Driven by artists like Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Coldplay.

With nearly $375 million in grosses and 7.3 million in attendance for the first quarter, the North American concert business shows signs of emerging from a two-year slump, according to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore.

Driven by such artists as Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Coldplay and Aerosmith, North American concert dollars are up 28% from a year ago, and atttendance is up 19%. Global numbers, with plenty of help from U2’s Vertigo tour, are up about half that amount in both categories.

And it's not simply a case of more volume. The number of shows for Q1 ‘06 is virtually the same as a year ago for North America—2,595 shows were reported in North America Jan.-March 2006, compared to 2,525 for the same period last year—while the average attendance per show is up nearly 16%.

"Touring will always be cyclical," says Randy Phillips, CEO of international promoter AEG Live. "The numbers are completely dependent upon who is on the road."

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