The Joshua Tree Tour 2019 in Numbers: Boxscore Breakdown

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2020-01-18)

The numbers are in for U2’s shows in New Zealand, Australia and Asia. U2 played fifteen shows in November and December 2019 as part of The Joshua Tree Tour 2019. The tour was a continuation of the 2017 shows, using a similar stage and screen, and continuing to play the album in full. Billboard has now listed the 2019 numbers as part of their Box Scores, and we take a look at the numbers below. Billboard does report all currency in US Dollars, so any references below are also in US Dollars.

The 2019 shows saw U2 play to a total audience of 566,576 people over 15 shows. The gross total sales for these shows, was $73.8million. If you combine the 2019 and 2017 numbers, U2 took the Joshua Tree tour out in front of a total audience of 3,279,712 people over 65 shows. The gross total sales for both tours, was $389.7million.

Lets take a look at some of the data from the 2019 shows themselves.

For sales, U2 had the highest sales in Singapore this time out with a total of $12.4million at the shows there. The city in which they had the lowest sales was Adelaide with a total of $2.5million at that show.

If you look at a per show basis though, Singapore did not bring in the highest sales per show, with two cities bringing in more money at the gate. Melbourne comes in with the highest gross total sales for a single show on the tour, at $6.91 million. Manila has the second highest gross sales at $6.90 million, just behind the sales for Melbourne.

Lowest gross sales on a per show basis is Adelaide for the 2019 tour. It also has the lowest gross sales for any show if you include the 2017 tour as well. Seoul, Auckland and Adelaide all brought in less gross sales on a per show basis than any show on the 2017 tour.

The biggest audience at a single show was in Melbourne with 59,726 attending a single show in that city. This is 13,285 people more than the next biggest reported audience, which happened in Perth on this tour. Melbourne, the biggest show on the list for gross sales, would have been the sixteenth show on the list if you look at gross sales for 2017 and 2019 combined.

If you compare the numbers for both the 2017 and the 2019 dates, only five cities had shows bigger than the show in Melbourne. This includes shows in Dublin, Paris, Berlin, Sao Paulo, and Pasadena. The show in Dublin was the largest on the two tours at 80,901 in attendance. Melbourne is the sixth largest show when you include both years.

The smallest single show audiences were in Saitama Super Arena, where U2 played to 21,613 each night. Two shows were performed in Saitama. The next smallest audience was
4909 people larger in Seoul, South Korea at 26,522 in attendance.

The shows in Saitama, Seoul, Adelaide, and Manila were the smallest shows overall when you look at where U2 played in 2017 and 2019. The smallest show attendance in 2017 was in New Orleans, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, with an attendance of 34,536 people. Even Auckland was just slightly bigger than that at 34,912 people each night. The shows in Saitama, Japan were the smallest of the entire tour.

On a per city basis, if you combine all the shows in one city, U2 played to the biggest audience in Sydney, with a combined attendance of 85,654 over two shows in that city. The smallest audience in a city would be the show in Seoul, at 26,522. Although smaller in size than the show in Seoul, the arena in Saitama got two shows.

Average ticket prices vary from different countries. Billboard converts numbers to US currency to report and compare these. The highest priced tickets on average were in Saitama with an average ticket price of $239.30. The lowest priced tickets on average were in Adelaide with an average ticket price of $81.34.

If you look at the 2017 data, the lowest priced average ticket was $94.45 for the show in Toronto, Ontario in Canada. Adelaide with an average ticket price of $81.34 would now be the lowest priced ticket on the entire tour. Conversely, the highest priced average ticket in 2017 was in Bogota, Colombia at $164.21. Shows at Saitama and Manila had a higher average ticket price than this, and Saitama now has the highest reported ticket price of any show across the two years.

All 15 of the shows on The Joshua Tree Tour 2019 are listed as sold out shows. Some will remember that a couple of weeks before the tour was due to begin the ticket situation in some of the cities looked quite poor with huge blocks remaining unsold. The second show in Auckland looked to be one of the worst cases of this. However, as the concert neared an advertisement campaign was launched on billboards, electronic signs, on taxis, and elsewhere, and it seems to have helped. Good reviews of the first show helped as well, and the morning of the second show only scattered seats were available in sections that had been mostly unsold two weeks before. When Ticketmaster took down the event, no longer selling it on the internet, only tickets for their club rooms were available on that side of the venue, and even these could be purchased at the venue right up until the show so may have sold.

The capacity at each venue is described by Billboard as “Represents the tickets available for sale for 1 show, or average tickets available on multi-show engagements. Submissions should subtract complimentary tickets and production kills from the capacity of the venue to give an accurate representation of the tickets available for sale.” Tickets removed from the production, such as seats blocked by the production behind the stage, etc, do not count towards capacity. Likewise the tickets sold do not include complimentary tickets. Tickets are submitted directly by venues.

None of these shows will count in Billboard‘s Boxscore year end charts for 2019. The year for those charts runs until October 31, 2019, so the November start of this tour means none of the shows were early enough to count in the 2019 tallies, however, U2 should have a strong showing at the end of the year charts next year for the 2020 listings, even though they will not have toured in that calendar year.

Up next for U2? We’re told they will take some time off, work on a new album, and that the next time they tour they are hoping to do so with new material from a new album. Expect the next tour to be announced a few years down the road, once they have an album ready to go.

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