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Guns N’ Roses, U2 Top Mid-Year Touring Tally

Grossing $151.5 million, Guns N’ Roses’ “Not In This Lifetime” tour leads the list of top tours during the first six months of 2017, according to the mid-year report from live entertainment trade Pollstar. The concert industry pulled in an estimated $1.97 billion worldwide so far this year.

U2’s “The Joshua Tree” anniversary trek came in second with $118.1 million, which was good enough to land them at the head of the class for North America, where music tour grosses were up 11% for a record of $1.64 billion.

“We smashed the 2016 first-half record of $1.47 billion,” Pollstar president Gary Bongiovanni said. “The industry took in more money and sold more tickets than ever before with a slightly lower ticket price, and that’s good for everyone.”

A 15% increase in attendance boosted the average North American show gross among the Top 100 acts by 5% to a record $658,600 per show average.

Guns N’ Roses are set to touch down in the U.S. with their phenomenally popular “Not In This Lifetime Tour” reunion tour in October. “The hard work hasn’t even started yet,” said the band’s booking agent, UTA’s Ken Fermaglich.

On tour in North America, U2 had a better average gross of $7.38 million on 19 shows, compared to GNR’s $5.61 million on 30 shows. But GNR generated the largest individual box office gross: $17.3 million from the June 16-17 shows at London Stadium.

Justin Bieber is No. 3 worldwide, with $93.2 million, while Metallica ($88 million) and Depeche Mode ($68.2 million) round out the top five. Adele was the top-performing female, at No. 7 globally ($59 million), right behind fifth-placed Red Hot Chili Peppers ($68.5 million).

Overall, world touring was down $10 million from the same period in 2016. That number was driven by a $3.11 or 3.5% drop in the average ticket price from $87.51 to $84.40.

On the North American charts, a pair of country boys ride herd in the top five, with Eric Church at No. 4 ($54.5 million) and Garth Brooks at No. 5 ($40 million). The numbers were good enough to land them at No. 9 and No. 12, respectively, on the worldwide chart.

Guns N’ Roses was the only group to sell more than 1 million tickets so far this year, according to Bongiovanni.

Live Nation was the top worldwide concert promoter, with 18.66 million tickets sold, more than double that of No. 2 AEG Presents, with 6.58 million (though AEG in turn had more than twice the haul of third-place OCESA/CIE of Mexico, at 2 million). That’s pretty much exactly where the two highly competitive U.S. based promoters were positioned at this time last year.

Operating in more than 40 countries with a portfolio of 26,000 concerts and 85 festivals, Live Nation “remains by far the world’s largest concert promoter,” according to Bongiovanni, who tracked sales of nearly 18.7 million tickets for the company’s first half.

“AEG remains a solid second with nearly 6.6 million, and that’s without reporting the numbers from Coachella and their other festivals” he noted.

London’s O2 continues to dominate the arena chart, with more than 1 million tickets sold as it becomes what Pollstar’s report characterizes as arguably the most important venue in the world. “No one is laughing now about the white elephant once known as the Millennium Dome,” Bongiovanni quipped. The Barclays Center in Brooklyn at No. 9 was the only U.S. venue to make the Top 10.

To read the complete Pollstar report and charts, click here.

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