Boxoffice Insider: Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe’s Historic Joint Tours

Mötley Crüe is pictured performing at the Civic Auditorium in San Jose, Calif., on April 26, 1982. The band is gearing up to hit the road in June on “The Stadium Tour” co-bill with Def Leppard, joined by special guests Poison and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. Photo by Larry Hulst / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe’s “The Stadium Tour,” set to finally launch on June 16 after postponements in both 2020 and 2021, is primed to impact the North American summer touring season with 36 shows planned in 35 cities. With stadium-sized box-office results, it stands to rank highly among the tours booked at concert venues in outdoor environments this year.

It comes almost 11 years after the bands first toured together in 2011 on a brief arena trek booked in six U.K. cities. Their joint tours – this year’s trek which also features Poison and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and the earlier 2011 arena tour that averaged over 8,500 sold seats and a $600k gross per show – are among the successful pairings of rock & roll headliners chronicled in Pollstar over the last 40 years.

Both Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe have hit the road with other bands in previous years as a joint draw. One of the more recent examples was a Def Leppard trek from May through October 2018 when the band teamed up with Journey for a 60-show run. The co-headlining tour grossed more than $97.8 million with attendance stretching just over 1 million during the run. It played amphitheaters, stadiums and arenas at 58 cities in the U.S. and Canada that year with support on select dates by Cheap Trick, The Pretenders, Foreigner and Peter Frampton.

San Francisco’s Oracle Park (then named AT&T Park) claimed the top gross on the Def Leppard/Journey tour with a $3.9 million total from 35,617 sold seats at a Sept. 21, 2018 sellout. Denver-area fans came out strong, however, and produced the highest single-show attendance with 44,928 tickets sold at Coors Field for a sellout on July 21. The tour ended the year ranked as the 12th highest-grossing tour worldwide in 2018.

Def Leppard and Journey toured together for the first time in 2006 from June through November in U.S. venues – amphitheaters in the summer and arenas in the fall. The total show count on that tour was 72 with sold tickets numbering 834,516 for a gross of $37.9 million (valued at about $54 million in 2022 dollars).

Mötley Crüe has two co-headlining tours stored in the archives – one in 1999 and, most recently, a 2006 co-bill with Aerosmith dubbed the “Route of All Evil” tour. It was set primarily in outdoor amphitheaters in North America beginning in early September but also included arena dates as the tour stretched into December. With 39 shows reported to Pollstar, the tour had a gross sum of $38.5 million (about $55 million now) and 546,406 tickets sold.

Top individual venue totals belong to Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater (in 2006 Nikon had the naming rights) in Wantagh, N.Y., and Glen Helen Amphitheater (then Hyundai Pavilion) in San Bernardino, Calif. The New York shed topped all the other venues in grosses which totaled $1.7 million over two nights, while the California amphitheater moved 24,646 tickets, the most of the tour.

Mötley Crüe was joined by Scorpions on their 1999 co-headlining tour that ran from late-June through early-September in the U.S. and Canada, also booked primarily in amphitheaters. Reports from 45 performances show 306,486 tickets sold and a gross topping $7.4 million overall which is valued now at about $13 million. As was common in that era, the top ticket price typically fell in the $30 to $40 range and stretched as low as $15 in several markets.

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