If you got to the end of 2013 and thought to yourself “you know, I don’t think I have a sufficient grasp on the relative musical record-breaking achievements of the year” – don’t worry – Forbes has got you covered, having staged an investigation into the top ten most expensive tours of the year.
Obviously, for most artists these days, actual record sales are in a bit of a funk meaning it can be difficult to make substantial sums of money from them – so where do they make up for the short fall? Merchandise and concert tour sales. This thought led Forbes magazine to conduct a study to find out who did the best at the ticket booth this year – the results, however, are not as reflective of the year’s music as you may think, with artists like Paul McCartney, and The Rolling Stones taking center stage.
Here’s the list in full:
10. Paul McCartney ‘Out There!’ tour – Average secondary market ticket price: $241 – Highest priced ticket: $443
9. Pink ‘The Truth About Love’ tour – Average secondary market ticket price: $270 – Highest priced ticket: $829
8. Fleetwood Mac World Tour 2013 – Average secondary market ticket price: $282 – Highest priced ticket: $1281
7. Beyonce ‘Mrs Carter Show’ world tour – Average secondary market ticket price: $294 – Highest priced ticket: $764
6. The Who World Tour 2013 – Average secondary market ticket price: $314 – Highest priced ticket: $748
5. Justin Timberlake ’20/20 Experience’ tour – Average secondary market ticket price: $339 – Highest priced ticket: $512
4. The Eagles ‘History of the Eagles’ tour – Average secondary market ticket price: $354 – Highest priced ticket: $1187
3. Maroon 5, Neon Trees, Owl City ‘Overexposed’ tour – Average secondary market ticket price: $364 – Highest priced ticket: $577
2. One Direction ‘Take Me Home’ tour – Average secondary market ticket price: $460 – Highest priced ticket: $918
1. The Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary Tour – Average secondary market ticket price: $624 – Highest priced ticket: $1044
Food for thought, eh? Or, rather, food for thinking about how rich these 10 acts must be.
Bear in mind also, that this is probably the first and last time you will ever see One Direction and The Rolling Stones occupy the top spots in the same list ever again, which surely represents some serious history-making record breaking in and of itself?
Rolling Stones announced on Wednesday that they’re due to tour Australia and New Zealand next year, with five shows in Asia kicking off proceedings before they head down under.
At present, the ’14 On Fire’ tour is set to kick off on February 21st with a one-off show at Abu Dhabi’s du Arena, before moving to Tokyo for three dates (February 25th, March 4th, March 6th) at the Tokyo Dome. The Asia leg is due to wrap on March 9th at the Cotai Arena in Macau.
The collectively-older-than-time-itself group are then scheduled to travel to Australia on March 19th to play the Perth Arena, then the Adelaide Oval on March 22nd, Sydney’s Allphones Arena on March 25th, Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena on March 28th, the iconic Hanging Rock site at Macedon Ranges on March 30th and the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on April 2nd, before heading east for a single New Zealand date at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium on April 5th.
“Can’t wait to reconnect with all our friends in Australia and New Zealand,” said frontman Mick Jagger in a statement. “It’s been a while since we’ve played to you all, so we are looking forward to being back on stage and playing your favorite songs.”
The band’s setlist is due to feature well-known classics like “Gimme Shelter,” “Paint It Black,” “Jumping Jack Flash,” “Tumbling Dice,” and “It’s Only Rock and Roll,” as well as a few deeper cuts, and a cover or two thrown in for good measure.
Highly reliable internet word has it that the Adelaide Oval show is now sold-out.
Frontier Touring and AEG Live are co-organizing the Australia visit, the band’s first since 2006 on their ‘A Bigger Bang’ world tour. Frontier Touring managing director Michael Gudinski commented on The Rolling Stones’ return to Australasia, saying: “it’s been a life-long ambition of mine to bring the legendary Stones back.”
Exile on Main Street has undergone a shift in critical perception since its 1972 release. It was initially met with lukewarm criticism that labeled the Rolling Stones as victims to stylistic indulgence. Sticking that label on Exile on Main Street today is highly anachronistic. The album’s extended jams, murkily distorted atmospheres, and stylistically eclectic tendencies contributed to a widespread misconception. Listeners simply did not know what to think of the album’s sprawling approach. Critics were quick to label Exile a disappointment, noting that after a legendary decade-long run of classic albums the Stones reign had suddenly ceased. It wasn’t the case with Exile on Main Street. Future listens and analysis showed the album got better with age, and what was initially perceived as a non-cohesive jam record steadily became heralded as one of the best rock albums ever made.
By the time Exile on Main Street was released, the Rolling Stones had not gone a single year without releasing an album that is revered as a classic today. They released quality material at a shocking rate, never undergoing a drastic stylistic transition that would make fans scratch their heads. Still, each Rolling Stones album presents differing admiration for genres, whether it was heavy on variety like Exile on Main Street or more stylistically dutiful like Sticky Fingers, which specialized in slow-burning bluesy efforts. Albums emphasizing diversity had not run rampant in the Stones’ discography prior to Exile, though their more stylistically eclectic habits would reappear on later releases, enjoyably enough but never matching the rousing genius of Exile. It was an album that signaled a looser approach to the band’s output. Even if that looseness would never match their early classics, it convinced fans that the band could mix things up enough to stay relevant for decades. It was arguably the most ideal predictor that the Rolling Stones would still be performing together when they became senior citizens. A sound initially labeled as overly muddled and scattered would later be revered as timeless.
One reason for the album’s lukewarm early reaction was the pessimistic response from frontman Mick Jagger. He called it “lousy” with “no concerted effort of intention.” Many critics lazily agreed. “At the time, [producer] Jimmy Miller was not functioning properly,” Jagger said. “I had to finish the whole record myself, because otherwise there were just these drunks and junkies.” There are several reasons Jagger was not pleased. His vocals were pushed back considerably in the album’s mix, attributed to the its sprawling jam-friendly approach. His decreased vocal presence could have been one reason, though a decrease in his overall creative input was another possibility. Drummer Charlie Watts described the album’s recording process as reflective of Richards’ flexible habits, and not Jagger’s. “A lot of Exile was done how Keith works, which is play it 20 times, marinade, play it another 20 times. He knows what he likes, but he’s very loose.” Critics later called Exile largely reflective of Richards’ songwriting and style, a laid-back bohemian outlook where quality came naturally and without duress. Jagger may have been upset that Richards was assuming lead duties, a role that Jagger had grown accustomed to.
The groundbreaking aspect of Exile on Main Street is that it’s such an apt signifier of the Rolling Stones’ durable reputation. The release allowed the band to expand their stylistic palate, and welcome up-front contributions from members not named Mick Jagger. Some key songs define the album’s especially diverse approach. The call-and-response gospel vocal layering on “Tumbling Dice” is addictive and infectious; the “you got to roll me” line echoes in listeners’ heads for what seems like eternity. “Sweet Virginia” plays with an old-timey piano progression you’d expect to hear in a dusty saloon, as spurts of brass tremble over Jagger’s weary voice. It sounds like a New Orleans jazz club met the American Frontier. Classics like “Torn and Frayed”, “Shine a Light”, and “Let It Loose” remain Stones standards, but it’s impossible to pick a specific track on Exile that defines the album. The point is, you can’t concisely describe it. That’s one of the reasons why Exile is considered one of the best rock albums of all-time. Its unpredictability was initially too daunting for listeners, but that was before it proved itself as an album that sounded eternally fresh and creatively stimulating.
Now entering their incredible 51st year together, The Rolling Stones started out their iconic career back in 1962 as a virtual covers band. They performed renditions of classic R&B and rock n’ roll tracks by the likes of Chuck Berry (“Come On”), Howlin Wolf (“Little Red Rooster”) and Buddy Holly (“Not Fade Away”), not to mention the odd early Beatles number (“I Wanna Be Your Man”). But their own back catalog has also been the subject of much re-interpretation too, with artists as eclectic as Joan Baez, Inspiral Carpets and Samantha Fox tackling their biggest hits over the years. Here’s a look at six of the best cover versions of Rolling Stones standards to have emerged over the last 20 years.
The Sundays – “Wild Horses”
Possibly one of the greatest hits in their discography, “Wild Horses” only reached #28 in the US when released as the second single from 1971’s seminal Sticky Fingers but has since gone onto become both a live favorite and a hugely popular choice to cover for artists as diverse as Alicia Keys, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and of course, most recently, Susan Boyle, whose surprisingly understated rendition was miles apart from the usual karaoke fodder foisted upon the Cowell alumni. However, it’s the hugely under-rated outfit The Sundays who are responsible for the version which is arguably greater than the original. Recorded as a B-side to their 1992 single “Goodbye,” and also later appearing in 1996 Mark Wahlberg thriller, Fear, David Gavurin’s echo-laden jangly guitar adds a melancholic Britpop vibe to proceedings, but it’s Harriet Wheeler’s stunning vocal that elevates it to near-classic status.
Tori Amos – “Angie”
The subject of much speculation, the only US chart-topper from 1972’s Goats’ Head Soup has been rumored to be about David Bowie’s first wife, Keith Richards’ daughter and even heroin. Whatever its inspiration, it’s widely recognized as one of the Stones’ best ballads. However, recorded for her 1992 Crucify E.P. at the peak of her banshee success, Tori Amos’ predictably intense piano-led treatment of the song is an equally compelling alternative which proves she hasn’t always been the self-indulgent and pretentious figure she is today.
Natalie Merchant – “Sympathy For The Devil”
Appearing on 1968’s Beggars Banquet, “Sympathy For The Devil” did little to dispel rumors that the Stones were Satan-worshippers as Jagger relives the atrocities of mankind through the eyes of Lucifer himself. As one of the most ambitious numbers in their repertoire, many artists have struggled to replicate its devilish quality, most notably Guns N’ Roses, whose 1995 version was described by guitarist Slash as “the sound of the band breaking up.” Released a year later as a bonus track on her “Jealousy” single and later on the 1999 reissue of Tigerlily, former 10,000 Maniacs frontwoman Natalie Merchant’s country-blues take is easily the warmest, tasteful and most respectful.
Antony & The Johnsons – “As Tears Go By”
One of the first songs to emerge from one of the most successful song-writing partnerships in history, the Jagger/Richards-penned baroque pop number was first given to Marianne Faithfull, who scored a UK Top 10 hit with it in 1964, before the Stones recorded their own string-soaked version a year later for December’s Children (And Everybody’s). Possibly one of their most under-rated compositions, only a handful of artists (Nancy Sinatra, The Primitives) have touched it. But fresh from winning the Mercury Prize, one-off troubadour Antony Hegarty gave it a new lease of life with a typically haunting and achingly fragile live rendition (not yet available in studio form) that only further confirmed his reputation as one of today’s most powerful storytellers.
Musiq Soulchild – “Miss You”
Their last ever Billboard number one, the disco-tinged lead single from 1978’s Some Girls suggested that the Stones could pretty much turn their hands to anything. Etta James, Weird Al Yankovic and Black Eyed Peas have all had a stab at it since, but it’s neo-soul veteran Musiq Soulchild who can lay claim to producing by far the smoothest, slinkiest and most sensual cover thanks to his deliciously funky reworking on 2003’s Soulstar.
Pollstar has released the top grossing tours for the first half of 2013, and Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones have all been shoveling in the money so far this year.
The mid-year charts show that Bon Jovi has grossed $142.1 million in worldwide receipts this year. This comes from the group performing 60 shows in 58 cities with an average ticket price of $95.60. The group sold nearly 1.5 million tickets, and for those not doing the math, that works out to around $2.5 million per show.
Both Springsteen and the Rolling Stones sold less tickets and played less shows, but had higher ticket prices to put them in second and third place, respectively. Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band sold just shy of 1 million tickets for 31 shows in 21 cities. The average ticket price was $107.19, and the group grossed an average of just under $5 million per show.
But if the dollar amounts for Bon Jovi and Springsteen seem high, wait until you see what the Stones brought in. With an average ticket price of $346.09 (!), the group grossed an average just shy of $8 million per show (!!). With the 250,000 tickets they sold to 18 shows in 11 cities, the band has grossed a total of $87.7 million so far this year.
Though they were third worldwide, the Stones were the top grossing act in North America, with Taylor Swift coming in second on the continent. But the real story of the report was not just the top concert tours, but also the positive news for the concert industry as a whole.
Pollstar reports that ticket sales from the Top 50 tours around the world totaled $1.85 billion, a 23 percent increase from the same period in 2012. The number of ticket sold, however, did not jump quite that much, with the 21 million tickets sold this year representing a 10.5 percent rise from last year. The difference was made up by a 11.5 percent increase in the average ticket price, which was $88.03 this year.
The Rolling Stones have spent the last year or so pushing back their 50th anniversary tour and finally scheduling a trek shorter than was originally anticipated, and the band’s apparent reluctance to perform made it even more surprising when Keith Richards showed up as a special, unannounced guest at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival.
Richards showed up for the final set of the two-night festival at Madison Square Garden in New York over the weekend, and performed two songs with Clapton: “Key to the Highway” and “Sweet Little Rock N’ Roller.” Richards introduced the latter by saying, “Now we’re gonna rock it up.”
Billboard reports that the Rolling Stones’ guitarist received the longest ovation of the festival when he appeared on stage, which is saying something considering the guitar royalty present. This included B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Jeff Beck as well as younger artists like John Mayer, Gary Clark Jr. and Derek Trucks.
The Crossroads festival has been presented by Clapton every three years since 2004, and it appears he will wait the same amount of time before staging the next one. “See you in three years,” he said just before exiting the stage after the final performance of the night.
Robbie Robertson of the Band also showed up as a special guest during Clapton’s final set, and sang the classic “I Shall Be Released.” The Band is one of my favorite groups, and it’s a shame that none of the singers are around any more (Danko/Manuel/Helms). Still, that doesn’t mean that Robertson should go around singing the old songs. There’s a reason he didn’t do it in the first place, and he’s a fine enough guitar player to appear at the festival and keep his mouth shut.
Billboard also says one of the highlights came from Vince Gill, Keith Urban and Albert Lee. Urban is known these days for his massive number one Country hits, but is also known around Nashville as one of the best guitarists in country music. Gill has long been known as a great guitar player, as well.
Surprise: The Rolling Stones are going on tour.
Just kidding about the surprise part, everyone knew the Stones would tour. Everyone’s known since last year. But nobody from the band’s camp would tell us when.
But after putting up billboards all over the country earlier this week promoting the announcement of the tour, we now know the North American leg will feature nine shows in May and June.
The first show listed on the itinerary is at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, though the date for that gig is listed as TBA. Next up is an Oakland concert at the Oracle Arena on May 5, and the tour will then run through a June 18 show at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The other cities on the tour include San Jose, California; Las Vegas; Anaheim, California; Toronto; Chicago and Boston.
After that, the boys in the band will head back home to the U.K. for a previously announced appearance at the Glastonbury Festival June 29 and a newly announced performance in London’s Hyde Park on July 6.
An unnamed industry source told Rolling Stone that there are likely to be a few European dates added to the band’s schedule, but this won’t turn into a massive tour the Stones have been known for in the past.
“Are the Stones going to do anything after this? I doubt it,” said the source. “Look, anything’s possible. But it’s Mick and Keith’s show, so we don’t know.”
There have been conflicting reports about the health of Keith Richards, and the light touring schedule likely reflects what we don’t particularly like to think about when it comes to the Stones: They are a group of 70-year-olds, not the hard partying fellows from the 1960s and 70s. Except Richards, who I think at this point we can safely assume is a robot.
Rolling Stone also reports that the band is set to earn $4-5 million per show, and that top tickets will run between $500 and $650. So, you know, start saving.
The rumors were true: the Rolling Stones will play the 2013 Glastonbury Festival, marking the first time the group has appeared at the event. They will headline along with Arctic Monkeys and Mumford & Sons.
Mick Jagger tweeted about the news, writing “Can’t wait to play Glastonbury. I have my wellies and my yurt!”
But it was guitarist Ronnie Wood that claims to have been leading the campaign for the band to appear at the long-running festival.
“I’ve been using all my persuasive charm on the boys for a few weeks now, really pleased to be doing it, can’t wait to be getting out on that stage,” he said, according to the BBC. To complete the requisite statement onslaught, Keith Richards added that, “We had such a ball last year, and the energy between the band is so good, we can’t wait to play Glastonbury, see you on a summer’s day in England.”
Of course, the headliners aren’t the only notable artists that appear in the eclectic and extensive lineup. Other performers include Elvis Costello, Vampire Weekend, Billy Bragg, Rufus Wainwright, Portishead, Smashing Pumpkins, the xx, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Johnny Marr, Alt-J and more. Even Kenny Rogers is making the trip across the pond for the festival. What a gambler.
This year’s festival will take place June 26-30 at the Worthy Farm, it’s traditional location.
Organizers seemed surprised they were able to cajole the Stones into appearing, with Emily Eavis telling the BBC that it is “as big a coup as we ever thought would be possible.”
“It’s something we never thought we’d be able to pull off — a dream booking,” she said. “We’ve tried or talked about getting the Rolling Stones to play Glastonbury throughout my entire life — I can’t remember a year it hasn’t been wished upon.”
The Stones also are expected to embark on an 18-date North American tour before the Glastonbury appearance, though that tour hasn’t been officially confirmed. Regardless, this year’s shows will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the band.
After playing a handful of dates last year in the U.S. and London, it looks like the Rolling Stones will finally get around to a North American tour that will include 18 concerts. Two of those will be at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
Rolling Stone reports that a “concert business source” has confirmed the group will play 18 shows in North America, and that Australian promoter Paul Dainty and Virgin Music will promote the tour. No word yet on whether the dates will be officially part of the “50 and Counting” tour, which is how the dates last year were known.
“May 2nd is the launch day,” a different source told Rolling Stone. “I’ve heard West Coast cities – L.A. and Seattle. But I think they’re going to do some back East as well.”
Billboard also reports that the group will play less than 20 shows this year, and that an official announcement will be made later this month.
It might be assumed that if the Stones are going to tour North America they are likely to tour Europe or at least the U.K., as well – though no official word has been released. However, UK band Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno may have inadvertently shed some light on the matter when asked if his group’s performance at the Hard Rock Calling festival on June 29th will be the most talked about performance of that weekend.
“Yes,” he replied, “that would be a miracle because the Rolling Stones are playing Glastonbury. I can imagine there will be a lot of people there waiting to see them.”
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stones’ first album, and though many thought the band would tour extensively last year, the band said it would wait and celebrate the milestone this year.
Though the official lineup for the 2013 incarnation of the event has yet to be released, internet rumors that the two artists will appear at the festival have been flying around due to a couple of alleged information leaks.
Information about the Stones appearance came over the weekend from the official mobile app of the band. Rolling Stone published a screenshot of the “Tour” section of the app, that lists an April 12 date at Coachella 2013 in Indio, California. That date has since been removed.
But these certainly aren’t the first rumors of a Stones Coachella appearance. In fact, many thought the band would appear at this year’s event to kick off their 50th anniversary tour. Obviously, that did not happen. The Los Angeles Times notes that the few dates the band has played so far on their 50th anniversary mini-tour have stayed away from the West Coast, and that older British rockers including Paul McCartney and Roger Waters have been successful in the past at Coachella.
The Daft Punk rumors have been generated by an email blast from the concert website Song Kick. The email lists Daft Punk, Phoenix, The Rolling Stones and Yeah Yeah Yeahs as artist set to appear at Coachella.
However, the website later said the email was “unconfirmed information that was added in error.” They also wrote on Twitter, “Unfortunately, this is not confirmed – the lineup has been removed + locked down until the official announcement.”
Still, the Rolling Stones are already expected to play festival gigs next year, and Daft Punk, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Phoenix are expected to issue new albums for next spring, so the timing would seem to be right.
Coachella lineups are usually official released in January.