Summer tour report: The Police excel at crowd control
By Steve Jones, USA TODAY
The reunited Police generated the most live-music excitement this summer, playing to sellout crowds and raking in $91.3 million. The band was easily the biggest single act in a season that was light on flashy marquee acts but rife with consistent performers.
Even without a top-heavy roster of megastars, overall concert grosses from May 1 to Labor Day were $926.5 million, compared with $952.5 million in 2006; attendance was 18.8 million, down from 19.6 a year ago. The data is from Boxscore reports published by Billboard and analyzed by USA TODAY.
"It wasn't like last year, when you had the Rolling Stones, Madonna and U2 all playing," says Ray Waddell, Billboard's touring editor. "It was more of a meat-and-potatoes year with a lot of solid acts and healthy tours."
Country music was a big winner: Kenny Chesney ($62.5 million), Tim McGraw and Faith Hill ($38.2 million) and Rascal Flatts ($16.8 million). Pop acts such as Beyoncé ($18.5 million) and Gwen Stefani ($16.2 million) also did well.
But none compared with Justin Timberlake. With figures available for just nine dates of his U.S. summer shows, he still grossed nearly $10 million. "Easily the biggest tour he's ever done on his own," says Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni.
American Idols Live made $15.6 million, attracting 259,000 fans to the 37 shows for which figures are available, filling 67% of available seats. Last year, the shows ran at 96% capacity.
What would generate the most interest next summer? Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd reunions. A Zeppelin tour would be "like 20 Super Bowls rolled into one," Waddell says.
Contributing: Anthony DeBarros
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