Elton John Breaks & Extends Records Atop January Boxscore Report
The Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour brought in another $40.9 million during the first month of 2023.
Though the calendar year has flipped and Billboard’s January Boxscore report celebrates the beginning of a new year in touring, the top of the charts carry over what became a constant toward the end of 2022. According to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore, Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour earned $40.9 million during the month, securing his seventh at No. 1 on the Top Tours chart overall, and third in the last four months.
Beyond extending his record for time atop the ranking, notably, January’s Oceania leg of John’s sprawling farewell tour pushed the entire run’s gross to $817.9 million – making it the highest grossing tour of all time. It surpasses Ed Sheeran’s The Divide Tour ($776.4 million), which set the previous high mark in 2019, and U2’s The 360 Tour ($736.4 million), which had held the title since 2011.
Simultaneously, John leads the Top Boxscores chart with $11.3 million at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium on Jan. 17-18. Since the charts launched in February 2019, it’s the ninth time an artist has ruled both rankings, and the second for John, who first did so in January 2020. BTS is the only other act to double-up twice.
John’s $40-million January breaks down to two stadiums shows apiece in Newcastle (Jan. 9, 11), Melbourne (Jan. 14-15) and Sydney (Jan. 18-19), plus single shows in Brisbane (Jan. 22) and Christchurch (Jan. 25).
Not only does John crown the Boxscores ranking, he follows himself at Nos. 2 (Melbourne), 4 (Newcastle), 6 (Brisbane), and 11 (Christchurch). Blanketing the chart with four top 10 appearances, he set himself apart from the pack in stadiums during Australia and New Zealand’s summer, while the Northern winter kept last year’s holdovers dormant and 2023’s from beginning later into the spring.
The strategy does extend to the Red Hot Chili Peppers at No. 2 on Top Tours and at Nos. 5, 9 and 12 on Top Boxscores. The funk-pop-rock band earned $15.1 million from the first three of its Oceania shows, with five more to chart in February. This follows the $59.6 million in Europe and $117.4 million in North America last year, playing stadiums in both continents during the warmth of June through September.
With far less history in Oceania than on the Western hemisphere, the Chili Peppers enlisted Post Malone to join the January and February shows. The bulked-up billing helped transform the band from an arena act to a stadium act in the region, having last reported shows in Oceania on 2007’s Stadium Arcadium Tour. Audience in Auckland flipped from 22,000 in ’07 to 48,000 in 2023, while Brisbane’s crowd grew from 22,000 to 40,000.
Playing Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium just a week after John, the two combined for $13.9 million and 91,000 tickets sold, enough to be the top grossing venue of the month worldwide.
On the Top Venues, 15,001+ capacity chart, Suncorp is followed by Sydney’s Allianz Stadium and Melbourne’s AAMI Park at Nos. 2-3, respectively, plus Manchester’s McDonald Jones Stadium at No. 6, forming a powerful Oceania block over western mainstays like the Kia Forum in Inglewood, Calif. (No. 4), the O2 Arena in London (No. 5) and Madison Square Garden in New York (No. 8).
Continuing the 2022 carryover at the head of Top Tours, Harry Styles is No. 3, after finishing at No. 4 on last year’s annual recap. He earned $12.4 million from 62,000 tickets sold, all from four arena dates. On Jan. 26-27 and 29, Styles played the final three dates of his 15-show mini-residency at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, Calif. Those dates grossed $9.6 million and pushed the entire Inglewood run to a gross of $47.8 million, making it the fifth-highest grossing headline engagement in Boxscore history.
Additionally, Styles played two shows at Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert, Calif. One of those shows, played on Jan. 31, counts toward his monthly total, and the other, played on Feb. 1, will count toward his February earnings.
While January typically is a lull between the final dates of major tours in November and December and the opening nights for the year’s biggest attractions in February and March, January 2023 proved that there are ways to kick off the year in style, pun intended. From John and the Chili Peppers going to Australia, to The 1975 and Future conducting brief, monthlong runs before calendars get too packed, January can be a sneaky time for sleeper ticket sales.
Further flagged by Omicron-era woes, the January 2021 Top Tours chart featured six tours above $5 million, 18 above $1 million, and cut off the 30-position ranking at $548,000. One year later, those numbers improve to eight, 28, and $975,000.
A version of this story originally appeared in the Feb. 25, 2023, issue of Billboard.