The Grammys may not have shown U2 much love last week, but every savvy musician knows that touring is where the real money is. According to Billboard, the Irish rockers had the year’s top tour, playing before more than 3 million fans and grossing $260 million over the course of 90 sold-out shows.

No. 2 for the year was The Eagles, with $117 million. No. 3 was Neil Diamond, with $71 million. Kenny Chesney had the fourth highest-grossing tour ($63 million) but was second only to U2 in number of tickets sold (1.1 million). Behind Chesney was Paul McCartney ($60 million), Rod Stewart ($49 million), Elton John ($45.5 million touring, plus another $30 million from his lengthy Vegas run at Celine’s Palace), Dave Matthews Band ($45 million), Jimmy Buffett ($41 million), and Green Day ($36.5 million).

You’ll notice two obvious things here: 1) As always, boomer favorites who don’t do so well on the Billboard album chart anymore still rake it in on the road. 2) What about the Rolling Stones? Apparently, they don’t release their tour sales figures until the trek is over. So they’re off the list, but the sure-to-be-impressive final tally may, publicity-wise, give them a bigger bang.

Did you see any of these acts perform live this year? Feel like you got your money’s worth? What was the best concert you saw live in 2005?

addCredit(“U2: Gary Hershorn/Reuters”)