The Ladies First Tour, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and Missy Elliott's powerhouse diva bill, and Britney Spears' provocative Onyx Hotel Tour each grossed around $19 million in the first half of 2004 to become two of the 10 most successful tours so far this year (#8 and #9 respectively), according to Billboard.
The top earner was David Bowie, whose A Reality Tour grossed $45.4 million over 82 shows. Since the figures reflect shows between November 19, 2003, and May 18, 2004, Bowie's numbers were not affected by last month's cancellation of the last 10 days of his European tour. Tests determined that Bowie suffered a blocked heart artery, and he underwent surgery last week (see "David Bowie Undergoes Emergency Heart Surgery").
Bette Midler came in at #2 with her Kiss My Brass Tour, her first in four years, which brought in $40 million. Simon and Garfunkel's Old Friends Tour, which returned the '60s duo to the stage to continue their highly successful 2003 outing, grossed $36 million. Shania Twain came in fourth with $34 million, followed by Prince, who upped his earnings by raising his ticket prices (around $75 for decent seats) and including a copy of his Musicology with ticket purchases (see "Billboard Sours On Prince's Musicology Sales Experiment").
Metallica, who offered a no-frills bill with Godsmack, landed at #7 with grosses of $22 million. Metallica might have grossed even more had they not taken several breaks from the road to spend time with their families.
For more sights and stories from concerts around the country, check out MTV News Tour Reports.