George Strait showed himself to be king of the rodeo again. (Getty Images)
George Strait’s performances have been rare since he retired from regular multiple-date touring five years ago, but he’s back on Hot Tickets this month. Two sold-out performances from March take the No. 1 and 2 spots on the largest capacity category, More Than 15,000.
Much fanfare accompanied the King of Country for his top-ranked performance March 17 as he smashed his own attendance record at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, drawing 80,108 fans at NRG Stadium. The concert — the 30th of his career at the Houston event — racked up $12.6 million and marked the end of the annual rodeo, which kicked off Feb. 25. With special guests Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen on the bill, Strait surpassed the attendance record he set during his last record-breaking stint at the rodeo in 2013. That year his concert drew a crowd of 80,020.
Just 13 days later, Strait played another sold-out stadium date with a headlining appearance at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium on March 30. It was the country legend’s first show in Atlanta since an appearance at State Farm Arena in March 2014 during his Cowboy Rides Away tour. This year’s stadium event, ranked No. 2, produced a sold ticket count of 55,255 with a gross falling just $39 shy of $12 million. The Country Music Association’s reigning Male Vocalist of the Year, Chris Stapleton, joined Strait for the concert along with Chris Janson and Ashley McBryde. The artist’s longtime promoter, Messina Touring Group, produced the show.
Speaking of State Farm Arena, the Atlanta venue earns a mention this month as the highest-ranked arena on Top Stops based on an overall sold ticket count of 94,840. The venue lands in the third slot in the More Than 15,000 category, behind Foro Sol stadium in Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico’s outdoor park and concert site, Parque Fundidora.
British rock band Mumford & Sons was the top draw at State Farm Arena with a sold ticket count of 14,826 for a performance March 20 and, with a gross of $1,084,620, one of four headliners to break the $1 million barrier in ticket revenue. Kiss heads up that list as the top earner with a $1,324,454 take April 7 during the iconic rock band’s End of the Road world tour. The group launched its farewell jaunt on the road at the end of January with shows planned in 44 cites during a 10-week stretch. The Atlanta sellout, attended by a crowd of 11,357, came during the final week of the trek’s opening North American leg.
The other two headliners topping $1 million in sales at the Atlanta arena were rapper Travis Scott during the homestretch of his Astroworld tour’s North American run and R&B group B2K, reuniting on the road for the first time in 15 years. Scott’s sold-out concert March 22 scored a gross of $1,084,881 from 11,593 tickets. Promoted by Live Nation, the performance included support by Sheck Wes and Trippie Redd. B2K’s reunion tour, with all four original members of the late-90s boy band, launched March 8 for a seven-week run with concerts booked in 25 cities stateside. Their Atlanta event April 5 moved 12,296 tickets to gross 1,071,876.
Rounding out State Farm Arena’s reported events from the March 16-April 15 Top Stops eligibility time period are Winter Jam featuring the Newsboys (March 16), Impractical Jokers starring the Tenderloins (March 24), Muse (March 26), Maxwell (March 30) and the “Funny as Ish” comedy tour with Mike Epps and others (April 12). – Bob Allen