It’s been a long, winding road for Elton John. He launched the Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour in 2018 and is on track to make it the highest grossing tour of all time. When Billboard launched its monthly Boxscore reports in 2019, John crowned the inaugural Top Tours list, and then did it again three more times before the pandemic.
In the post-COVID era, John has been consistent. For seven of the first nine months of the year, he was No. 2 on the Top Tours ranking, omnipresent while Tool, Bad Bunny, BTS, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay traded off at No. 1. But finally, he hath risen and is back on top. According to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore, John scores October’s highest grossing tour with $49.6 million in the bank.
John has been in North American stadiums since mid-July, following a European run earlier in the summer. But the tour’s first three and a half years were spent in arenas. In bigger outdoor venues, John can generate higher returns with fewer shows. He only played eight shows during October, averaging $6.2 million per show, a higher average gross than any other act as many stadium tours wrapped, and fall weather keeps North American and European artists inside.
His October calendar included doubleheaders in Santa Clara, Calif. (San Francisco area), Tacoma, Wash. (Seattle), and Vancouver, B.C., plus one-offs in Nashville and San Antonio. The Oct. 8-9 Santa Clara shows at Levi’s Stadium were the biggest, earning $13.4 million from 78,000 tickets sold.
Since Billboard’s monthly charts premiered, John has been the artist with the most months at No. 1 on Top Tours. But just last month, Bad Bunny scored his fourth win, tying John’s longstanding record. With John’s October victory, the iconic artists resets the pace with a fifth month at No. 1.
Including November reports for the trek’s final North American shows, the Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour became the third tour in Boxscore history to gross more than $700 million, now circling the highest grossing tour of all time: Ed Sheeran’s The Divide Tour. Sheeran wrapped his 2017-19 tour with $776.4 million, but with John’s packed 2023 schedule in Australia and Europe, that gap will shrink quickly.
The Top Boxscores chart is led by another British act, as Harry Styles takes the top two positions on the concerts ranking. He played six shows apiece at Chicago’s United Center (Oct. 8-10, 13-15) and Inglewood’s Kia Forum (Oct. 23-24, 26, 28-29, 31), earning $20.4 million and $18.8 million, respectively. He has nine more shows at Kia Forum to report in November.
October marks Styles’ second consecutive month at No. 1 on Top Boxscores, as a portion of his Madison Square Garden shows led the September run. The first batch of MSG shows landed him at No. 3 in August.
Those 12 shows in Chicago and Inglewood, plus his final two dates at Austin’s Moody Center, gives him the runner-up spot on Top Tours, with a total gross of $45.4 million and 244,000 tickets sold. This is his third month overall at No. 2, following repeat appearances in October and November of 2021.
Daddy Yankee winds up at No. 3 on Top Tours with $42 million. But with a combination of stadiums and arenas in Latin America, he scores the month’s top-selling tour, playing to 515,000 fans. That’s 76% more than the next best-seller, John’s tour at 292,000.
Through the end of October, Daddy Yankee’s farewell trek, La Ultima Vuelta World Tour, has grossed $125.2 million. That’s enough to be the second-highest grossing Latin tour in Boxscore history, sandwiched between Bad Bunny’s World’s Hottest Tour and El Ultimo Tour Del Mundo.
Considering Karol G (No. 4) and Bad Bunny (No. 6), Latin acts make up half of the month’s top six touring acts. Its another achievement in a banner year for the genre, which has celebrated multiple $100 million artists for the first time.