Sade ($83.3 million) and Paul McCartney ($79.2 million).
Pollstar’s figures are closely, but not precisely, matched by Billboard’s year-end box-office tally, which takes a slightly different time period into account. Pollstar’s numbers are collected across the calendar year while Billboard measured results from Nov. 1, 2010 to Nov. 8, 2011.
According to Billboard, the five highest-grossing tours worldwide were U2 ($293.3 million), Bon Jovi ($192.9 million), Take That ($185.2 million), Waters ($149.9 million) and Swift ($97.4 million).
In an area of the music business historically dominated by superstar acts from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, this year fully half the acts that finished among Pollstar’s Top 10, as well as throughout the Top 25, started their careers in the 1990s or later. That’s a positive sign for the future health of the concert business, as many promoters have worried whether new acts will emerge to take over when top-grossing veteran acts such as the Rolling Stones, McCartney, John and the Eagles bring their touring days to an end.
Still, in the short term many of those same promoters, as well as fans, are looking forward to 2012 for recently announced tours by long-running acts including Bruce Springsteen the E Street Band, which will be touring for the first time since the death this year of saxophonist Clarence Clemons, and the reunited Beach Boys, touring next year with all surviving original members, including creative mastermind Brian Wilson. Madonna also has said she will return to the road next year, and the Rolling Stones have all but confirmed they’ll be back out playing arenas, amphitheaters and stadiums in 2012.
Other developments that will be viewed as encouraging are the two hip-hop tours that made the Top 10 in North America. Hip-hop acts historically have struggled at the box office, but with two of the genre’s kingpins — West and Jay-Z — teaming for nearly three dozen concert stops, in addition to a heavy slate of 71 shows in 70 cities for New Orleans rapper Lil Wayne, rap posted stronger-than-usual results last year.
– Randy Lewis
Images: Taylor Swift ( Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times ); U2′s Bono (Wally Skalij).
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