UPDATED: [Note: Several days after this article published, Pollstar corrected its year-end top 20, noting that Bruce Springsteen was inaccurately placed at No. 14 in the Top 20 Tours chart; his current Broadway run of shows and the final dates of his “River” tour are begin categorized as separate entries. He has been removed from the Top 20 and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers added in the No. 20 spot.]
U2’s “Joshua Tree” 30th anniversary trek was the year’s top-grossing tour, according to a Pollstar year-end chart released Wednesday. The Live Nation-promoted jaunt, which comprised 50 shows in 38 cities, took in a whopping $316 million and reported a total of 2.71 million tickets sold.
Coming in second was Guns N’ Roses, with $292.5 million gross and 2.68 million tickets sold on an 81-date/74-city UTA/International Talent Booking tour that sold nearly as many tickets as U2’s, but charged an average of $40 less per head, according to Pollstar. Coldplay was third with a $238 million gross, Bruno Mars fourth with $200.1 million, and Metallica fifth with $152.8 million.
Unlike most airplay and streaming charts and Grammy nominations, which dominated by hip-hop/R&B and pop acts, the top live-music year-end grosses were dominated by veteran white male rock and pop artists — Garth Brooks is the highest-ranking country act at No. 10 with an estimated $101.4 million (the only other was Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s co-headlining tour, No. 18 with $79.3 million). Celine Dion was the highest ranking female artist with $101.2 million, a combination of arena dates and her Las Vegas residency. Lady Gaga landed at No. 15 with $85.7 million and Ariana Grande No. 20 with $68.5 million.
Similarly, the chart is dominated by veteran acts, with just 7 of the top 20 — Coldplay, Mars, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, Gaga, The Weeknd and Grande — having released their debut albums in this millennium.
Overall, the Top 20 grossed $2.66 billion in 2017, a record high and increase of more than $264 million from 2016.
Pollstar’s Top 20 chart is available for viewing here — the complete data package will be released to subscribers on Jan. 5.