Concert Pulse: Kenny Chesney Manager Talks Touring; James Taylor Debuts; PJ Masks Live! Returns

Kenny Chesney
Jill Trunnell
– Kenny Chesney
Kenny Chesney plays to a sea of fans at Miller Park in Milwaukee April 28.

The top 5 tours on Pollstar’s Global Concert Pulse chart remains unchanged this week, with Phil Collins, Justin Timberlake, Kenny Chesney, Pink and Metallica all averaging more than $2.5 million grossed per market.

Meanwhile, new chart entries this week include James Taylor at No. 20 ($742,171), The Australian Pink Floyd Show at No. 45 ($147,229), Christian co-bill Skillet/For King & Country at No. 53 ($120,545), Matt And Kim at No. 80 after just announcing a new tour ($43,229), rapper Joey Bada$$ at No. 89 ($36,994), and

Click here for the full weekly Global Concert Pulse chart, which ranks tours by average gross per market over the last three months.

Country superstar Kenny Chesney is officially on a roll, kicking off his “Trip Around The Sun” tour in April with sold-out stadiums and amphitheatres continuing into late August. He’s already grossed just under $52.3 million, according to Pollstar’s Boxoffice data.

The most recent report submitted from the trek is also the largest so far, with Chesney selling out 55,238 tickets for his June 9 show at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, which grossed $6.38 million.

Other recent reports include Lakeview Amphitheatre in Syracuse, N.Y., June 7 (16,052, $811,091), Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, (18,053, $868,159), and another mammoth stadium show, June 2 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, which sold 48,856 tickets and grossed $4.6 million. Average ticket price is $87.18.

Kenny Chesney
Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP
– Kenny Chesney
Kenny Chesney plays “Get Along” for the crowd at the 53rd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas April 15.

While it might seem Chesney performs nearly year-round for his “No Shoes Nation” legion of fans across the continent, manager/agent Clint Higham tells Pollstar Chesney knows how to keep them wanting more.

“He knows the right times in which to pivot – whether it be to shift the music a bit or ease off for a year of touring,” Higham said. “He always said to me that too much chocolate cake can make anyone sick, so he has great instincts as an artist and businessman.”

Support for this tour has primarily been Old Dominion, with Thomas Rhett on some dates.

That business acumen has paid off, and it’s no small feat to tour only the U.S. as often as he does and put up these kind of year-end totals just in recent years (Worldwide Top 100 Tours charts):

2016 No. 16, $70 million, 30 Shows

2015 No. 8, $116.4 million, 57 shows

2013 No. 15 $90.9 million, 44 shows

“It’s amazing after all this time that Kenny’s music and brand has stayed as relevant as it has, and that’s a testimonial of how not only loyal Kenny’s audience is to him but how loyal he is to them,” Higham added.

The Dale Morris & Associates president also credited promoter Louis Messina for his part in developing Chesney’s touring.

James Taylor
Charles Reagan Hackleman / Charles Reagan Studios
– James Taylor
James Taylor plays the Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas benefit concert at Frank Erwin Center in Austin Sept. 22.

“We teamed with Louis Messina going back to late ’90s when we worked with him as an opener for George Strait stadium shows for two years,” Higham said. “He believed in us and watched how committed we were to building it the right way and not take the instant money and crash and burn.

“Kenny has stayed true to his brand and has always loved playing the amphitheaters, so for a few years before going into stadiums to test the waters we had a great road map of where to stay into the amphitheaters versus stadiums,” Higham said.  “And some markets we have flipped back and forth based on many factors, but overall Kenny’s fanbase knows how and where they want to see him.”

Messina is head of the Messina Touring Group, an AEG Presents partner that also promotes blockbuster touring artists like Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and, of course George Strait who just helped Austin’s Frank Erwin Center celebrate 40 years in business with “Strait Texas” June 3, which sold out 16,631 tickets and grossed $2.76 million. He’s played the venue more than anyone else.

James Taylor’s touring business is as strong as ever, as he’s averaging $742,171 grossed per market with 8,261 tickets sold, at an average of just under $90 per ticket. Recent sellouts include KeyArena in Seattle (10,878 tickets, $991,895), Moda Center in Portland (10,528, $947,849) and Talking Stick Resort in Phoenix which grossed $893,691.

Taylor continues North American dates through July 4 then has dates with Bonnie Raitt in the U.K. and mainland Europe. Last year with Raiit, Taylor played baseball stadiums, with around 30,000 tickets sold each for shows at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., and Fenway Park in Boston.

PJ Masks Live!
– PJ Masks Live!

And, perhaps proving that kid’s shows are able to permeate just about any market, PJ Masks Live has just wrapped up a second leg of mostly tertiary markets, with preschoolers lining up outside theatres in locales such as Fargo, N.D. (3,898 tickets, two shows), Joliet, Ill. (1,836), Davenport, Iowa (1,759), and multiple markets in upstate New York, with 3,065 tickets sold over two shows at the Kodak Hall At Eastman Theatre in Rochester grossing $135,885 and Albany’s Palace Theatre moving 3,295 tickets over two shows April 28, grossing $154,638.

See: Hotstar: PJ Masks Live! It’s Time To Be A (Ticket Selling) Hero!

Next up for Owlette, Catboy and Gekko is Australia, in September.