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Top Tours, 2000-2020

PLSN Staff • News • January 12, 2021

Ed Sheeran’s Divide tour performance show at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA, Aug. 18, 2018. Photo courtesy Meyer Sound

With the fire hose of anticipated concert tour action for 2020 reduced to a trickle of live events staged after the Covid-19 shutdowns started hitting the U.S. in March, PLSN and FRONT of HOUSE won’t be presenting our annual Showtime feature reviewing the biggest tours of the previous year in this year’s January issues. Instead, as with this issue’s retrospective of what would have been the 20th annual Parnelli Awards (now postponed to Jan. 2022), we present the top tours of the new millennium.

While number-crunchers could argue that tours like U2’s 2009-2011 360° Tour raked in a bigger sum in inflation-adjusted dollars than Ed Sheeran’s Divide tour, and should therefore take the top slot, the list here is presented simply on the actual dollar gross garnered from total ticket sales in the years when the shows took place. (For a deeper dive into inflation-adjusted revenues, total number of attendees, total number of shows, dollars per show, top tours by decade, etc., go to www.plsn.me/TourStats).

1 Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran’s Divide Tour ran from 2017-2019. Photo by Ralph Larmann/Meyer Sound

Lighting Cos: LCR/SES

Video Co: Colonel Tom Touring

Visual Design: Mark Cunniffe, Show/Lighting Designer; Matt Jones, Lighting Director; Phil Mead, Video Director

More details: www.plsn.me/TT-ES

 

2 U2

U2’s 360° Tour ran from 2009-2011.

Lighting Co: PRG

Video Co: XL Video

Visual Design: Willie Williams, Show Designer/Director; Ethan Weber, Lighting Director; Stefaan “Smasher” Desmedt, Tom Krueger, Video Directors; Mark Fisher/Stufish, Production Architect

More details at www.plsn.me/TT-U2

 

3 Guns N’ Roses

Guns N’ Roses’ “Not In This Lifetime” Tour ran from 2016-2019. Photo by Katerina Benzova/Robe

Lighting Co: Upstaging

Video Co: Screenworks

Visual Design: Phil Ealy, Production Designer; Ron Schilling, Lighting Director; Steve Fatone, Video Director

More details at www.plsn.me/TT-GNR

 

4 The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones’ “A Bigger Bang” Tour ran from 2005-2007. Photo by Martin Lighting

Lighting Co: PRG

Video Co: Screenworks NEP

Visual Design: Patrick Woodroffe, Lighting Designer; Ethan Weber, Lighting Director; Dave Hill and Adam Bassett, Associate LD’s; Sam Pattinson and Christine Strand, Video Directors; Mark Fisher, Set Designer

More details at www.plsn.me/TT-RS

 

5 Coldplay

Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams tour ran from 2016-2017. Photo by Steve Jennings

Lighting Cos: Upstaging, Lite Alternative

Video Co: VER

Visual Design: Phil Harvey, Creative Director; Paul Normandale, Lighting Designer; Graham Feast, Lighting Director; Ben Miles, Video Director; Misty Buckley, Set Designer

More details at www.plsn.me/TT-CP

 

6 Roger Waters

Roger Waters’ “The Wall Live” tour ran from 2010-2013. Photo by Wembley Stadium

Lighting Co: PRG

Video Co: XL Video

Visual Design: Roger Waters, Mark Fisher, Production Designer; Marc Brickman, LD; Mark Risk, Lighting Director/Programmer; Sean Evans, Video Designer; Richard Turner, Video Technical Director

More details at www.plsn.me/TT-RW

 

7 AC/DC

AC/DC’s Black Ice Tour ran from 2008-2010. Photo by Steve Jennings

Lighting Co: Upstaging

Video Co: Screenworks

Visual Design: Patrick Woodroffe, Creative Director; Dave Hill, Co-Lighting Designer; Charlie “Cosmo” Wilson, Lighting Director

More details at www.plsn.me/TT-ACDC

 

8 Metallica

Metallica’s WorldWired tour format, from 2016-present, has evolved over the years. Photo by Steve Jennings

Lighting Co: Premier Global Production

Video Co: PRG

Visual Design: Dan Braun, Production Designer; Rob Koenig, LD/Lighting Director; Troy Eckerman and Joe Cabrera, Programmers; Dave Neugebauer and Eugene MacAuliffe, Video Directors

More details at www.plsn.me/TT-M

 

9 The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones’ “No Filter” Tour has been running since 2017. Photo by Steve Jennings

Lighting Cos: Upstaging, Neg Earth

Video Co: Solotech

Visual Design: Patrick Woodroffe/WBD, Show Design & Creative Direction; Terry Cook, Associate LD; Ethan Weber, Lighting Director/Programmer; Ray Winkler/Stufish, Stage Architect; Roland Greil, Video Designer

More details at www.plsn.me/TT-RS2

 

10 Madonna

Madonna’s Sticky & Sweet tour ran from 2008-2009. Image by Seven Design Works

Lighting Co: PRG

Video Co: Nocturne

Visual Design: Jamie King, Show Director; LeRoy Bennett, Production & Lighting Design; Mac Mosier, Lighting Director; Troy Eckerman and Cory FitzGerald, Lighting Programmers; Christian Lamb, Video Director

More details at www.plsn.me/TT-MSS

 

11 P!NK

Pink’s Beautiful Trauma tour ran from 2018-2019. Photo by Steve Jennings

Lighting Co: Solotech

Video Co: Solotech

Visual Team: Baz Halpin, Production/Lighting Designer; Eric Marchwinski, Associate LD/Programmer; Steve “Six” Schwind, Lighting Director; Larn Poland, Video Director

More details at www.plsn.me/TT-BT

 

12 U2

U2’s Joshua Tree anniversary tours ran in 2017 and 2019. Photo by Steve Jennings

Lighting Co: PRG

Video Co: PRG

Visual Team: Willie Williams, Creative Director/LD; Mark “Sparky” Risk, Alex Murphy, Allen Branton (Consultant), Lighting Directors; Stefaan “Smasher” Desmedt, Video Director; Ric Lipson/Stufish, Es Devlin (Consultant), Set Designers

More details at www.plsn.me/TT-U2-2

 

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