December 18, 2018 3:58 pm

2018’s top-grossing concert tours: Ed Sheeran leads the pack (by a mile)

WATCH: Ed Sheeran had the highest grossing tour in 2018. Who are the others?

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Whether you prefer rock and roll, hip hop, Top 40, or even Swedish death metal, it’s undeniable that 2018 had a lot to offer in terms of live music.

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From Paul McCartney to Lady Gaga, or Metallica to Justin Bieber, these artists have competed for the top spot on the most successful tour of the year — and they’ve all made the list numerous times.

Promises of an elaborate production and stage show ultimately help sell their expensive concert tickets, whether that includes a seamlessly choreographed two-hour performance or a show packed with enough lights and pyrotechnics to make you sweat — here’s looking at you, Mötley Crüe.

Pollstar released its annual list of highest-grossing concert tours on Monday morning, detailing the top 100 artists of 2018 and how much they made.

Mötley Crüe perform onstage during its final tour, ‘All Good Things Must Come To An End’ at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on Aug. 12, 2015, in New York City.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

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As long as the music was quality, fans attended the shows without hesitation.

But thanks to their next-level efforts and enticing live shows, these musicians are the ones who make fans stay.

Here are the top 10 highest-grossing concert tours in 2018:

Ed Sheeran — The Divide tour

Ed Sheeran performs during the ‘Divide’ tour on Mar. 23, 2017, at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany.

Brill/ullstein bild via Getty Images

That’s right, British pop sensation, Ed Sheeran, took the lead in 2018, after grossing more than US$432.4 million. The Divide tour commenced in March 2017, as a promotion for his chart-topping album of the same name. The tour will carry through to August 2019.

In this year alone, the 27-year-old played to more than 4.86 million fans in countless sold-out arenas across four different continents. Sheeran earned himself the No. 8 position on Pollstar’s 2017 list.

As of this writing, Sheeran has sold more than 38-million albums worldwide since his breakthrough in 2011.

Taylor Swift — Reputation tour

Taylor Swift performs at Tokyo Dome on Nov. 21, 2018, in Tokyo, Japan.

Jun Sato/TAS18/Getty Images

With a mere 53 shows between May and November, Taylor Swift made more than $345.1 million in 2018. More than 2.88-million tickets were sold.

The Reputation tour was a huge success for the Wildest Dreams singer. She is known for a high level of quality in her themed production tours.

The 29-year-old even brought an all-female support lineup on tour with her, including Camila Cabello and Charlie XCX.

Jay-ZBeyoncé — On the Run II tour

Beyoncé and Jay-Z perform together holding hands onstage during the ‘On the Run II’ Tour at Hampden Park on June 9, 2018, in Glasgow, Scotland.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images For Parkwood Entertainment

After a highly successful debut tour in 2014, the celebrity couple decided to up the ante with another. The On the Run II tour took Beyoncé and Jay-Z from the U.K. to eastern Europe and the states — they made a stop for a sole Canadian performance in Vancouver.

The power couple grossed more than $254.1 million after playing 48 shows in front of more than 2.16-million fans.

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P!nk — The Beautiful Trauma tour

Pink performs at Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Aug. 14, 2018, in Brisbane, Australia.

Marc Grimwade/WireImage

As of this writing, the Beautiful Trauma tour is only half complete. Pink (born Alecia Moore), is still scheduled for an entire year of touring in 2019, bringing her show back to the U.S., Canada and then over to Europe for a grand finale.

The 39-year-old earned herself more than $169.2 million with her extravagant stage show. The Beautiful Trauma (2017) album, drew in more than 1.28-million fans to see Pink in concert.

Bruno Mars — 24K Magic tour

Bruno Mars performs onstage during the 24K Magic world tour at Madison Square Garden on Sept. 22, 2017, in New York City.

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Atlantic Records

From No. 4 in 2017 to No. 5 this year, Bruno Mars isn’t doing too bad for himself. The 24K Magic album came out in 2016 and is still hot in-demand across the globe. After two full years of touring, the 33-year-old will play the last show of the tour on New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas.

Last year’s $200 million is followed up by a worthy $167.6 million after playing to more than 1.29-million Mars fanatics.

The Eagles — An Evening with The Eagles tour

(L-R) Vince Gill, Timothy B. Schmit, Don Henley, Deacon Frey and Joe Walsh of The Eagles at The Forum on Sept. 14, 2018, in Inglewood, Calif.

Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

An Evening with the Eagles took a handful of the original members of The Eagles — Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy Schmit — along with a group of touring musicians on the road for an extensive run in 2018.

The band grossed more than $166 million in revenue, playing to more than 964,000 classic rock lovers across North America.

Justin Timberlake — Man of the Woods tour

Justin Timberlake performs onstage during ‘The Man of the Woods’ tour at Scotiabank Arena on Oct. 9, 2018, in Toronto.

GP Images/Getty Images

The ongoing Man of the Woods tour saw a return to form for the former NSYNC star. Another break from Hollywood films and TV cameos launched Justin Timberlake, 37, into his sixth worldwide concert tour which promotes the Man of the Woods (2018) album.

A full year of touring will see Timberlake tackle four individual legs of the tour — two in North America. Already, the pop sensation has played to more than 1.2-million fans, earning revenue of more than $151 million.

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Roger Waters — Us + Them tour

Roger Waters performs onstage at Mediolanum Forum of Assago on April 17, 2018, in Milan, Italy during the Us + Them 2018 tour.

Romano Nunziato/NurPhoto via Getty Images

More than five decades of music making and the Pink Floyd co-founder still remains relevant. Roger Waters, 75, took the Us + Them tour across the globe for 157 total shows, in which he preached his own anti-Trump opinions while playing a healthy dosage of Dark Side of the Moon (1973) tunes.

Waters grossed more than $131.3 million in 2018 and played in front of 1.45-million fans. He still holds the No. 4 spot for highest-grossing tour of all time too. The Wall Live tour earned him more than $459 million between 2010 and 2013.

U2 — Experience + Innocence tour

Bono and The Edge perform during the U2 Experience and Innocence tour at SSE Arena Belfast on Oct. 27, 2018, in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

No. 9 in 2018 and No. 1 in 2017. The Irish rockers earned more than $126.2 million with the Experience + Innocence tour in 2018, and played to just over 927,000 dedicated fans.

Not only that, but U2 are still the record-holding champions as of this writing.

2009 kicked off the U2 360° tour, which became not only the highest-grossing concert tour of all time, but the most attended by 2011. It earned the group almost three-quarters of $1 billion in revenue.

The Rolling Stones — No Filter tour

(L-R) Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones perform at the Principality Stadium on June 15, 2018, in Cardiff, Wales.

Anwar Hussein/WireImage

The No Filter tour saw a resurgence in popularity for The Rolling Stones — not that it ever left. Only two months of shows in Europe made the Sympathy for the Devil rockers more than $116.6 million. They played to three-quarters of a million fans and went home for a rest in the summer.

A Bigger Bang tour cemented the Stones as the No. 2 group on the overall list. Between 2005 and 2007, they earned more than $500 million.

The Stones are even slated to make their return with the No Filter tour in 2019, but this time in North America. The veterans show no signs of slowing down.

(L-R) Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones at the Mercedes Benz-Arena in Berlin, Germany.

Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance via Getty Images

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Having the all-out production, radio airplay, album sales and a loyally dedicated fanbase is ultimately what secures a place on this list. Look out for 2019!

Who do you think will make the list next year? Let us know in the comment section below.

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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