U2 Still Shattering Tour Records, Gaga And Madonna Not Far Behind

By Zachary Swickey

As U2 begin to wrap up the last leg of their seemingly never-ending 360° tour, they continue to shatter records and cement their place as the top touring act ever. The tour – which began in Europe two years ago in support of their most recent album, No Line on the Horizon – has currently grossed over $675 million during the over 100-show run with each date selling out consecutively.

Anyone who has caught a glimpse of the 167-foot tall “claw” structure that U2 employs as their stage knows just how massive this production is. It has a ridiculous budget of $750,000 a day, a fleet of 120 trucks, and a 400-person workforce. It takes eight days just to set up and take down the rig, and the group has three (at $40 million per “claw”), so that two can be in the process of assembly on the same night they play another gig. This 360-degree stage scenario allows up to 20 percent more tickets to be sold; therefore, further helping U2 slaughter attendance records from South Africa to the U.S.

To put things into perspective, The Rolling Stones’ 2005-07 A Bigger Bang Tour is the second highest grossing tour ever, raking in over $550 million, but selling a paltry 4.6 million in tickets to U2’s 7 million. Similarly, U2’s average attendance of over 65,000 people more than doubled the Stones’ 32,500. AC/DC’s lengthy return to the road – 2008-10’s Black Ice World Tour; their first jaunt in 7 years – is unsurprisingly the third highest grossing tour of all time.

But what about the ladies? Find out below.

Pop Queen Madonna remains a hot ticket and boasts the fourth highest grossing tour of all time with her Sticky and Sweet Tour. Despite only playing 85 shows, the tour was attended by over 3.5 million rabid fans and took home $408 million. The real road warrior, however, is Cher, who performed 325 shows over the course of four years during her Farewell Tour.

There are very few modern acts that can put up those kinds of big numbers without a healthy catalog of music to fall back on, but Lady Gaga drew fans in droves to her recent Monster Ball Tour. The trek spanned over three years and more than 200 mostly sold out shows, wrapping up in May of this year. Gaga is not wasting any time getting back on the road, and is already plotting her follow up tour, the Born This Way Ball, which will reportedly be even bigger and hit up countries that she missed the last time around.

Did you see U2 on the road? Tell us about the show in the comments below.