The U.S. touring industry will get a 24-carat boost from Neil Diamond this summer. One of the most consistently bankable performers of the past 30 years, Diamond will begin a North American tour July

The U.S. touring industry will get a 24-carat boost from Neil Diamond this summer. One of the most consistently bankable performers of the past 30 years, Diamond will begin a North American tour July 25 at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb. The Live World Tour 2005 trek will play at least 34 cities before wrapping Oct. 26 in Atlanta, Billboard has learned.

The outing will come in support of Diamond's upcoming Rick Rubin-produced album, due this summer via Columbia. "We will be adding dates, and there could be multiples in some markets," says Randy Phillips, CEO of U.S. tour promoter AEG Live.

Tickets will go on sale in early May and will be priced "well under $100," according to Phillips. "Neil insists on keeping his ticket prices lower than other artists with a similar demographic, because he would rather play more shows for more people," he says. "His philosophy on pricing is exactly the same as ours. That's how we were able to take Prince out for less than $100 last year."

These will be Diamond's first U.S. concerts since the 2001-2002 Three Penny Opera world tour. That outing grossed $88.6 million and drew more than 1.5 million people to 117 shows, 98 of them sellouts, according to Billboard Boxscore.

Diamond's 2005 road work began in March with a sold-out tour of Australia and New Zealand. The Down Under trek has been nothing short of a box-office monster: Fifteen dates have drawn 212,710 people and grossed $14.6 million. The tour continues in the United Kingdom and Ireland before arriving in the States in July.

A workhorse on the road for years (he was the top solo touring artist of the 1990s, grossing $182 million from 461 shows), Diamond's last tour was lengthy even by his standards. "This [tour] was special, in the sense that it really became more than a tour after the 9-11 tragedy," Diamond told Billboard at the time. "I got a sense that people were really in need of not so much entertainment, but to get on with their lives. It started as a tour and ended as a mission."

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