Though the blistering pace of earlier this year has slowed, North American touring dollars remained up double digits through the saturated summer season.

Though the blistering pace of earlier this year has slowed, North American touring dollars remained up double digits through the saturated summer season.

January through September dollars in North America for 2006 topped $1.8 billion, up 10.5% from the same period last year, according to box-office figures reported to Billboard Boxscore.

Attendance figures, as has been typical for the past decade, were at a lower pace, down 1.2% for the period. Given that the total number of shows reported (9,944) is down 3%, both attendance and total show declines can likely be attributed to tardy reporting from promoters and venues.

Gross dollars were up 28% in the first quarter and slightly more than 20% in the second quarter. The fact that the increase remained at double digits is a good sign for an industry that took its lumps in 2004 but rebounded slightly in 2005.

Driven by hugely successful stadium tours by U2, Madonna, Bon Jovi and the Rolling Stones, international numbers are even more impressive. Gross dollars worldwide are up more than 13%, and gross attendance is up fractionally, while number of shows is down more than 5%.

With Barbra Streisand, the Stones, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eric Clapton and others on the road through the fall, it looks like the industry has a shot at finishing the year with its first significant uptick in gross dollars in several years.