Tag: Live! Landmarks

Y2K’s Millennium-Size Draws, Venues and Ticket Prices

BIG PHISH: Phish had the biggest single-show crowd among Y2K concerts, drawing 75,000 to its Big Cypress show in Florida. (Getty Images) People are often able to tell you where they were and what they were doing when one of life’s major historical events occurred. For those who remember the arrival of 2000 and the commemoration of the new millennium, the Y2K phenomenon was such a moment. All over the world, people welcomed the 21st century in a myriad of ways. Some attended private parties with friends or headed outdoors for fireworks. Many rang in the new year out on the town at clubs, and some paid top dollar for a once-in-a-lifetime concert experience. The box-office archives contain 147 concerts that occurred during the final week leading up to New Year’s Eve 1999 with audiences of all sizes — from 60 tickets sold to 75,000. Grosses compiled during that week […]

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Radio City’s ‘Spectacular’ Holiday History — and What Might Have Been in 2020

The “Radio City Christmas Spectacular” won’t be performed in 2020, the year it might have topped $100 million in ticket sales for the first time.

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Farm Aid Puts American Farmers Front and Center

FROM A SEED: John Mellencamp performs at the first Farm Aid in 1985 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill. (Getty Images) LIVE! LANDMARKS Among fall’s many live entertainment traditions, Farm Aid has been one of the most prominent for the past 35 years. The multi-artist concert was organized in 1985 by Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp as a benefit for America’s farmers and, in most years, has occurred in either September or October in U.S. markets stretching from Washington state to Washington, D.C. The first concert, on Sept. 22, 1985, in Champaign, Ill., was staged to raise awareness of the importance of family farms in the American culture as well as raise money — about $7 million that year — to help farmers remain in business during tough economic times. Along with the organizers, the first show featured more than 50 entertainers, generally musicians from country, folk and […]

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Lilith Fair Reset the Bar for Tours

MORE THAN FAIR: Sarah McLachlan (left) performs with the band Luscious Jackson during a Lilith Fair show in 1999. (Getty Images) Among the trails blazed by women in entertainment throughout the years, the late-90s all-female touring festival Lilith Fair stands out as a shining moment in live performance. It was the first time that only women or bands fronted by them made up a tour, in an era when conventional wisdom said putting more than one woman on the bill would kill ticket sales. Frustrated by the lack of opportunities for women on package tours and concert lineups, Canadian pop star Sarah McLachlan conceived the idea of a new touring endeavor featuring artists from various genres, multigenerational and fully female, crisscrossing North America with hopes of enough fan support to keep the bills paid. And, as it turned out, the fans came through. The payoffs were substantial, to say the […]

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Artists Set Bar High With Multiple-Show Runs

PURPLE REIGN: Prince announces his 21-show engagement at London’s 02 Arena in 2007. (Getty Images) Of the landmark moments in live performing recorded in the box-office archives, one of the most exclusive categories is the handful of concert performers who have played 20 shows or more at one venue for a single concert engagement. We will profile six of those acts who made history with runs of 20 shows and beyond. Among the notable artists in this group, Prince stands out as the only one who topped the 20-show mark at an arena: his record-setting series of 21 performances staged at The O2 in London in 2007 just weeks after the arena opened. Prince kicked off his engagement, promoted as “The Earth Tour: 21 Nights in London,” on Aug. 1 and continued performing intermittently during the next seven weeks, wrapping the run on Sept. 21. With 351,527 tickets sold, overall […]

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Take That’s 2011 Reunion One for the Books

HIGH FIVE: Take That performs in Italy in February 2011, a few months before playing the U.K. (Getty Images) In a salute to the milestones and highlights of concert touring from past eras, we have to look back only nine years to find one of the live industry’s greatest box-office achievements: the highest-grossing concert engagement ever by a single headliner. English pop group Take That still holds that record with its massive $62.8 million box-office haul (valued at $70 million today) from eight sold-out performances at London’s Wembley Stadium in the summer of 2011 on the band’s “Progress Live” tour. The group actually has the record for the top two concert grosses, also scoring the second-highest gross for an individual headliner during the same 2011 tour. The City of Manchester (England) Stadium hosted the band for an eight-show run of its own, logging box-office sales of $45 million. The grosses […]

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