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Bruce Springsteen is boss of concert business

But Rolling Stones 1994 record still stands
/ Source: The Associated Press

Bruce Springsteen was the boss of the concert business in 2003, raking in $115.9 million to rank second only to the Rolling Stones for the most money ever earned by a concert act in a year.

Springsteen and his E Street Band earned the money on 47 concerts, concluding their tour with a staggering 13 stadium shows in the New York area, the concert industry trade publication Pollstar reported Tuesday.

The Stones’ $121.2 million earned in 1994 still stands as the record, Pollstar said. The Stones brought in $38.5 million this year, to rank 14th.

Springsteen’s reported earnings don’t count the concert dates he played outside of North America, or in 2002, when “The Rising” tour began.

Pollstar hasn’t finished its calculations yet, but Editor Gary Bongiovanni predicted 2003 will be the fourth record-setting year in a row with around $2.4 billion in concert business.

It’s largely because fans have accepted higher ticket prices for big-name acts, particularly veterans, he said.

“Back in 1994 when the Eagles charged $100 a ticket, there was practically rebellion in the streets,” Bongiovanni said.

Four acts in Pollstar’s top 10 earners for the year — Celine Dion, the Eagles, Simon & Garfunkel and the Billy Joel-Elton John double bill — charged more than $100 per ticket, on average.Simon & Garfunkel’s first reunion tour in more than a decade averaged the most — $136.90 per seat.

The cheapest average ticket price in Pollstar’s top 20 was Kenny Chesney’s $35.76.

It was a good year for country, which had five of Pollstar’s top 20 tours. The Dixie Chicks, despite being dogged by controversy over a remark made about President Bush, had the most lucrative country tour of all time.

Celine Dion finished second to Springsteen, earning $80.5 million for a one-city, 145-date “tour”: her residency at a Las Vegas casino.

“If you’re wondering why Elton John is considering camping there for a while — that’s why,” Bongiovanni said. “You can make a lot of money and you don’t have to travel.”