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U2's Rose Bowl Show Breaks Attendance Record

Billboard, October 30, 2009
By: Bob Allen


It took 22 years but U2 has broken its own attendance record for the best-attended single concert performance at a U.S. venue by one headliner.

The band's 360 Tour played the Pasadena, Calif. Rose Bowl on Oct. 25 to a sellout crowd of 97,014 -- the highest attendance on record for one U.S. show by a single headliner based on box office totals reported to Billboard.

The old record was set on Sept. 25, 1987 at the now-demolished John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia with a crowd of 86,145 in attendance for the band's Joshua Tree Tour. This year's Rose Bowl performance grossed more than $9.9 million, considerably more than the 1987 Philly show which brought in a mere $1.5 million in ticket sales.

Among the top five single-concert attendances on record in the U.S., the top three are all U2 performances. The third-highest attendance is also from the band's current tour at its Sept. 29 sellout at the FedExField in Landover, Md with 84,754. Pink Floyd's May 29, 1994 show at the Ohio State University football stadium is in fourth place with 75,250. The Backstreet Boys round out the top five with a sold-out show at the Georgia Dome on Feb. 19, 2000. 73,337 fans filled the Atlanta stadium to see the pop group's Into the Millennium Tour.

U2's Rose Bowl show excelled in gross ticket sales as well as attendance. With $9.96 million grossed, it is the second highest-grossing single U.S. concert by a solo headliner. The concert is second only to the Three Tenors' July 20, 1996 sold-out show at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The Rolling Stones make up the rest of this top five list with a Giants Stadium concert of its own on Sept. 15, 2005, a sold-out benefit concert at Radio City Music Hall on March 14, 2006 and an outdoor show at Chicago's Soldier Field on Sept. 10, 2005.

Top Attendance at a U.S. concert by a single headliner:

1. U2 - Rose Bowl; Pasadena, Calif. (Oct. 25, 2009)
Attendance: 97,014
Gross: $9,960,036

2. U2 - John F. Kennedy Stadium, Philadelphia (Sept. 25, 1987)
Attendance: 86,145
Gross: $1,593,683

3. U2 - FedExField; Landover, Md. (Sept. 29, 2009)
Attendance: 84,754
Gross: $6,718,315

4. Pink Floyd - Ohio State University Stadium; Columbus, Ohio (May 29, 1994)
Attendance: 75,250
Gross: $2,406,920

5. Backstreet Boys - Georgia Dome, Atlanta (Feb. 19, 2000)
Attendance: 73,337
Gross: $2,787,098

Top Gross at a U.S. concert by a single headliner:

1. The Three Tenors - Giants Stadium; East Rutherford, N.J. (July 20, 1996)
Gross: $13,404,350
Attendance: 58,491

2. U2 - Rose Bowl; Pasadena, Calif. (Oct. 25, 2009)
Gross: $9,960,036
Attendance: 97,014

3. The Rolling Stones - Giants Stadium; East Rutherford, N.J. (Sept. 15,
Gross: $8,692,788
Attendance: 59,184

4. The Rolling Stones - Radio City Music Hall, New York (March 14, 2006)
Gross: $8,625,590
Attendance: 5,800

5. The Rolling Stones - Soldier Field, Chicago (Sept. 10, 2005)
Gross: $7,231,427
Attendance: 55,046

© Billboard, 2009.

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