Elton John Nears Unprecedented $900 Million Gross in Final Days of Farewell Tour

Music

Final dates in North America, Australia and Europe added $138.2 million to the megastar’s already record-breaking tour on the 2023 Midyear Boxscore Recap.

Sir Elton John Performs live on stage during his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” Tour at The O2 Arena on April 02, 2023 in London, England.

Simone Joyner/Getty Images

Back in January, Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour became the highest-grossing concert run in Billboard Boxscore history. Since then, John has only added to the tour’s gargantuan total with one last leg of arena dates in Europe. According to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore, the tour has grossed $887 million and sold 5.7 million tickets over 309 shows through May 30.

The biggest addition to the already-record-breaking figures was John’s nine-show run at London’s O2 Arena, which earned $25.3 million from 148,000 tickets between April 2-17. That’s enough for a No. 4 rank on the midyear Top Boxscores chart and makes up nearly a fifth of the $138.2 million total that gives John the No. 2 spot on the midyear Top Tours tally. (Midyear Boxscore charts are based on shows that played between Nov. 1, 2022 – April 30, 2023.)

The Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour has 18 scheduled dates left to be reported before he wraps on July 8 at Stockholm’s Tele2 Arena, plus a festival date when he headlines Glastonbury (which won’t factor into his Boxscore sum). This current leg of shows has been averaging $2.2 million and 13,817 tickets per show, which means his yet-to-be-reported totals could amount to almost $40 million and 250,000 tickets.

Midyear Boxscore charts are based on figures reported to Billboard Boxscore. Eligible shows played between Nov. 1, 2022, and April 30, 2023.

All-in, John’s farewell tour will circle the $925 million mark, becoming the first tour to gross over $900 million after becoming the first to clear $800 million earlier this year. The tickets John sells in June and July will push the tour’s total tantalizingly close to 6 million attendees but will likely fall just short, closer to 5.9-5.95 million. In order to pass 6 million, he would need to average about 17,000 tickets sold at each show, which will be quite difficult given that’s the top of most arenas’ maximum capacity.

John’s career gross recently crossed $1.9 billion, now at $1.928 billion. That means he will likely fall just short of the $2 billion mark when all is said and done. Still, he is the highest-grossing and best-selling (20.3 million tickets) solo artist in Boxscore history, dating back to the mid-1980s.

When John broke the record in January, he dethroned Ed Sheeran’s The Divide Tour, which set the high bar back in 2019 with $776 million. Sheeran had unseated U2, whose U2 360 Tour stole the title from The Rolling Stones in 2011. Considering U2’s eight-year reign, John took the title relatively quickly from Sheeran. Even the literal three-and-a-half-years between them isn’t as long as it seems, as that period encapsulated the COVID-19 blackout when concert venues shut down for a year and a half. That means that only two years of proper touring occurred before Sheeran passed the baton.

Billboard

The expanse of John’s tour, growing international markets and the combination of inflation and new ticketing practices make turnover atop the all-time list inevitable. The Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour was almost a year deep when Sheeran set the new high, begging the question of who and what lies beneath as future threats to the crown.

Coldplay and Harry Styles have been circling the all-time top 10 with current tours. Though they’re playing more shows in 2023, without extending their routings into 2024 it will be difficult to catch John, who is still more than $400 million ahead. The same likely goes for previous record-holder Sheeran, who is scheduled to wrap The Mathematics Tour in September.

Additional unknowns include the future all-time ranks for Beyoncé’s The Renaissance World Tour and Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour. Both tours launched recently but have yet to report grosses to Billboard Boxscore. And while each superstar is scheduled for stadiums throughout the year, Swift has recently been trickling out announcements of more international shows.

For any of the acts named above — or anyone else, for that matter — John’s farewell haul will be difficult to reach. Likely ending about $150 million above the previous record-holder, toppling the competition will be impossible with a summer or calendar-year routing, even more so than before. In the final month of Farewell Yellow Brick Road, John will extend his record into previously uncharted territory, crossing his T’s and dotting his I’s on a hall-of-fame world tour.

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