Highest Grossing Concert Tours of All Time
Wed, April 21, 2021

Highest Grossing Concert Tours of All Time

Attending a concert of one's favorite artist is an experience of a lifetime thus, presented in the list below are some of the highest-grossing concert tours of all time. / Photo credits by Cesare Andrea Ferrari via Shutterstock

 

Concerts are a fun, if a little uncomfortable, time in anyone’s life. It’s a mix of excitement, exhilaration, heightened emotion, all undercut by possibly not the best time of standing in line or getting smooshed in the seats behind the tallest person in the world. 

Many would say it’s all part of the experience and that they would not really have it any other way. Of course, there are a few caveats that modern concert audiences and artists face, like the sea of lifted up phones swaying in the air, recording every moment of the concert.

It’s not a bad thing to take a video or a snap of something you want to look back on later, but for some artists like Childish Gambino, it’s a big no-no. He even gives the same request in his other shows and can be remembered requesting his audience to put their phones down when he headlined at Coachella in 2019. 

The good and the bad of every concert cancel out when a particular show becomes incredibly successful, and here are some of the highest-grossing tours of all time. 


Ed Sheeran, “÷ Tour”
Earnings: $750 million

Ed Sheeran was the least expected breakout artist in the music scene, and though that’s true (down to the odd discovery of his talent by Jamie Foxx), his upward trajectory with his adoring fans only continues to prove that he’s truly a talented and bankable artist. 

For instance, his bankability and relatability have both impressively earned him $750 million, making it the highest-grossing music tour in history and beating U2’s "360° Tour" by about $20 million. The sales are well-deserved, of course. Ever since he’s come out, Sheeran has focused on making songs that tell the truth of his struggles.

 


U2 "360° Tour"
Earnings: $736.4 million

Though they’re second to Sheeran by only a small fraction of the earnings, the “360°” tour was quite an experience. The most memorable element of the tour was “The Claw” for sure. For those who weren’t there during that iconic moment, Work and Money, a website offering professionals articles and content that can help them understand real estate and business landscapes, describes “The Claw” as the “165-foot-high arachnid-like structure” that took up center stage in their concert. It was reportedly so big that it cost around $25 to $30 million and “took 120 semi-trucks to move it between stadium concerts where seating was in the round -- hence the tour’s 360 moniker.”


Guns N’ Roses, “Not in This Lifetime Tour”
Earnings: $563.3 million

For many Guns N’ Roses fans, the “Not in This Lifetime Tour” was as memorable to them as it was to the band members. It was one thing for GNR to start small in the '80s and end up “hitchhiking home from their own gigs,” and it was another to actually reach the pinnacle of their success when they eventually became one of the biggest metal bands in the world. 

 

British singer Ed Sheeran claims the top spot as his “÷ Tour” earned 750 million dollars which had 260 shows. / Photo credits by JStone

 

The Rolling Stones, “A Bigger Bang”
Earnings: $558.2 million 

How much of a big deal was “A Bigger Bang”? Well, according to Work and Money, it was supposedly so big that even Arnold Schwarzenegger scalped tickets to see them. This half-a-billion-worth show won big not only for their rapport with fans but also because The Rolling Stones’ experience in the industry has given them the right discernment with selecting opening acts, reports business news website Forbes. 

They chose opening acts that resonated and were connected with the pulse of the audience. This way, they were able to draw crowds by bringing stars on stage such as Kanye West, Black Eyed Peas, Nickelback, and Jason Mraz. 


Coldplay, “A Head Full of Dreams Tour”
Earnings: $523 million

Drenched in color and flooded with exhilarating reciprocated energy from both the band and the audience, Coldplay’s “A Head Full of Dreams” was, in itself, a force to be reckoned with. The concert ran for a whole year and began in 2016. Interestingly, the album that the tour was named after wasn’t as successful as the tour itself, which was attended by millions of fans across five continents. 

None of those variables seemed to matter since the tour will still be remembered as one of the biggest and most successful in the world. 

 


Roger Waters, “The Wall Live” 
Earnings: $458.7 million

Roger Waters took a huge gamble when he went on his “The Wall Live” tour. Politically charged and equally amazing, the show continued to resonate with the audience, who waited eagerly to see it. According to Forbes, it took Waters three years to finish the tour, but after it all, he felt that it was worth it. 


As an added treat to fans, Waters even brought Pink Floyd on the tour and had him play “The Wall,” a song by Waters that’s been certified 23 times over as a platinum record in the US.