U2’s massive 360° Tour wasn’t just the biggest trek this year in terms of sheer size: the band’s latest jaunt supporting No Line on the Horizon has also been named the year’s most successful show by concert tracker Pollstar. Their research also revealed that despite the recession, concert ticket sales for the top 50 tours were up this year across the board compared to 2008’s final numbers. That’s thanks largely to U2, who easily surpassed all other acts by selling 1.3 million tickets during the first leg of their 360° Tour, grossing $123 million along the way.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band came in second with $94.5 million, ahead of Elton John and Billy Joel ($88 million), the return of Britney Spears ($82.5 million) and AC/DC’s Black Ice trek ($77.9 million). Other notables on the Top 50 2009 list include Dave Matthews Band at Eight, Metallica at 10, Coldplay and Paul McCartney at 19 and 20 respectively and Kiss at 27. Reunion tours also found success on the concert circuit as Phish took 21, No Doubt came in at 24 and Blink-182 wound up at 31. Lil Wayne was the lone rapper to place in the Top 50, finishing at 26 on Pollstar’s list.
As Rolling Stone previously reported, U2 finished in second place on the decade-end touring list behind the Rolling Stones ($869 million), grossing $844 million from their past 10 years of road trips. Even more impressive, every one of the 244 shows U2 played this decade was a sell-out, a stat no other artist can match. The Irish rockers will be well on their way toward being the biggest touring act in the 2010s when the second leg of their 360° Tour launches next summer. The tour has thus far grossed $312 million worldwide.
For Rolling Stone‘s full analysis of 2009’s albums sales and tour numbers, be sure to check out our next issue, which hits stands next week.
• The Rolling Stones, U2 and Madonna Named Top Touring Acts of Decade
• U2 Announce First Batch of 2010 North American 360 Tour Dates
• U2 Reinvent the Stadium Show as 360 Tour Launches in Chicago