The Top 25 Concert Tours of 2011: THR Year in Review
5:43 PM PST 12/19/2011 by THR Staff
2011 turned out to be a resounding comeback year for the live music business, including a new record for the highest-grossing and most widely-attended tour of all time, U2's three-year 360° tour. The list of the Top 25 Tours comprises a healthy mix of genres and generations, from country stars Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney to classic rockers Bon Jovi and Roger Waters -- and of course, a few pop divas like Gaga and Britney. (Artists are ranked by total gross earnings, according to Billboard Boxscore, from Nov. 1, 2010, to Nov. 8, 2011.)
U2's three-year 360° tour set a new record for the highest-grossing and most widely-attended in concert history. With a total gross of just over $293 million, some 2.8 million people got to see Bono and Co. in 2011 as the trek touched down in Africa and the Americas.
The 2011 Bon Jovi Live trek was the band's 14th tour and proof positive that the New Jersey rockers remain an in demand act. Over 68 dates, some without Richie Sambora, who entered rehab in April, the band grossed over $192 million and played to 1.8 million fans.
3. Take That
The first tour since 1995 to feature all five original members, the British pop group sold out 29 shows, most in stadiums, grossing $185 million.
4. Roger Waters
Roger Waters received glowing reviews for his The Wall Live tour, an ambitious update of Pink Floyd's original high-concept show, and made big bucks. The 92-date outing grossed nearly $150 million. During a stop a London's O2 Arena, lucky fans even got to witness a sort of Floyd reunion as original members David Gilmour and Nick Mason joined Waters for "Comfortably Numb" and "Outside the Wall."
5. Taylor Swift
The Speak Now tour traveled to Europe, Asia and North America where, over 89 shows (87 of them sell-outs), it grossed $97 million. A highlight: Swift would often feature surprise guests, like when Justin Bieber joined the country superstar for his hit "Baby" at Los Angeles' Staples Center.
A four-time winner of the Billboard Touring Award, Chesney's Goin' Coastal Tour grossed $84.5 million. Of 55 shows (openers included Zac Brown Band, Uncle Kracker and Billy Currington), 37 were sell-outs.
Riding a string of hits from 2010, including "OMG" and "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love," Usher's tour took in $75 million the following year. After 73 shows, 58 of them sell-outs, Usher had entertained more than 900,000 people.
8. Lady Gaga
With the May release of Born This Way, Lady Gaga's tour was a resounding success, grossing $72 million over 45 performances.
9. André Rieu
Known as "The Waltz King of Europe," the Dutch violinist, conductor, and composer booked 102 concerts in 2011, bringing in gross receipts of over $67 million.
A hot ticket after a decade-long break from the music business, the British chanteuse took in $53 million over 59 shows, 21 of them sell-outs.
11. Michael Bublé
Michael Buble's two year-long "Crazy Love" tour traveled to four continents and 21 countries. The trek's 2011 dates, which hit North America, Asia and Australia, grossed just under $50 million.
The Long Road Out of Eden tour got a little longer in 2011, as the Eagles played 24 concerts that grossed $50 million.
13. Katy Perry
The California Dreams tour was a confectionary treat for more than 1 million concert-goers in 2011, grossing $49 million over 98 shows, more than half of then sell-outs.
After a successful theater run in 2010, Glee super-sized its live concert tour, bringing the cast to 40 venues across North America, the UK and Ireland. In 40 sell-out shows, it grossed just over $40 million.
It's been nearly 40 years since the band's formation but clearly audiences can't get enough of Journey. Now fronted by Filipino singer Arnel Pineda, the Journey faithfuls flocked to 73 shows,which grossed just under $40 million.
19. Britney Spears
Proving her staying power with another home-run tour, Britney Spears' Femme Fatale trek averaged just under a million dollars per show. Only 14 of the 39 dates were sell-outs, but the pop star still grossed more than $37 million.
The British heavy metal band's Final Frontier world tour had more than 100 dates scheduled, 33 of them in 2011, grossing around $1 million per show.
21. Kylie Minogue
The Aussie pop star performed a 26-song set on five different continents for her Aphrodite World Tour, which grossed $32.5 million over 41 shows.
22. Neil Diamond
A hit-heavy set over 20 shows grossed more than $31 million for Neil Diamond.
23. Enrique Iglesias
The Latin heartthrob scored a No. 4 hit with "I Like It" in 2010 then repeated the feat in 2011 with "Tonight (I'm Lovin' You)" which reached the same spot on the Billboard Hot 100. It all helped spur ticket sales, to the tune of $30 million over 38 shows.
25. Jason Aldean
Country music's darling sold out 47 of 58 shows in 2011, grossing nearly $28 million.
24. Toby Keith
Rounding out the year's highest grossest tours is the country star's "Locked and Loaded" trek, which pulled in $27 million over 52 shows in 2011.