U2 will see further ‘Elevation’ in U.S.

Irish rockers to book 25 more dates in North America

Superstar Irish rockers U2 will bring their blockbuster “Elevation” summer tour back to North America for a further 25 dates, according to a report in the Times of London — a move that is almost sure to make the live outing one of the highest grossing tours in history.

The long-anticipated extra dates are expected to bring in roughly $33 million, on top of the estimated $142 million the tour has already generated worldwide, the Times reported.

According to entertainment industry magazine and research firm Pollstar, the “Elevation” tour took in $69 million in its last pass of North America earlier this year, playing 50 dates.

If estimates for the coming dates are correct, U2’s total North American take for the tour of $102 million would rank third among the top-grossing tours of all time, behind the 1994 tours of the Rolling Stones ($121.2 million) and Pink Floyd ($103.5 million).

U2 has been a consistent draw on the road for years: Its sprawling 1997 “Pop Mart” tour grossed nearly $80 million, and 1992’s “Zooropa” tour pulled in $67 million, Pollstar said. Those two outings rank sixth and 11th, respectively, among the all-time biggest.

But “Elevation” has brought the group to another level, in part due to a trend evident all over the tour circuit this summer: dramatically escalating ticket prices.

“Prices are higher than they’ve ever been,” says Pollstar’s editor, Gary Bongiovanni. “Everybody’s doing the ‘gold circle’ seating nowadays.”

Indeed, top-tier tickets for U2’s first round of North American shows sold for $135 (with resellers and scalpers often asking several times that), and the average price was $76. Those rates helped power the tour to an average per-venue gross of more than $2 million.

The latest tour also benefits from the runaway success of the band’s latest disc, “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” (Interscope), which has sold more than 2.7 million copies in the U.S. alone.