Billboard released its Top Concert Tours for 2009, and leading the pack with the highest-grossing trek was U2. The other artists in the top five were Madonna, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, AC/DC, and Pink.
U2 spent 2009 touring behind its studio album “No Line on the Horizon,” and will continue to tour in North America and Europe this summer. The 360° tour is U2’s first under its 12-year deal with Live Nation, which gives the band shared earnings from touring, merchandising, and sales. The deal earned U2 $108 million last year and the top spot on Billboard’s Top Money Earners list for 2009, thanks mostly to the band selling out all 44 of its concerts in 2009. Total gross for the 360° tour was $311,637, 740, with total attendance at 3,071,290.
Madonna’s Sticky & Sweet tour also sold out all 46 of its dates in 2009, earning a gross of $222,017,258. Total attendance was 2,817,993. The 46 dates in 2009 are the international concerts the singer added to her already completed 2008 international run. The numbers give the Sticky & Sweet tour the title of highest-grossing tour ever by a solo performing artist, breaking her own previous record her 2006 Confessions tour. The Sticky & Sweet tour was also Madonna’s first tour under her Live Nation deal, which is valued at $120 million.
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band’s Working on a Dream Tour follows in the number three spot with gross earnings of $156,340,910, and a total attendance of 1,736,926. The tour ran from April 2009 to November 2009 in support of the band’s album of the same name. A total of 42 of the 72 shows were sold out, thanks in part to publicity the band received from its Super Bowl XLIII halftime performance. The band also had well-publicized problems with Ticketmaster in 2009.
Earnings from the North American and European legs of AC/DC’s Black Ice World Tour put that trek in the number four spot. Tickets to concert dates sold out in record time, forcing the band to add more dates to its roster. With 56 of its 72 shows sold out, the tour grossed $135,287,350. Attendance was at 1,583,143. The band will tour into 2010, with dates in North America, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and Japan.
The fifth top-earning tour for 2009 was Pink’s Funhouse tour, which supporter her album of the same name. The Funhouse Tour ran from February to December 2009 and grossed $102,878,271. Of the 131 shows performed, Pink sold out 69, with attendance at 1,550,026.
Billboard’s rankings are based on total gross earnings from December 6, 2008 through November 21, 2009.