Bon Jovi, Springsteen, Spice Girls top 2008's top-grossing tours

Bon Jovi: "Money? Yeah, we've got that."
Bon Jovi: "Money? Yeah, we've got that."

It pays to be Bon Jovi. And it pays to be in Bon Jovi. Hell, it pays to be even associated with Bon Jovi. However you slice it, the New Jersey boys are big business, and the band topped the list for 2008's biggest tours.

In all, Bon Jovi's Lost Highway tour, promoted in North America and Europe by AEG Live, grossed $210.6 million and drew 2,157,675 fans.

New Jersey was doubly represented by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, whose Magic tour grossed $204.5 million for 2008. Springsteen reported another $31 million for 2007, taking his two-year total to more than $235 million.

Madonna, Police, Spice Girls also big

A mixture of pop and rock ruled the rest of the top-grossing tours. Madonna's ongoing Sticky & Sweet Tour held the third spot with $162 million and counting, while the second leg of the Police reunion tour grossed $150 million for fourth. Celine Dion rounded out the top five with $91 million.

Other big draws were Kenny Chesney ($86 million), Neil Diamond ($81.2 million), The Spice Girls ($70 million), The Eagles ($56.6 million) and Rascal Flatts ($55.8 million).

2008's top-grossing engagement was The Spice Girls' 17-night sold-out run at London's O2 Arena, which earned $33.8 million. Not bad for a group once written off as one-hit wonders.

Concert biz up but flat

The overall touring business grossed slightly less than $4 billion worldwide, a record-setting amount and up almost 13 percentover last year.

However, global reported concert attendance was flat in 2008, with 6 percent fewer shows. On a show-by show basis, though, the average box office gross in the US was up 18 percent and average attendance is up 6.3 percent.

Which means, you're going to less shows, but those shows you're going to, you're going to big-time.

Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.