Madonna’s “Sticky & Sweet” concert tour was the biggest-grossing music tour of 2008 in North America, raking in $105.3 million, concert tracking magazine Pollstar said on Monday.
The Material Girl, whose 58-show world tour finished in Brazil last week, was closely followed by another solo diva — Canadian-born Celine Dion, who made $94 million in North America from her first tour since ending an almost five-year residency in Las Vegas a year ago.
Rock veterans The Eagles were third on Pollstar’s list, grossing $73.4 million for their tour to support possibly their last studio album “Long Road out of Eden”.
Country music star Kenny Chesney ($72.2 million) and rock band Bon Jovi ($70.4 million) came in fourth and fifth.
The Top 10 grossing tours of North America were rounded out by Bruce Springsteen and the E street band ($69.3 million), Neil Diamond ($59.8 million), Rascal Flatts ($55.8 million), The Police ($48.0 million) and veteran rocker Tina Turner ($47.7 million).
Pollstar’s Top 10 list did not include global tour earnings for the year.
Finally, the ex-Mrs. Ritchie stopped trying to educate the world with songs about starving children, world politics and spiritual growth and relented to make the disk fans wanted all along — one packed with pure, catchy dance-pop — the best of its kind since her debut, in fact. Facing 50, Madonna threw herself a kind of party record that doubled as the best present fans could hope for.
Pop Top Artists #46
Top 200 Albums – Artists #47
Top 200 Albums – Albums #53
Top Comprehensive Artists – #52
Top Comprehensive Albums – #55
Top Digital Albums – #14
Hot 100 Artists – #49
Hot 100 Songs – #23 (4 Minutes)
Hot Singles Sales – #5 (4 Minutes) and #16 (Give It 2 Me)
Hot Digital Songs Artists – #34
Hot Digital Songs – #10
Hot Digital Tracks – #9 (4 Minutes)
Pop 100 Artists – #40
Pop 100 Songs – #33 (4 Minutes)
Hot Dance Club Play Artists – #12
Hot Dance Club Play Tracks – #24 (4 Minutes) and #32 (Give It 2 Me)
Hot Dance Singles Sales Artists – #1
Hot Dance Singles Sales – #2 (4 Minutes) and #5 (Give It 2 Me)
Hot Dance Airplay Artists – #3
Hot Dance Airplay – #12 (Give It 2 Me) and #14 (4 Minutes)
Top 25 Tours – #3
Top 25 Boxscores : #3 Madonna at Stade de France, Paris (Sep 20-21, $17.583.211) / #13 Madonna at Wembley, London (Sep 11, $11.796.838) / #15 Madonna at Medison Square Garden, New York (Oct 6-7, 11-12, $11.527.375) / #20 Madonna at Dubendorf Airfield, Zurich (Aug 30, $11.093.631)
Top Venue Grosses (Capacities 10-15 000) – Madonna at MGM Grand Garden, Las Vegas ($8.397.640)
Top Venue Grosses (Stadiums) – Madonna at Stade de France, Paris (Sep 20-21, $17.583.211)
Billboard Canadian Hot 100 Artists – #11
Billboard Canadian Hot 100 Songs – #4 (4 Minutes) and #63 (Give It 2 Me)
Top Canadian Albums – #9
Hot Canadian Digital Songs – #4 (4 Minutes)
European Hot 100 Singles – #5 (4 Minutes) and #30 (Give It 2 Me)
Euro Digital Songs – #3 (4 Minutes)
Euro Digital Tracks – #2 (4 Minutes)
Case Study: Jason Harvey
Occupation: Video Engineer for Madonna’s Sticky & Sweet tour
Gear: Mac Pro, plus redundant backups. 17 high-definition video screens. Numerous MacBooks and MacBook Pros. Most-used apps include PRG Mbox EXtreme Media Server and Adobe’s Premiere, After Effects, and Photoshop.
Madonna’s been working her particular brand of stardom for the last 26 years. And she is nothing if not an icon. Whether you love her music or could easily live without it, there’s no denying that Madonna has been one of the most provocative pop musicians of her time. And while her dance-floor-friendly confections are no small part of the Madonna mystique, her willingness to push the envelope visually and artistically is what sets her apart from her contemporaries.
Her latest live tour, the aptly named Sticky & Sweet, features a cavalcade of dancers, musicians, and even a snow-white Auburn Boattail Speedster, in addition to 17 high-definition video displays—the largest of which is 20 feet by 20 feet. And throughout the nearly 2-hour show, each of those 17 screens is filled with custom video—prerecorded, as well as live clips—thanks to a bunch of Apple tech.
For video engineer Jason Harvey, the day of the show is a long one. In addition to the 6 to 8 hours of setup the previous day, Harvey arrives at the venue on show days around 9 a.m. and usually finishes up around 3 a.m. the next morning. Prior to the show, Harvey is setting up video playback systems and video cameras used during the performance. And the whole thing runs almost entirely on Macs. “My whole entire crew—apart from one guy—uses MacBook Pros. Every single element of the show, apart from two parts of it, is all run on Macs. The sound and lighting crews also use Mac Pros for the show.”
Harvey’s 10-person video crew (plus a camera operator borrowed from another department) is responsible for re-creating the stunning visuals to accompany Madonna’s 24-song set each night. The core of the system is a pair of Mac Pros—a main system and a backup—running PRG Mbox EXtreme Media Server. The crew’s workflow for this show has been entirely digital. “We’re 100 percent tapeless,” Harvey says. “All of the video has come to us as digitally, downloaded over the Internet, or on disc. It’s saved us loads of time over tape, and we have editing suites onsite if we need them.”
During the show, there are 17 separate video screens, many of which can be moved and reconfigured. The largest screens are a set of three massive 20-by-20-foot displays, which can be moved together to create a single seamless display 60 feet wide and 20 feet high. Additionally, there are moving displays onstage, which Madonna uses several times, including during her video duets with Pharrell Williams and Justin Timberlake—during “Beat Goes On” and “4 Minutes,” respectively. But perhaps the most engaging video element of the show is the “stealth screen,” a pair of concentric circular displays that descend from the ceiling of the venue and offer a variety of dramatic effects.
During “Devil Wouldn’t Recognize You,” a slow-burner from Madonna’s latest album Hard Candy, she emerges from within the stealth screen, singing from atop a grand piano as amazing high-speed footage of falling water surrounds her. “That footage was shot on a Phantom camera, which shoots 1,000 frames per second in HD. “We started with a flat piece of content, but we knew we wanted something that would be visually stunning when it was wrapped around,“ Harvey says.
Aside from the footage, the LED screen itself is a high-tech wonder, although its distinctive shape comes about in a rather low-tech manner. According to Harvey, the stealth screen is “not really meant to be circular. It’s a bunch of flat panels, and we had to do a bit of customization to make it go around, using cable ties and a couple small uprights.”
Between the elaborate graphics, video interludes, and live shots, Harvey says there are only a few minutes during the two-hour show when his crew isn’t pushing images. “There are 24 songs in the show, and maybe five minutes when there isn’t any video—basically when Madonna is talking to the audience.” And with all that uptime, Harvey’s crew has to be ready for anything. “We have redundant systems running the whole time. If anything goes down, you just jump from A to B and go from there. Our playback guy watches the playback, and if there’s a problem, he’s in charge of that.”
The visual fireworks are the result of months of preparation on the part of Harvey and his crew. Harvey was brought in three months before the tour began to start putting together the visual aspects of the show. “Video elements would be sent in from New York, Los Angeles, London—several places all over the world. It was a really big bonus for us to be able to download the pieces, or grab them from a hard drive. If you’ve got something on tape that’s 20 minutes, it takes 20 minutes to ingest it; from a hard drive, it takes five.”
But even with months of advance planning and the tight time schedule that Madonna’s highly choreographed show requires, there are still real-life time crunches, and Harvey relies on his arsenal of Macs to take care of those. “We were changing a digital download 25 minutes before opening night. It was pretty scary. It’s not something I like to do, but with an all-digital workflow, I can push the limits to the wire.”
With the completion of Madonna’s final show in Sao Paulo Brazil last evening – one of eleven record-breaking performances in South America – the ‘Material Girl’s’ ‘Sticky & Sweet’ Tour reigns supreme by becoming the Number One Largest Grossing Tour in history by a solo artist, it was confirmed today by Live Nation, the tour’s international producer. Her 58 shows in Europe, the US, Canada, Mexico and South America played for a staggering 2,350,282 million fans and sold over (USD)280,000,000 in tickets.
“Madonna has yet again demonstrated her true global appeal as a live performer whether in stadiums or arenas. Not only will this tour be the top selling tour of all time for a solo artist and a female artist (eclipsing her own record), but it will position her as one of the top selling touring artists of all time” said Arthur Fogel, Live Nation’s Chairman of Global Music and CEO of Global Touring.
Along with record breaking ticket sales in South America with a total 650,000 tickets sold, the ‘Sticky & Sweet’ Tour sold 72,000 tickets at Zurich’s Military Airfield Dubendorf – the largest audience ever assembled for a show in Switzerland. In London, where she performed in front of 74,000 fans with over 12 million dollars in ticket sales, Madonna surpassed all previous records at both the old and new Wembley Stadiums. In New York City, Madonna’s four sell-outs at Madison Square Garden shows added up to a record breaking 23 sold out performances since 2001 at that venue – a record for most appearances for a single artist in this decade.
Madonna’s multi Grammy-nominated CD “Hard Candy” debuted at number one early this year in over 37 countries.
According to Page Six spies and to Glamurama.com.br., the superstar singer – newly single after shelling out over $75 million to ex Guy Ritchie – shot an editorial layout for W magazine at the posh Hotel Gloria in Rio de Janeiro last weekend with a smoking hot male model, Jesus Luz.
“She was very interested in him,” our sources say – so interested that she invited Luz to join her tour in Sao Paolo and he accepted. “He’s there with her now and [photographer] Steven Klein is helping him get along with everyone.”
According to the Brazilian Web site, “Everyone knows they are ficando – which is a Portuguese expression that means they are kissing and doing other things but without any obligation of being faithful or getting into a relationship afterwards.”
Madonna’s beleaguered publicist, Liz Rosenberg, denied a report that her tight-fisted client had bought 20 watches (one for each member of her crew) so “they will always arrive on time.” She added, “But I’m still waiting to hear about Jesus.”
Onstage, Madonna has been soaking up the South American adoration. Earlier this week, during her first show in Sao Paolo’s Morumbi Stadium, she started to cry when some of the 70,000 attendees sang along with her in the theme song from Evita, “You Must Love.” She was mobbed at every turn by fans and press who all but ignored Sylvester Stallone and Tyra Banks, who were both there on business.
A few days later Madonna, staying at the Hotel Hyatt, attended a special ceremony hosted by a Brazilian rabbi.
Madonna’s “Miles Away” (Warner Bros.) takes the lead on Hot Dance Airplay, giving the superstar her seventh No. 1 song in a row on this chart.
This survey has only been around for five years, so seven No. 1s is good enough to give Madonna more chart-toppers than any other artist. She was previously tied with Rihanna, who now slips to second place with her six No. 1s.
Justin Timberlake is in third place with four and Beyonce ranks fourth with three.
Madonna also has the highest amount of No. 1 hits on the Hot Dance Club Play chart, where her 39 chart-toppers are more than double the 18 No. 1s accumulated by second-place Janet Jackson.