By Whitney Pastorek
Updated December 17, 2009 at 10:27 PM EST

Rolling Stones

  • Music

Billboard published its list of the Top 25 touring artists of the decade today, documenting those artists and bands who have seen several million faces, rocked them all, and charged handsomely to do it in the years since 2000. The Rolling Stones (watch “Sympathy for the Devil,” above) and U2 come in at Nos. 1 and 2 with both bands making over $800 million in live revenue during the past 10 years. Madonna also made upwards of $800 mil; bringing up the rear at No. 25 is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, who took in a paltry $200 million, still enough to confuse those of us who thought they just made Christmas music. (Top 10 located after the jump, and you can check out the full roster at

What strikes me about these 25 acts is not how much money they made, but how many of them could have just as easily topped the touring charts of the ’90s — and for that matter, the ’80s, too. The Police, the Eagles, Aerosmith, Neil Diamond, Cher, McCartney, Rod Stewart, Metallica… this thing reads like a list of “Bands Most Likely To Inspire A Tribute Night At Your Local Sports Bar.” Britney Spears (No. 21, $216,229,560) is the youngest act on the chart by a long shot, unless you count Max Weinberg’s son sitting in with Springsteen (No. 4). Celine Dion (No. 6) played the most shows — 792 — but then again, she just had to sit in Vegas and let the nice people come to her for most of those. Second in the shows-played category is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (again: confused), followed by the tireless Kenny Chesney (No. 8 ) at 622. And if you do the math on Chesney’s shows-played-to-total-gross vs. that of the Rolling Stones, you will learn an interesting lesson about ticket prices.

Got thoughts on this list, Mixers? Any of it surprise you? Given the endurance levels of Mick Jagger and Bono (if perhaps not Steven Tyler), will these same moldy oldies still be ruling the touring charts at the end of the ’10s? If not, who might step up? And Billboard’s got a nice added feature where they list the “Set Essential” for each tour — if you saw any of these folks on the road this decade, what was your highlight?

1. The Rolling Stones

Total Gross: $869,471,325

Number of Shows: 264

Total Attendance: 8,236,586

Number of Sell-Outs: 190

2. U2

Total Gross: $844,157,925

Number of Shows: 288

Total Attendance: 9,869,953

Number of Sell-Outs: 288

3. Madonna

Total Gross: $801,299,671

Number of Shows: 248

Total Attendance: 6,387,124

Number of Sell-Outs: 244

4. Bruce Springsteen

Total Gross: $688,136,476

Number of Shows: 403

Total Attendance: 8,605,238

Number of Sell-Outs: 248

5. Elton John

Total Gross: $603,804,670

Number of Shows: 541

Total Attendance: 5,789,833

Number of Sell-Outs: 470

6. Celine Dion

Total Gross: $536,593,262

Number of Shows: 792

Total Attendance: 4,099,963

Number of Sell-Outs: 597

7. Dave Matthews Band

Total Gross: $505,447,901

Number of Shows: 547

Total Attendance: 11,230,696

Number of Sell-Outs: 282

8. Kenny Chesney

Total Gross: $477,931,760

Number of Shows: 622

Total Attendance: 9,210,288

Number of Sell-Outs: 409

9. Bon Jovi

Total Gross: $419,481,741

Number of Shows: 249

Total Attendance: 5,384,747

Number of Sell-Outs: 224

10. Billy Joel

Total Gross: $418,421<266

Number of Shows: 241

Total Attendance: 4,141,287

Number of Sell-Outs: 213

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Rolling Stones

  • Music