Classic Rock Dominates 2017’s Top-Grossing Tour List
It felt like the world went through a lot of changes in 2017, but at least one thing remained the same: people kept going to concerts. In fact, according to Pollstar's year-end data, they spent a record-setting amount of money — much of it went toward seeing some of classic rock's biggest acts.
The industry trade publication has released a preview of its 2017 roundup, breaking down the numbers for the 20 highest-grossing tours in advance of a complete data package that's being offered to subscribers in early 2018. That preview, which you can view at this PDF, makes it clear that however strongly pop, hip-hop and R&B continued to dominate the charts last year, they weren't putting butts in seats as consistently as rock's top-drawing vets.
U2 topped the list with an impressive $316 million haul for its Joshua Tree Tour 2017, which sold more than 2.7 million tickets — an average $8.3 million gross — over its 50-show run. That total was large enough to push the band past the year's other major touring success story, Guns N' Roses, whose (partially) reunited classic lineup continued to prove an in-demand attraction at nearly 75 cities throughout 2017.
In fact, as Pollstar's data analysis points out, GNR's $292.5 million total might be behind U2, but that lag is largely due to a gap in ticket prices; where U2 charged an average of $116.47, Guns N' Roses charged an average of $109.16, adding up to a slightly smaller (but still seriously large) sum.
U2 and GNR were joined by a handful of other classic rock peers throughout the Pollstar Top 10, starting with Metallica, whose 49-show run was good for $152.8 million and fifth place on the list. Two spots behind them stands Paul McCartney, who grossed $132 million over 36 shows. The Rolling Stones placed ninth, bringing in $120 million during their 14-show 2017 run.
Bruce Springsteen, meanwhile, missed making the top 10 with his 60-show Broadway stand, but he did top the chart in one important respect: Demand for those intimate sets pushed the average ticket price well beyond any other artist on the list, settling at a staggering $1,5000.85.