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Billboard Launches Monthly Boxscore Series, Elton John Tops Inaugural Chart

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Elton John performs onstage during his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 9, 2018 in New York City.

For nearly three decades, Billboard Boxscore has been the center of reporting on the live music industry, celebrating the top artists, venues, and promoters that power the touring business. In addition to our continued weekly reporting, covering the top events submitted each week, Billboard is introducing a monthly boxscore series where we will chart the top events of each calendar month, providing a more accurate and comparative look at performances over a standardized period. 

The new section will also include the top tours, promoters, and four venues charts organized by capacity, as well in-depth analysis and interviews featuring leading show producers and entertainment executives.

The inaugural monthly Top Tours chart is crowned by Elton John, now six months deep in the Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour. John played 12 shows throughout February, grossing $23.4 million from 171,317 tickets sold, according to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore. Since beginning the tour on Sept. 8, 2018 in Allentown, Pa., the rocket man has sold out all 65 shows, raking in $125.4 million in North American arenas.

Business has been consistent for John across the tour and his February showing indicates he isn’t slowing down. He doubled up in four of the eight cities he hit, playing two nights apiece at The Forum (Inglewood, Calif.), Pepsi Center (Denver), Allstate Arena (Rosemont, Ill.) and Target Center (Minneapolis).

His sold-out two-night stint at The Forum is especially impressive following four nights at the nearby Staples Center in Los Angeles from Jan. 22-30. Similarly, his Feb. 15-16 shows at the Allstate Arena follow two shows at Chicago’s United Center in October. Finally, John played a stunning six shows in the greater New York market (to be reported later this month) after four area shows in October and November. After more North American shows in March, John will cross the pond for a European summer leg, as part of his three-year, 300-show farewell tour.

John’s is one of a few farewell treks gracing the Top Tours list, followed closely by KISS (No. 2) and Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band (No. 13). Both veteran bands are routinely selling out arenas as well but haven’t done repeat business in major markets like John.

The presence of these veteran acts plus James Taylor, Michael BublĂ© and Cher in the top half (including Nos. 1-3) of this month’s chart is a reminder that older audiences continue to be a driving force for high-ticket tours. After 2018’s year-end chart was dominated by younger acts like Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and the co-billed trek from BeyoncĂ© and Jay-Z, the pendulum is swinging back (though not all the way – Sheeran, Justin Timberlake and Travis Scott appear in the top 10).

John's Boffo Boxscores: John logs four engagements on the February Top Boxscores chart, occupying Nos. 5-8. The monthly Top Boxscores chart ranks the highest grossing individual engagements of the month, as opposed to the combined performance of an artist's engagements for the month, as reflected on the monthly Top Tours list. 

While John dominates the top 10, it's Timberlake that has the most spots on the Boxscores ranking, with five engagements at Nos. 19, 22, and 25-27 (combining for a No. 4 placement on Top Tours). Other artists with multiple entries are Eric Church (Nos. 10, 15-16, 18), Sheeran (Nos. 3, 14, 23) and Fleetwood Mac (Nos. 24, 30). 

The Mexico City incarnation of Electric Daisy Carnival is king, with $10.5 million over the two-day festival. It is one of many international engagements populating the Top Boxscores chart, with others by Sheeran (Brazil and Argentina), Maroon 5 (Seoul, South Korea), and Eagles (Auckland, New Zealand).

While still in the U.S., destination events in Las Vegas and Hawaii also make an impact. George Strait (No. 4) and Lady Gaga (No. 17) continue their respective Vegas residencies, while Eminem (No. 13) played to over 30,000 fans at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium.  

Atlanta co-headline pairings of Bruno Mars and Cardi B (No. 2), and Aerosmith and Post Malone (No. 9) hit the top 10, helping to make State Farm Arena the month’s top grossing venue (of any capacity) w

Check back next month when we take a look at the top-performing events of March 2019.