Guns N’ Roses are still packing heat.
The reunited stadium rockers have shifted more concert tickets than any other act in the world this year, according to a mid-year report published by touring trade title Pollstar.
The classic lineup of Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan (drummer Steve Adler has appeared sparingly) is hitting it out the park with their Not In This Lifetime trek, which has sold nearly 1.4 million tickets this year and generated a whopping US$151.5 million.
Nostalgia is a powerful factor on box office right now. U2’s global trek to commemorate the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree is in a distant second place, selling almost a million tickets in the first half for a gross of US$118 million (U2 is steaming ahead, according to data published separately by Billboard, which shows the Irish veterans sold more than 523,000 tickets and made US$61.5 million in just nine dates from June 11-July 1.
Also, heritage acts account for the lion’s share of the top 50 earners. A glance through the top 20 reveals some familiar faces in Metallica (No. 4), Depeche Mode (No. 5), Red Hot Chili Peppers (No. 6), Garth Brooks (No. 12), Take That (No. 13), Celine Dion (No. 14), Bon Jovi (No. 17), Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (No. 18), Green Day (No. 19) and a Tim McGraw / Faith Hill double bill (No. 20).
No Australian acts make the cut this time, and only five of the featured artists (or 10% of the total) are female, led by Adele, whose monster tour of Australia and New Zealand earlier this year for Live Nation sold 600,000 tickets for a US$59 million gross, good enough for a No. 7 ranking.
Canadian singer Justin Bieber, who also played stadiums on a recent trek through Aus and NZ for Frontier Touring, is the best placed pop artist and solo artist on the Pollstar survey. Bieber occupies the No. 3 spot, on 995,000 tickets sold (more than U2) for a gross of US$93 million.
All told, the top 50 tours grossed US$1.97 billion combined, just down from the record high of $1.98 billion reported last year, on 23.4 million tickets sold, up 3.5% and a new all-time benchmark.
The publication of Pollstar’s mid-year report follows the 35-year-old publication’s acquisition by U.S. live music power players Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff’s Oak View Group.