U2 Earn $73 Million From Just 15 'Joshua Tree' Anniversary Shows in 2019

Matt Jelonek/WireImage
Adam Clayton, Bono, Larry Mullen Jr, The Edge of U2 perform at Optus Stadium on Nov. 27, 2019 in Perth, Australia.

More than 30 years since the release of The Joshua Tree, U2 wrapped their multi-year anniversary tour celebrating their most successful album. According to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore, The Joshua Tree Tours 2017 and 2019 grossed a total of $390.8 million and sold 3.3 million tickets over 65 shows around the world.

The Irish rockers toured throughout North and South America, as well as Europe in 2017, playing 50 shows over five months. The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 crowned Billboard Boxscore’s Top Tours ranking of that year with a $317 million gross, despite playing fewer shows than the five tours that followed it.

And after launching and completing 2018’s Experience + Innocence Tour (No. 8 Tour of 2018) and spending most of 2019 off the road, U2 returned for a 15-show Joshua Tree Tour run across Australia and Asia in November and December, grossing $73.8 million and selling 567,000 tickets (these grosses will count toward Billboard Boxscore’s 2020 year-end charts. The Boxscore chart year runs from Nov. 1 2019 – Oct. 31, 2020).

U2’s 2019 grosses break down to $35.7 million from eight shows in Australia and $38.1 million from seven shows in Asia. With a greater total gross and fewer shows, it makes sense that Asia sported a better average gross-per-show, at $5.44 million compared to $4.63 million per night in Australia. The average ticket in Asia was $166.18, 58% higher than the average Australian ticket ($105.65) and the highest continental ticket on the entire anniversary haul, still significantly above the $121.20 in Latin America.

Though reporting was incomplete in the 1980s, the 30th anniversary world tour improves upon the original The Joshua Tree Tour in 1987. The 76 reported North American shows earned $33 million (less than 10% of the 2017, 19 tour) and sold 1.9 million tickets. A completely different era in touring and ticketing, the average ticket to see U2 in 1987, touring in support of one of the most popular and celebrated albums of all time, was $17.11. This is worlds away from the $100-plus ticket of the band’s recent tour, or virtually any arena or stadium ticket in 2019.

The recent finals push U2’s cumulative gross to $2.222 billion and 28.3 million tickets sold from 825 reported shows.


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