Author Topic: U2 or Rolling Stones as most successful live act of all time  (Read 380 times)

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Offline codeguy

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I know U2 and Rolling Stones are #1 and #2 of all time. I know this is a somewhat trivial exercise, but it's clear that while U2 will, before their careers end, overtake the Rolling Stones as the #1 live act of all time based on attendance (they overtook them on money recently but that's not really a fair comparison because of inflation adjustments etc), I am about 90% certain that they will overtake them by the time the JT17 tour ends, if they have not already.

I can find mostly reliable statistics for U2 tours, and I get the following:

Pre-War: 500,000 (estimate - includes a few festivals)
WAR: 800,000 (estimate 110 shows, 7,500 each)
WAR-Ear Festivals: 800,000 (pretty solid number - each festival has attendance recorded)
UF Tour: 1,200,000 (solid - actual numbers available for most dates, using 12,000 per show as estimate for rest)
UF-Era festivals, including Live-Aid, Self Aid: 1,000,000 - fairly reliable - most dates have actual attendance recorded
Conspiracy of hope: 350,000
Joshua Tree: 3,000,000 (conservative number)
Lovetown: 800,000
Zoo TV: 5,300,000
Popmart: 3,900,000
Elevation: 1,600,000
Vertigo: 4,600,000
360: 7,200,000
I&E: 1,300,000
JT17: 2,700,000 - assuming no Aus/NZ leg, and guesstimating about 55k/show
Guesstimate another 2,000,000 for special concerts (like Superbowl, Live8 (over 200,000 in hyde park), Glastonbury x 2, Bonaroo, etc)

I have reliable numbers for the Rolling stones to about 28M since 1982, but basically anything before 1982 is not recorded or is unreliable, so no idea how many they played to. Based on guesstimates from theater sizes and allowing for festivals, plus including their massive 1.5 million attendance at their free rio concert, I'm getting to somewhere between 34-38M. But it's a wide range. At the upper end of the range, U2 will not overtake them until the I&E tour resumes, but at the lower end of the range U2 has already surpassed them.

I know some people thing the Boss might be close to the top, and he is, but definitely not over either of the others. He doesn't play festivals, so his numbers are almost entirely his own, and I have numbers from all his tours going all the way back to Born to Run, and it comes to about 32M, a respectable third. Bon Jovi is probably 4th with their total of around 28M.

Thoughts? Does it even matter to anyone or is it statistical noise?


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Re: U2 or Rolling Stones as most successful live act of all time
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2017, 01:16:12 PM »
doesnt matter at all.

i mean its like Grammys, it's cool if they win but it's nothing that matters in the long run.

Offline an tha

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Re: U2 or Rolling Stones as most successful live act of all time
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2017, 01:18:03 PM »
Bethere is that you?