KISS Made Out In '96

Metallica helped make Lollapalooza '96 a success.

C'mon, is anybody really surprised that the KISS reunion tour was the hottest

ticket of the '96 concert season? Yes, as expected, the grease-painted ones

cleaned house this year with a tour that grossed $43.6 million according to

Pollstar, the music industry magazine that focuses on the concert

business. That monstrous number breaks down to over 1.2 million tickets for 92

shows in 75 cities, so it's not like they didn't have to shake their trusses a

little to make the cash.

In a year that saw stadium rockers like U2 and

the Rolling Stones laying low, KISS enlivened a concert scene that lacked a

Grateful Dead tour for the first time in years (generally a $30 million affair)

due to the death of Jerry Garcia in August of '95. According to

Pollstar, though, this year's haul of $1.05 billion was still an

improvement over last year's $950 million take...

The summer concert season was overloaded with aging acts

like Styx and Chicago, who played to smaller audiences than usual. With the

exception of Alanis Morissette (8th, $23.3 million) and Hootie & the Blowfish

(9th, $21.4 million) the rest of Pollstar's top ten tours list was

rounded out by their peers, old reliables like Ozzy Osbourne (10th, $21.3

million), Neil Diamond (3rd, $32.2 million), Rod Stewart (4th, $29.1 million)

and Bob Seger (5th, $26.3 million). AC/DC wound up just out of the top ten with

a $21.2 million gross.

Pollstar also reported that, despite charging

only $18 per ticket (less than half the industry average and considerably less

than the upper-range $100 tickets Stewart was hawking), MOR country star Garth

Brooks ranked second with a gross of $34.5 million. In fact, Brooks had a

per-show gross of nearly $842,000, easily besting Kiss' $582,000, playing to

1.9 million people during his sold-out 121-show, 41-city tour.

Last year's

Greedy Gary's, The Eagles, didn't quite rake it in like in 1995 ($61 million),

when they topped the list, but their scaled-down brief overseas tour still

managed to land them at 29th on the top 50 list. In good news for people who

would rather see acts their parents would disapprove of (KISS included),

Lollapalooza had one of the highest per-show grosses of all tours, bringing in

nearly $800,000 per show, which resulted in a healthy $15.9 million gross, due,

in no small part it seems, to the presence of Metallica at the top of the