Category: U2

Concert business is up 11% in first half of 2011, Pollstar reports

U2 360 Anaheim-Arkasha Stevenson LAT 
The record industry isn't the only segment of the music business that appears to be on the rebound. The concert industry too, after a difficult year in 2010, is showing total revenue from the Top 50 tours worldwide is up more than 11% for the first half of 2011, according to Pollstar, the concert-industry tracking publication.

Totals from those 50 tours added up to $1.65 billion, despite a 2.1% drop in the number of tickets sold -- 19.4 million -- meaning the bump in the total box office came as the result of higher ticket prices on average.

The increase in the cost of concert attendance “was not expected coming off a down year,” said Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni. “It's possible that much of this is driven by artists playing smaller venues at higher prices or better artist packaging, which increases show costs but offers fans a better value for their ticket dollar.”

Ticket prices increased by an average of 13.6%, or $10.23, worldwide, Pollstar reported. The story for the North American concert business is even better, with total revenue on the Top 50 tours jumping 16.2%, to $1.12 billion.

The news comes on the heels of Wednesday’s midyear report on recorded music sales, which also showed an increase over the same period last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Leading the pack on the concert trail, not surprisingly, is U2, with a six-month total gross of $164 million on the latest leg of its 360 Tour, which has become the highest-grossing tour of all time. With an average ticket price of $97.65 in stadiums where attendance averaged more than 104,000 people per show, U2 took in a whopping $10.25 million per night.  Bon Jovi's top-grossing tour of 2010, by comparison, took in $201.1 million worldwide over the whole year, according to Pollstar's figures.

Behind U2 is Roger Waters, who has pulled in $97.9 million with an average ticket price of $112.99, followed by Bon Jovi ($921 million, $96.26 ticket average), Lady Gaga ($65.3 million, $96.77 tickets) and Usher ($62.2 million, $83.28 tickets).

Rounding out the midyear Top 10 are Kylie Minogue ($52.1 million, $100.33 tickets), Kenny Chesney ($46.7 million, $72.41 tickets), Andre Rieu ($46 million, $113.72 tickets), Elton John ($44.6 million, $96.71 tickets) and Taylor Swift ($42.9 million, $68 tickets).

“The increased admission price seems to be spread throughout the chart rankings,” Pollstar’s report says. “There were 12 tours on this year’s chart that charged more than $100 per ticket, as compared to only eight last year. Even more interesting is the huge increase in tours hovering just under the magic three-digit price point. There were 22 tours charging more than $90 this year as compared to 12 tours last year.”


Nielsen SoundScan 2011 midyear report: Music sales up for a change

Nothing but dollar signs on the horizon: U2 sets record for highest-grossing tour

Live review: U2 at Angel Stadium

-- Randy Lewis

Photo of U2 singer Bono during the group's 360 Tour stop in Anaheim in June. Credit: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times.

Glen Campbell has Alzheimer's, plans for final album and farewell tour

Photo of Glen Campbell in 2004. Credit: Sherrie Busby / For The Times. Glen Campbell has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the 75-year-old country singer, songwriter and guitarist and his wife, Kim, have told People magazine, a condition that has prompted him to describe a new album coming in August as his final recording.

"Glen is still an awesome guitar player and singer," Kim said in the interview. "But if he flubs a lyric or gets confused onstage, I wouldn’t want people to think, 'What's the matter with him? Is he drunk?' "

Campbell is planning a series of concerts this fall in support of the album, “Ghost on the Canvas,” due Aug. 30. He is working again with producer Julian Raymond, who helped rejuvenate Campbell’s career in 2008 on “Meet Glen Campbell,” a collection of surprising song choices including Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” the Velvet Underground’s “Jesus,”  Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ “Walls” and the Replacements'  “Sadly Beautiful.”

Shortly after that album was released, Campbell told The Times: "I'd like to see it go up the charts, go platinum and win the Grammy," he said. "Then I'd retire."

Instead, he returned to the studio with Raymond, who again applies Campbell’s signature homespun vocals and guitar work to songs by the Replacements’ Paul Westerberg, Jakob Dylan, Teddy Thompson and Robert Pollard as well as to some original material that Campbell and Raymond wrote together.

Dylan, in fact, cited Campbell as the catalyst for his latest album, “Women + Country,” produced by T Bone Burnett, because when Burnett asked him to hear some of his new songs, the only thing he had to offer was “Nothing But the Whole Wide World,”  which he had written, at Raymond’s request, with Campbell in mind. “That’s how it began, so thank you, Glen Campbell,” Dylan told The Times last year.

The list of musical guests on "Ghosts on the Canvas" includes Chris Isaak, Dick Dale, Billy Corgan, Brian Setzer, Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen and the Dandy Warhols.

The singer plans to undertake what he’s calling the Glen Campbell Goodbye Tour upon the album’s release. The itinerary is still to be announced.

Campbell’s career stretches over five decades from his early years as a session guitarist in Los Angeles when he played on recordings by Phil Spector, the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and many others, to his success as a solo artist with such hits as “Gentle on My Mind," “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Galveston” and “Rhinestone Cowboy,” to his years hosting the CBS-TV show “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour” and a side career as an actor in the original film version of “True Grit,” in which he appeared alongside star John Wayne. His personal life took a downturn in 2004, when he spent 10 days in jail in Arizona for extreme drunken driving.

“I still love making music,” Campbell told People. “And I still love performing for my fans.  I’d like to thank them for sticking with me through thick and thin.”


Campbell gives Green Day a go

'True Grit' memories from Kim Darby and Glen Campbell

Crisis not gentle on his pride

-- Randy Lewis

Photo of Glen Campbell in 2004. Credit: Sherrie Busby / For The Times.

U2 salute to E Street Band's Clarence Clemons in Anaheim

U2 promptly paid homage Saturday to E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons after his death several hours earlier in Florida from complications of a stroke he suffered June 12.

At the second performance on the band’s two-night stand at Anaheim Stadium on its 360 Tour, Bono gave a solemn introduction to the song “Moment of Surrender,” asking for the lights to be dimmed and then urging concert-goers to turn their thoughts to Clemons and the members of the E Street Band.

“I want you to think about the beautiful symphonic sound that came out of one man's saxophone,” Bono told the crowd. “I want you to think about Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band of brothers. I want you to think of Clarence Clemons. This man just carried music and music carried him until this day.”

The rendition of “Moment of Surrender” that followed, and now posted on YouTube, incorporated a snippet of Springsteen’s “Jungleland,” the “Born to Run” epic that includes Clemons’ expansive, now-classic solo. 


Clarence Clemons dies at 69; saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band

E Street Band sax man Clarence Clemons 'improving' after massive stroke in Florida

Clarence Clemons' five best saxophone solos with the E Street Band

-- Randy Lewis

Live review: U2 at Angel Stadium


These days the U2 stage rig, nicknamed “The Claw,” looks better after dark. At dusk Friday, as  thousands of fans filed into a sold-out Angel Stadium in Anaheim to see the rock band perform, it was apparent that the orange spots extending up and down the hulking four-legged structure, within which U2 has performed since it launched its 360 Tour in 2009, were starting to fade with age.

A few scuffs along the skin-like tarp covering the mechanical creature also offered evidence of multiple loadings and unloadings from 18-wheelers on the road with the biggest rock band on earth.

Photos: U2 rocks Angel Stadium in Anaheim

U2, formed in Dublin, Ireland, in 1976, returned to the Southland to make up for two concerts they were forced to cancel when singer Bono, 51, injured his back during rehearsals last spring.

During that forced intermission, other real-life hurdles challenged the notion that the band was indestructible. U2’s two principal songwriters, Bono and guitarist The Edge, teamed up with director Julie Taymor for a Broadway adaptation of Spider-Man called “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” that has become the butt of jokes, the scene of injuries and the target of scathing reviews for nearly two years.

Continue reading »

Live Nation and Angel Stadium offer transportation tips for U2 fans

Angel Stadium is bracing itself for the swarm of U2 fans who will descend upon Anaheim this weekend.

More than a year after the band was originally supposed to perform, U2 will bring its 360 Tour to Anaheim on Friday and Saturday at Angel Stadium. The rockers were forced to postpone a number of dates last year after Bono injured his back during rehearsals.

Due to the high volume of traffic headed to the show -- more than 50,000 fans are expected to attend each night -– Live Nation and Angel Stadium have issued travel tips and parking information to make sure fans get in as smoothly as possible.

There's of course the obvious: Arrive early, car-pool and expect plenty of traffic snarls.

For those wanting to avoid it all, Metrolink will offer special round trips Friday and Saturday, which Live Nation hopes fans take advantage of.  These round-trip routes to Anaheim Station from L.A.'s Union Station and Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo will be available for only $7.

Venue parking lots are expected to open at 8 a.m., though doors won’t open until 5 p.m. for the 7 p.m. concert. Food and bathroom stalls will open at 8 a.m. While parking at Angel Stadium is expected to fill early, there will also be lots available at Honda Center. When U2 played the Rose Bowl in 2009, a record crowd of more than 95,000 people were expected, according to Live Nation, and the city also offered extended Metro rail line hours.

Details on the special U2 Metrolink train are after the jump:

Continue reading »

U2 to retain dignity by not performing on 'American Idol'


Apparently, some in the music business still value the whole ability-to-look-yourself-in-the-mirror thing. Sunday night U2 manager Paul McGuinness told that the act would be heading to Los Angeles to rehearse for the final of "American Idol."

But readers of Pop & Hiss, you can breathe a sigh of relief (we hope). Yes, U2 is heading to the "American Idol" finale, but don't expect a full-on U2 performance. U2's official website has provided a simple explanation: 

U2 are not performing on American Idol this Wednesday.

Bono and Edge will appear alongside Reeve Carney, who plays Peter Parker, and cast members from SPIDER-MAN Turn off the Dark which is set to open on Broadway,  June 14.

Let us hope this is not some fake-out -- although you're welcome to have your doubts about this Broadway thing -- as a certain segment of Pop & Hiss cannot endorse any viewing of the show whatsoever. It's a slippery slope, people, as one appears on "Idol," and suddenly "Glee" seems like a good idea. Meanwhile, U2's 360 Tour comes to Anaheim on June 17 and June 18. Tickets are still available.

And yes, all of us here know, Iggy Pop. Moving on. 


VIDEO: U2 performs ‘Spider-Man’ song for the first time

‘Spider-Man’ on Broadway review: Incoherent and no fun

Iggy Pop on 'American Idol': Still magnetic, still disturbing the American populace with 'Real Wild Child'

-- Todd Martens

Photo: U2's Bono at the Rose Bowl in 2009. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Nothing but dollar signs on the horizon: U2 sets record for highest-grossing tour


isn't a band that does things on the cheap. When frontman Bono and guitarist The Edge went to Broadway, they did so via "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," which has already earned itself the distinction of being the most expensive show in Broadway history. The band's "360 Tour" has been no bargain either, with costs tallying at least $750,000 per day, according to Billboard, whether or not the band even has a gig that night.

So perhaps the news today released via concert promoter Live Nation that trumpets the "360 Tour" as the highest-grossing rock 'n' roll endeavor ever should come with an asterisk. After all, no doubt it's one of the most expensive traveling rock shows ever, if not the most. Yet with 26 dates to go, including June 17 and 18 in Anaheim, the "360 Tour" has grossed more than $554 million since it launched in 2009. That beats a previous record set by the Rolling Stones' "Bigger Bang Tour."

In the statement, U2 manager Paul McGuinness was quoted as saying, "That dollar figure for the gross looks enormous. Of course I can't tell you what the net is, but I can tell you that the band spend enormous sums on production for their audience."

U2 only operates the scale of grand these days, but big, of course, is not always directly related to artistry. "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," for instance, is the Broadway show the critics love to hate, and the "360 Tour" came at something of an odd time for U2. The trek was staged in support of the band's 2009 album, "No Line on the Horizon," which, while successful, didn't spawn a hit on par with a "Beautiful Day" or an "Elevation."

Continue reading »

John Lennon, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Josh Groban hits together on 'Songs for Japan' benefit album

Songs for Japan - COVER

Contemporary and classic hits from John Lennon, Justin Bieber, Bob Dylan, U2, Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry, Josh Groban and nearly three dozen other acts have been gathered on “Songs for Japan,” a new compilation that will generate funds for the Japanese Red Cross Society’s disaster relief efforts.

The album’s 38 tracks include Lennon’s “Imagine,”  Bieber’s “Pray,” Dylan’s “Shelter From the Storm,” U2’s “Walk On,” Gaga’s “Born This Way,” Springsteen’s “Human Touch,” Perry’s “Firework,” Groban’s “Awake,” Pink’s “Sober” and Nicki Minaj’s “Save Me.”

Other artists represented include Black Eyed Peas, Madonna, Keith Urban, Rihanna, Lady Antebellum, Eminem, Elton John and Shakira.

All artists, publishers and record companies have waived their royalties and other proceeds so that 100% of money generated from sales of “Songs for Japan” will go to the Japanese Red Cross Society. The collection is available for digital download now on iTunes and will surface as a double CD set in early April.

Meanwhile, Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, is playing two benefit shows in New York in the days ahead from which proceeds will go to relief efforts. She’ll be joined by Sonic Youth; her son, Sean Ono Lennon; Cibo Matto; and others on Sunday at the Miller Theatre in a performance that has already sold out. Then on Tuesday, she’ll have Patti Smith, Tony Shanahan, Matto and others with her at Le Poisson Rouge. Tickets are $100.

-- Randy Lewis

Bon Jovi tops the 2010 tour list, followed by AC/DC, U2 and Lady Gaga

Jonbonjovi The concert business was hit in 2010 by some of the same tough economic times that have been gripping other factions in the music industry in recent years, but New Jersey rock group Bon Jovi has reason to pop the Champagne anyway.

The band posted the highest grossing concert tour of the year not only in North America, but across the globe, topping the $200-million mark worldwide, according to figures released Tuesday by Pollstar, the concert-tracking publication.

Bon Jovi posted total concert revenue of $201.1 million, a little over half that figure -- $108.2 million -- from the North American dates on its world tour.

Behind the group on Pollstar's worldwide ranking is AC/DC with gross ticket sales of $177 million, followed in the top 5 by U2 ($160.9 million), Lady Gaga ($133.6 million) and Metallica ($110.1 million).

Looking only at North American tour numbers, Roger Waters and his remounting of Pink Floyd's "The Wall" was second to Bon Jovi with a tour gross of $89.5 million, followed by the Dave Matthews Band ($72.9 million), Canadian pop crooner Michael Bublé ($65.7 million) and the Eagles ($64.5 million).

The big guns, however, couldn't bring up the entire concert business over last year's numbers. The top 50 North American tours combined for an overall take of $1.69 billion, down about 15% from $1.99 billion in 2009. The story was only marginally better throughout the world, where the top 50 total tour gross of $2.93 billion was off about 12% from $3.34 billion a year earlier.

Numbers were down almost across the board: total ticket sales dropped 12% in North America, from 29.9 million in 2009 to 26.2 million last year, and decreased 7% worldwide, from 45.3 million in 2009 to 38.3 million in 2010.

Top_20_Tours_of_2010 The only increase reported by Pollstar was in the average ticket price worldwide, which went up by $2.86 per ticket, or about 4%. Tickets in North America actually dropped by about $1.55 or 2%. Even Bon Jovi's field-leading $108.2 million for North America was the lowest figure in recent years for the No. 1 spot. The record high belongs to the Rolling Stones, who took in $162 million on their 2005 "A Bigger Bang" tour.

"Artists worked fewer shows in a tough business climate and those that overreached suffered the consequences," Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni said in a statement that accompanied the numbers. "In general, the international concert business was stronger than in North America, where overbooked and overpriced shows at outdoor amphitheater venues made it an especially difficult year for Live Nation," a reference to the world's largest concert promoter.

Former Beatle Paul McCartney has received consistent praise for his stamina, still typically delivering three-hour performances while touring at age 68. But he generally worked fewer nights for more money than most of his peers. His average gross of $3.86 million per night over 21 dates in 2010, and an average ticket price of $138.49, gave him the highest per-concert average in North America, followed by Bon Jovi ($2.85 million), Waters ($2.49 million), Alejandro Fernandez ($2.4 million) and Elton John-Billy Joel ($1.97 million).

Popularity-wise, however, Dave Matthews Band reigned, selling 1.27 million tickets in North America for the year. Bon Jovi was second with 1.18 million, Justin Bieber with 987,000, John Mayer with 894,000 and Brad Paisley with 880,000.

Rounding out the top 10 grossing North American tours were McCartney, who took in $61.8 million over 42 shows in 38 cities. Lady Gaga finished No. 7 with total ticket sales of $51 million, followed by the James Taylor-Carole King "Troubadour" reunion tour that nipped at Gaga's 6-inch spiked heels with a $50.7 million total gross, the Black Eyed Peas at $50.5 million and singer-songwriter guitarist John Mayer at No. 10 with $49.9 million.

Bublé also performed well around the world, finishing at No. 6 behind Metallica with $104.2 million, the "Walking With Dinosaurs" animatronics tour ($104.1 million), McCartney ($93 million), the Eagles (92.3 million) and Waters ($89.5 million).

Michaelbuble "Walking With Dinosaurs" attracted more patrons than any other tour, logging almost 2.06 million visitors. But the spectacle's overall gross finished farther down the list because the average ticket price was a comparatively modest $50.56.

Billboard's concert business rankings, which cover a slightly different, non-calendar year -- Nov. 22, 2009-Nov. 20, 2010 -- and factor in worldwide tour revenues, also place Bon Jovi at the top of the heap, with a gross during that period of $146.5 million from sales of nearly 1.59 million tickets.

The rest of the magazine's top five touring acts were largely consistent with Pollstar's, with the No. 2 slot taken by U2 ($131.5 million, 1.31 million tickets), then AC/DC ($122.6 million, 1.16 million tickets), Lady Gaga ($116.2 million, 1.36 million tickets) and Black Eyed Peas ($81.6 million, 1.26 million tickets). U2 scored its penultimate finish with only 22 stadium shows, compared to 69 performances for Bon Jovi.

U2 was tops on Pollstar's list of 2009's biggest tours, posting $123 million and another 1.31 million tickets sold. The Irish quartet was the only act to top the $100-million mark last year, with Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band coming in second with $94.5 million, Elton John and Billy Joel's duo tour pulling in $88 million, Britney Spears at $82.5 million and AC/DC fifth with $77.9 million.

Among Pollstar's Top 100 North American tours, the crown for highest average ticket price of 2010 goes to Waters, who charged an average of $126.14 per ticket. That's considerably less than last year's high of $173.89 for Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks Live" tour.

Pollstar will release a full Top 200 early next month in its 2010 Year End Special Edition.

 -- Randy Lewis

Top photo: Jon Bon Jovi led the concert word with over $200-million in concert revenue. Credit: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images.

Bottom photo: Michael Bublé also had a good year, including finishing at No. 6 internationally. Credit: Associated Press.

U2 preps live EP on vinyl for 'Black Friday' at indie record stores

U2-Wide Awake In Europe-12' vinyl cover 11-2010

U2 is pitching in with other acts that are offering special releases in conjunction with "Black Friday" promotions Nov. 26 that support independent record stores. The Irish band will be offering  a  limited-edition three-song live EP on vinyl  titled “Wide Awake in Europe.”

“Mercy,” the freshest of the tracks and recently added to the European leg of the "U2360° Tour," was recorded Sept. 22 in Brussels and is being released for the first time in any form on the new EP. The other two -- “Moment of Surrender” and “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” -- were recorded at earlier stops on the tour. Only 5,000 copies of the EP will be pressed and sold, primarily in North American indie record stores, although some copies will be shipped for sale in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The Black Friday releases from U2, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Metallica, the Gaslight Anthem, the Black Crowes, Grinderman, the Doors, the Black Keys and others are an extension of national Record Store Day, an event each April that a  coalition of indie music store operators cooked up to highlight brick-and-mortar stores that still specialize in selling physical CDs and vinyl.

"We all wanted to get behind Record Store Day,” U2 bassist Adam Clayton said on behalf of the band in a statement released Monday. “My local record shop introduced me to music I didn’t know and I might never have discovered."

-- Randy Lewis


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