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Madonna tops 2008 gig league


Story by Jack Foley

MADONNA was officially the highest-earning touring artist of 2008, takig £193 million from her Sticky and Sweet showcase.

The figures, released by music trade publication Pollstar, also confirm that the tour was the eighth highest grossing of all time in North America, easily beating second placed artist Celine Dion, who amassed £162 million from her shows.

The Sticky And Sweet tour was based around Madonna’s Hard Candy album and featured a Ukrainian gypsy band, a vintage racing car and a “virtual” duet with Justin Timberlake, who appeared on her hit single Four Minutes. It visited 17 countries, including the UK.

Ironically, both Madonna and Celine Dion’s world tours were directed by choreographer Jamie King, who was also responsible for the Spice Girls’ reunion tour.

Madonna’s success meant that she also broke her own record for the biggest selling tour by a solo artist, topping 2006’s Confessions gigs, which took£127.5m.

Elsewhere in Pollstar’s list, which for the first time compiled foreign data on concert earnings, Bon Jovi came third, with £121 million, Bruce Springsteen was fourth, with £114 million, and The Police came fifth with £83m (having topped the 2007 list).

However, fewer people went to concerts in North America during 2008, according to the publication, with those who did venture out having to pay higher prices for their tickets than ever before.

As 2009 gets underway, strong ticket sales are expected for tours by bands such as Coldplay, Oasis, Britney Spears, U2 and Springsteen – the latter two of whom have new albums planned for the year.

Top 10 tours of 2008

Madonna – £193m
Celine Dion – £162m
Bon Jovi – £121m
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (pictured) – £114m
The Police – £83m
Neil Diamond – £65m
Eagles – £61m
Andre Rieu – £53m
Kenny Chesney – £49.7m
Coldplay – £49.5m