Alanis Morissette wrapped the U.S. leg of her 2021 World Tour: Celebrating 25 Years of Jagged Little Pill with the biggest numbers of her career. In 34 shows in (mostly) amphitheaters around the country, the run brought in $29.4 million and sold 493,000 tickets according to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore.
To sort the success of Morissette’s current tour, we look back at the summer of 1995 when the fresh-faced Canadian singer-songwriter released Jagged Little Pill. Despite some previous success in Canada with more bubblegum-minded material, Morissette was largely unknown and an unsure bet as a global figure. Still, Pill made her a phenomenon: it spawned six radio hits, won the Grammy Award for album of the year and went on to be named Billboard’s Top Pop Album of the ’90s.
Morissette promoted the album on the road in a series of three tours. First, the Jagged Little Pill tour in the summer of ’95, playing a mix of clubs, theaters and boutique amphitheaters as momentum grew behind the album and lead single “You Oughta Know.” The shows averaged $15,000 on a $5.57 ticket price. That winter, she embarked on the Intellectual Intercourse tour, playing a steady mix of large theaters and scaled-down arenas, now earning $86,000 per night.
In the summer of 1996, now several singles deep, Morissette mounted a full North American amphitheater run via the Can’t Not Tour, bringing in $16.7 million and selling over 700,000 tickets. On a per night basis, she earned four times as much, sold three times as many tickets and bumped the average ticket by 20% from her previous tour, with less than three months in between.
She finished ’96 as the No. 8 touring artist of the year, an especially impressive mark for the then-22-year-old artist amid a uniformly more established top 10, with acts like the Eagles, KISS and Bob Seger.
After several tours promoting Morissette’s subsequent albums, she celebrated Pill’s first decade with the Jagged Little Pill Acoustic Tour in 2005. Intentionally scaled down to more intimate venues for the stripped-down performances, the run grossed $4.2 million and sold 73,000 tickets from 28 reported shows.
And now, in 2021, she celebrates 26 years of the iconic album (the tour was originally slated for the summer of 2020 but was postponed due to COVID) with an anniversary featuring Garbage and Cat Power as support, promoted by Live Nation. The U.S. leg stretched from Aug. 12 to Oct. 6 in amphitheaters and a spotting of arenas throughout the country. Its near-$30 million gross is more than seven times that of the ’05 Acoustic Tour. The logic there is fairly obvious – a full-band tour in amphitheaters is bound to bring in more money than acoustic shows in performing arts centers.
But reading between the lines, the last 15 years have been kind to Jagged Little Pill. A Tony-winning Broadway musical of the same name launched in December 2019, featuring all 13 of its songs. Critically, the album was always regarded as a success, but has risen in stature – it was No. 327 on Rolling Stone’s Greatest Albums of All Time list in 2003, it wasn’t featured on the 2012 update, and was reinstated at No. 69 on the 2020 revision. And, Jagged Little Pill stands as the No. 3-biggest selling album in the U.S. since MRC Data began tracking sales in 1991, with 15.2 million sold.
Increasing goodwill and exposure for the album brought Morissette back to amphitheaters nationwide, selling an almost-identical 14,500 tickets each night to the original 1996 headline run (the Can’t Not Tour averaged 14,800 tickets). The anniversary tour amplified the original’s ticket price, as any 2021 concert would do to a comparative show from 25 years earlier – the Can’t Not Tour averaged a $22.99 ticket, while Jagged Little Pill 25 averaged $59.54, still more affordable than the typical three-figure arena ticket. And while the Can’t Not Tour earned $341,000 per show, JLP 25 grossed an average of $864,000 every night.
The bumped ticket price helped gross revenues increase in every single market where Morissette played in both ’96 and ’21. But in six markets, even the attendance was higher this summer than in ’96: Alpharetta, Ga., Charlotte, N.C., Noblesville, Ind., Las Vegas, Phoenix, Ariz. and Los Angeles.
Celebrating 25 Years of Jagged Little Pill will continue with a 16-date European leg (postponed), plus a string of shows in Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines in November 2022. Billboard estimates that the 23 arena shows could inflate the tour’s total gross toward, or beyond, the $50 million mark.