Kevin Mazur / Getty Images / Live Nation – HAPPIER THAN EVER
Billie Eilish performs at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Feb. 19, 2022.
The state of concert touring in any given year in North America traditionally begins to take form and gain strength as more and more artists hit the road early with the onset of spring looming on the horizon. This year the tradition has returned in full force with the bustling slate of touring artists already headlining concerts during the first two months of 2022.
Pollstar’s four weekly charts – Artist Power Index, LIVE75, Global Live Boxoffice and Global Concert Pulse – together portray quite an array of top-tier artists already well underway with their touring plans for the year. Some have launched new tours, and some are now on a second leg after kicking off their first dates since the shutdown during last year’s live entertainment rebound that saw artists back on stage in venues ranging from clubs to stadiums.
Concert tours already on the road feature artists from all genres and demographics, yet many highlight younger contemporary musicians who have solidified headliner status within the past decade. Bad Bunny, Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Kacey Musgraves, Kane Brown, Eric Church and Tyler, the Creator have all forged a presence on the Pollstar charts during the past two months with box-office figures reported from their tours.
Likewise, touring legends and industry icons with decades of experience in their back pockets are also part of the mix. Longtime touring veterans Elton John, George Strait,
Tool, Reba McEntire and Billy Joel also figure substantially on the charts in recent weeks. All five are either out with a tour or appearing in residency or a combination of both.
Of all the artists mentioned, Bad Bunny is on track to rank as one of the most impactful touring artists this year based on box-office results during the first two months of 2022. As of press time, ticket counts and gross tallies have been reported for 13 shows at 10 venues on his “El Último Tour del Mundo” jaunt that launched on Feb. 9. In just one month, his tour has been seen by almost 200,000 fans, while combined grosses from all shows land just over $39 million.
His highest-grossing venue on the trek so far is The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., that recorded a gross of $9.3 million from 32,568 sold tickets. The Los Angeles-area event spanned two consecutive nights beginning on Feb. 25. Currently it is the top-grossing concert engagement by any artist of any genre since the beginning of January, according to reported box-office records.
Billie Eilish was primed to potentially take her live career to the next level with her “Where Do We Go?” world tour, planned for 2020 then interrupted by COVID-19 after only three concerts. So, anticipation was high for this year’s “Happier Than Ever” world tour that began on Feb. 3 in New Orleans and is booked in arenas worldwide.
Timothy Norris / Getty Images – THE ENERGIZER:
Bad Bunny plays Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Feb. 24, 2022, in Los Angeles.
Although she had played some arenas on 2019’s “When We All Fall Asleep” tour, prior to that she had appeared primarily in smaller venues for her live shows. Thus, the 2020 tour – coming in the wake of her triumph at the 62nd Grammy Awards where she won in all four general field categories – was on course to skyrocket and transform her standing as a touring artist.
Now, with the pandemic interruption behind her, the new tour is defining her next phase as a concert headliner. With six recent dates reported from “Happier Than Ever,” her best box-office numbers were recorded at Washington’s Capital One Arena on Feb. 9 with a crowd of 13,073 and a $1.67 million gross. Sold ticket averages from her reported 2022 events show 12,408 sold seats per concert, while her gross average is $1.48 million – a sharp contrast to the $493k average on the 2019 tour.
Another popular artist currently touring is Dua Lipa who is out with her “Future Nostalgia” trek that began with a sold-out debut performance at Miami’s FTX Arena on Feb. 9. The opening night crowd numbered 14,557 with a gross of $1.56 million. She, like Eilish, also had an ill-fated 2020 tour in the works that ultimately had to be rescheduled three times. The original itinerary featured only European dates, but since the initial tour announcement in 2019, tour legs were added in North and South America as well as Australia and New Zealand.
Along with her first performance in Miami, subsequent arena dates have been reported for concerts in Orlando, Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte, Boston and Newark, N.J. The English singer’s total ticket count is 92,355 so far, while the tour’s combined seven-show gross totals $8.78 million.
For Kacey Musgraves, Jan. 19 was the launch date for her first set of 2022 tour dates beginning with a performance at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Her “Star-Crossed: Unveiled” tour was set in 15 North American cities, although a January Toronto show was first postponed then ultimately canceled. Six of her concerts have been reported at this point, including a sold-out evening at New York’s Madison Square Garden with the top box-office results on the tour. The Feb. 5 concert drew 14,370 fans with a gross reaching just over $1.7 million.
Kane Brown has appeared on the weekly charts based on January performances during the homestretch of his “Blessed & Free” tour’s opening leg that began in October. It was originally booked until early February, but an extended jaunt was added stretching into the summer months. The first leg of his tour was set in 35 arenas stateside and included shows in every venue that houses an NBA franchise. Based on reports from 19 shows, his per-show averages feature a ticket count of 9,222 with a $627,000 gross.
Eric Church’s “Gather Again” trek now playing arenas is also a continuation of a fall tour that launched last year on Sept. 17 in Kentucky. The tour, produced by AEG’s Messina Touring Group, currently has an overall gross topping $57.4 million from 36 reported concerts with attendance totaling 505,082. His only two-show engagement was at The Anthem in Washington, Dec. 10-11, with tickets totaling 12,229 for both nights. As it stands now, his top grosser is a Kansas City performance at T-Mobile Center on Feb. 18 with $2.22 million in sales. His highest number of sold tickets, however, is 19,088 from a sold-out event on Dec. 18 at Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina.
Tyler, the Creator hit the road in February in support of his sixth studio album, Call Me if You Get Lost, released last summer. He began the tour in the western U.S., starting with a show in Phoenix at the Footprint Center on the 8th followed by San Diego and Las Vegas dates. With Kali Uchis, Vince Staples and Teezo Touchdown as openers, the tour – booked into April in North American arenas – has averaged 7,811 sold seats and just over half-a-million dollars in grosses per show.
Billy Joel is the only artist among all those listed with a stadium event already in the books for 2022, as he played a sold-out concert on Feb. 26 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas with an audience of 35,704. He also played Madison Square Garden in February with his monthly residency that began in 2014 and resumed, post pandemic, last November.
Reba McEntire’s tour features a slate of female opening acts on all the 2022 dates through mid-March. The trek came on the heels of her residency with Brooks & Dunn that returned in December for a final nine-show run at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, grossing $7.1 million. Strait’s appearance in the box-office tallies came from the most recent two-show stint of his “Strait to Vegas” residency at T-Mobile Arena on Feb. 11-12.
Sir Elton’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour returned on Jan. 19 with tour dates scheduled in 10 U.S. cities during the first two months of 2022, while Tool’s tour kicked off after a two-year pandemic postponement with 37 American arena dates on tap through the end of March.