Springsteen tops 2003 tour list

December 23, 2003|By Randy Lewis | Randy Lewis,LOS ANGELES TIMES

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band will be crowned 2003's top concert attraction by Pollstar in the magazine's annual ranking of the top 100 North American tours, a list that will be finalized this week.

The New Jersey rocker grossed $115.9 million from 47 performances in 30 cities, according to Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni, placing him No. 2 on the list of the highest-grossing tours ever. The Rolling Stones' 1994 tour remains the all-time champion with $121.2 million in tickets sold.

Ironically, the tour itinerary for 2003's second highest-grossing concert performer consists of just one city: Las Vegas. Celine Dion played 145 shows that grossed $80.5 million at the Colosseum, a $95 million showcase within Caesar's Palace built expressly for her act.

The rest of the top-10 slots most likely will be occupied by the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Cher, Simon & Garfunkel, the joint Aerosmith/Kiss tour, the Dixie Chicks, Billy Joel and Elton John's combo tour and the Summer Sanitarium hard-rock caravan. Those aren't necessarily in order, Bongiovanni said, because some tour figures won't been finalized until this week.

But as of late last week, it appeared certain a new high for total concert revenue was reached this year, in the neighborhood of between $2.4 billion and $2.5 billion. The current record, set last year, is $2.1 billion worth of concert tickets sold. This year's total is up almost 15 percent from two years ago.

The steady increase - this will be the fourth consecutive year ticket sales hit a new high - is considered particularly good news against the backdrop of steady declines in record sales during the same period.

"You can't download a concert," Bongiovanni says. "You can download a live concert recording, but you can't download the concert experience."

In selling $60.5 million worth of tickets over the course of 65 shows in 56 cities, the Dixie Chicks racked up the highest-grossing country-music tour ever, surpassing significantly the previous record holder, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's 2000 tour, which grossed $48.8 million.

The full list will appear in Pollstar's Jan. 12 year-end issue.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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