Concert industry magazine Pollstar has released its list of the Top 25 North American touring acts, and Irish rockers U2, who played to 70,000-plus at Lincoln Financial Field in July, easily tops the list, grossing $156 million in 25 shows that drew an average of 81,000 fans. Wyomissing's own Taylor Swift came in second at $97.7 million (earned in 80 shows, with an average attendance of 23,000) and country party boy Kenny Chesney was third with $84.6 million. Lady Gaga, Bon Jovi, Elton John, Sade, Kanye West & Jay-Z, Lil Wayne and Celine Dion rounded out the Top Ten.
Worldwide, the Top 25 tours made $2.1 billion, which was nearly identical to 2010's total, according to Pollstar. North Americans, who spend more money entertaining themselves by going to concerts than the rest of the world combined, accounted for $1.19 billion of that total, down 4% from the year before.
Never fear, though: 2012 looks like it will be a big year. There will me no shortage of proven big-time attractions on the road, with Madonna, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, the reunited Beach Boys, Roger Waters, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Fleetwood Mac, Chesney and Tim McGraw, Black Sabbath, David Lee Roth-led Van Halen and, in all likelihood, the Rolling Stones, all back out on the boards. "There is ample reason to think business will be even better in the new year," Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni wrote in the magazine's year end report.