John Meglen On Stones $119M ‘No Filter’ Tour: ‘Continues Finding the Sweet Spot’

The Rolling Stones’ No Filter European tour has been submitted in full to Pollstar, and reported 755,345 tickets sold over 14 stadium shows. Concerts West co-CEO John Meglen told Pollstar that Stones tours are very smooth operations.  

The Rolling Stones
AP Photo / Michel Euler
– The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones weave a spell over the crowd at U Arena in Nanterre, France, Oct. 22.

“The leadership that you have from Joyce Smyth, their manager, it starts there and just works its way down the organization, to when we go to work it’s actually a pretty stress-free environment, as crazy as it sounds,” Meglen told Pollstar.

The Stones played 14 European shows from Sept. 9 to Oct. 25, kicking off at the Freilictbuhne Stadtpark in Hamburg, Germany, which sold 81,193 tickets and grossed $11.95 million. Other shows included Olympiastadion in Munich (72,639, $11.79 million), Red Bull Ring in Austria (95,004, $11.2 million), and Amsterdam Arena in the Netherlands Sept. 30, which sold 54,791 tickets and grossed $8.76 million.

The average tickets sold for the tour was 62,945, with an average gross of $9.99 million per event. The total U.S. gross for the tour is $119,957,677.

Meglen said the Stones team, starting with the Mick, Keith, Ronnie and Charlie, is a well-oiled machine and despite the sheer size and numbers, everything runs smoothly.

“If you look through, you see this quality. You can’t just send anybody out there. You have to put the right people with the right artist,” said Meglen, who said he was going to enjoy some golf after finishing up four months of touring with the Stones, Roger Waters and Celine Dion – which ended just days apart.

The Concerts West / AEG Presents tour included co-promotes with local promoters including FKP Scorpio (Germany), Nova Music Entertainment (Austria), abc Production AG (Switzerland), D’Alessandro & Galli (Italy,) Doctor Music (Spain), EMA Telstar (Sweden), Inter Concerts (France) and Live Nation (Netherlands).

Meglen said he was pleased with how Stones ticketing went, striking a balance between making it affordable and not leaving money on the table.

“We continue to find the sweet spot,” Meglen said. “It’s not about how much can we charge, it’s about how can we find what these seats are worth.” Meglen added that he and his team get direct feedback from fans on the road and that pricing requires a personalized touch, “Otherwise, you’re just treating artists like widgets, and you can’t do that,” he said.  

“If a ticket is worth more than what we’re selling it for, somebody is going to figure that out and make some money there. Like I said, I just want it on our side of the fence. Believe me, I know we’re not getting all of it, but we’re getting a hell of a lot more than we were 10 or 15 years ago.”

The average ticket price for the whole tour in U.S. dollars was $158.  

Rolling Stones No Filter
– Rolling Stones No Filter

Average ticket prices from some of last year’s top tours of 2016 include Beyoncé ($114), Guns N’ Roses ($111), Madonna ($216), Adele ($109) and Paul McCartney ($127), according to Pollstar. The average Stones ticket in 2016 cost $122. 

 “If you go and look at the average ticket prices based on the capacities, you go, ‘Huh, the average ticket price is pretty reasonable.’ There’s a blend here, you just have to find that space.” Meglen added that it keeps him and Concerts West co-CEO Paul Gongaware on their toes.

The ticket price also factors in the major production (See: Stones Production: 18 Hours To Pull It Down) and star power that only the Stones can match.

It’s also significantly less than their average for the band’s 2013 North American tour, which according to Pollstar was $287. 

“We very much want to keep where and when they play special,” Meglen said. “It should be unique, we want to create besides an amazing show you’re talking about creating an amazing memory for people, so we want that to be really, really cool.”