Van Halen By The Numbers – Four Decades of Boxoffice Success

Van Halen
(Photo by Gus Stewart/Getty Images)

The-late Eddie Van Halen (Right) and David Lee Roth performing with Van Halen in 1978. According to Pollstar Boxoffice reports, since the early 1980s Van Halen grossed over $324.3 million from 8.6 million sold tickets worldwide.
As the world remembers Eddie Van Halen who died today, we highlight some of the major boxoffice milestones and success stories during the four-decade career of Van Halen, formed by Eddie and his brother Alex Van Halen in 1974 along with original members David Lee Roth and Michael Anthony. With gross and ticket sales data stretching back to 1981 in Pollstar’s archives, the band has 652 concerts recorded in the database. Grosses since the early 1980s total over $324.3 million from 8.6 million sold tickets at headlining performances worldwide.
One of the most successful events in the 1980s era was Van Halen’s “Monsters of Rock” headlining tour in 1988 with Scorpions, Metallica, Dokken and Kingdom Come onboard for a 10-week trek set in American stadiums. From 27 shows, the tour racked up a gross of $26.7 million, valued at about $60 million today. More than one million fans saw the bands during that summer trek. The largest crowd for a single performance was 80,144 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on July 24, 1988. The sold-out concert grossed $1.9 million, or $4.3 million in 2020 dollars. Although it was primarily a stadium tour, the first venue on the schedule was an amphitheater, Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wis. The tour launched with a three-night engagement (May 27-29, 1988) at the Wisconsin venue with attendance logged at 96,768.

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Among arena shows in the 80s, the best-attended date was a four-night engagement at the now-inactive Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, N.J., known as Brendan Byrne Arena on July 28, 1986 when Van Halen kicked off a four-show run. Attendance totaled 78,172 for the engagement that was part of the “5150” tour, the first that included Sammy Hagar as lead vocalist.

During the 1990s, the top attendance in the archives is a two-show stand at Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa, Calif. on Sept. 10-11, 1991. With sellout crowds for both concerts, the band moved 40,600 tickets at the venue during the tour supporting the Grammy Award-winning “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” album, released earlier that year. Alice in Chains was the support act on the tour.

In the past two decades the top-grossing performance was a two-show run at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Feb. 28 and March 1, 2012 with $3.46 million in sales from 29,170 tickets. The shows came during the opening weeks of the “A Different Kind of Truth” tour and featured Kool & the Gang as show opener.

Since 2000, the largest attendance count was recorded on the final Van Halen concert included in the archives, a two-show run at the Hollywood Bowl during the band’s “2015 North American” tour. The famed Los Angeles venue hosted 30,632 fans for performances on Oct. 2 and 4 grossing $2.96 million.