George Strait at the Touring Awards


George Strait accepts the Legend of Live Award at the Billboard Touring Awards on November 14, 2013 in New York City

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George Strait tops the weekly Hot Tours ranking with $6.2 million in ticket sales reported from the final leg of his "Cowboy Rides Away" tour that began on Jan. 9 in Louisiana. The tour’s 2014 itinerary kicked off at Bossier City, La.’s CenturyLink Center, the first of 26 venues tapped for the country music legend’s final jaunt. This week’s Hot Tours tally includes sales from the first four arenas on the farewell tour schedule. With sellout crowds for each performance, the sold ticket count totaled 66,370.

Strait’s last tour performance is set for June 7 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. That event will feature an all-star lineup of guest artists, but for the remainder of the dates until then, a variety of country stars will provide support. In the first two cities, Bossier City and Austin, country star Jason Aldean opened the show. Eric Church was on the bill for the next two concerts in Omaha and Kansas City.

The "Cowboy Rides Away" tour launched on Jan. 18 of last year in Lubbock, Texas, playing in 20 cities during 2013. The first leg of the tour grossed more than $40.8 million from 454,931 sold tickets at 20 sold out shows. The 2013 run included 18 arenas and two stadiums: Houston’s Reliant Stadium and the Alamodome in San Antonio. The Houston event on March 17, 2013, drew more than 80,000 fans with sales totaling $8.1 million, Strait’s highest-grossing concert on record based on sales figures reported to Billboard.

New York City’s MSG Entertainment reported box office stats this week from the final quarter of 2013 for concerts at Madison Square Garden, earning four acts a slot on the weekly Hot Tours recap. Phish lands at No. 2 with revenue reported from its traditional run of shows in the arena to close out the old year and ring in the new. The band played four nights beginning on Dec. 28, grossing $4.8 million with sellout crowds at each show.

Phish has played a multiple-show New Year’s run at the Garden every year since 2010, but its tradition of performing at the arena goes back to 1994. The jam band’s first Madison Square Garden concert reported to Billboard was on Dec. 30 of that year, the first of 31 performances at the venue during the past 19 years.

Sir Elton John scores this week’s No. 3 ranking with two performances at the arena on Dec. 3 and 4. With a packed house on both nights, the attendance count totaled 36,196. 

Two more artists land on Hot Tours with concerts at Madison Square Garden’s 5,600-seat theater. Van Morrison is fifth this week with $1.3 million in sales from a sold out concert at the theater on Nov. 25 along with a show the following evening at another Manhattan venue, the Beacon Theatre. Finally, ranking No. 7 is Macklemore & Ryan Lewis with a three-show engagement at the Theatrer at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 13, 14 and 15. Attendance totaled 16,142 during the sold-out run.

In order:

Rank, act
Total Gross
Show Dates
Show Venue/City (Shows/Sellouts)
Total Attendance (Capacity)
    Jan. 9-18
    CenturyLink Center, Bossier City, La. (1/1)
    Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas (1/1)
    CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb. (1/1)
    Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo. (1/1)
    66,370 (66,370)
    Dec. 28-31
    Madison Square Garden, New York (4/4)
    76,000 (76,000)
    Dec. 3-4
    Madison Square Garden, New York (2/2)
    36,196 (36,196)
    Jan. 17
    Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa (1/1)
    21,852 (21,852)
    Nov. 25-26
    Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York (1/1)
    Beacon Theatre, New York (1/1)
    8,219 (8,219)
    Dec. 13-14
    Chicago Theatre, Chicago (3/3)
    10,641 (10,641)
    Nov. 13-15
    Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York (3/3)
    16,142 (16,142)
    Nov. 12-14
    Beacon Theatre, New York (3/2)
    7,905 (8,221)
    Jan. 10
    United Center, Chicago (1/0)
    11,226 (12,500)
    Dec. 31
    Radio City Music Hall, New York (1/0)
    5,146 (5,943)