The Voodoo Lounge is officially closed. After playing 117 dates on six continents and grossing hundreds of millions of dollars, the Rolling Stones have shut down their world tour. Talk persisted that the band would return to South America this spring and then to Southeast Asia as part of the tour’s final leg but those plans fell apart in January when the South American promoter was unable to finalize plans.
While phenomenally successful, the Voodoo Lounge tour was also incredibly expensive, requiring a small army of up to 450 employees a show. Without revenues from the lucrative South American dates, the costly Asian stint was ruled out. The band’s spokeswoman said no contracts were signed for the canceled shows and no tickets were sold. “We hope to play to fans in those markets in the future,” read a statement from the band and its promoter.
The Voodoo Lounge tour stands as the most successful in North American history. Thanks in part to ticket prices of $50-plus, the tour’s 60 dates in 1994 brought in $121 million, according to Pollstar magazine. (The band’s 1989 Steel Wheels tour, which grossed $98 million, held the industry’s previous high mark.) In ’95, the Voodoo Lounge tour expanded beyond the States to include the Far East and Europe. By the time of the tour’s final date, in the Netherlands, more than 6 million fans had seen the show. When sales of tickets, T-shirts and television rights were added up, the tour had taken in $300 million.
The Voodoo Lounge tour was in support of the band’s 1994 release of the same name. Instead of the full-fledged concert record that normally follows Rolling Stones tours, the band opted for 1995’s live acoustic album Stripped. Keith Richards is one Stone who isn’t taking a well-deserved break; he’s recording in Jamaica, and a reggae-flavored solo release may be out by year’s end.
This is a story from the February 22, 1996 issue of Rolling Stone.