Billy Joel kicked off a residency at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 2014 with the intention of playing one show every month as long as demand dictates. Nine years later, the concerts are bigger than ever as he crosses another major milestone. Joel’s Valentine’s Day show marked the 87th concert of the residency, pushing the entire run’s earnings past the $200 million milestone.
According to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore, Billy Joel at The Garden has grossed $201.5 million and sold 1.6 million tickets. That dates back to Jan. 27, 2014, running monthly, without break, through February 2020 before pausing for obvious reasons. The residency resumed in November 2021.
And even prior to the residency beginning, Joel had reported 28 shows at MSG in the decades prior, adding up to $32.6 million to his career venue total. On top of that, there was a pair of co-headline dates with Elton John for another $4.3 million.
Joel’s plan has been to play until these shows stop selling out, and sell out they have. Scaling and attendance has barely budged among all 87 shows so far, ranging from 17,900 to 18,800, or a differentiation of less than 5%.
But despite its humble beginnings as a sold-out arena residency, there has still been room for growth. Gross per show kicked off with $1.973 million on Jan. 27, 2014, and has stretched beyond $3 million for Joel’s first two shows of 2023.
Cheap seats for Joel’s shows started off at $59.50, and nearly a decade later, fans can still find tickets for almost the same price, having nudged up to $63.50 for the ’23 dates. But the range of ticket scaling has become more elastic, with top-tier prices growing from $119.50 to $159.50.
Year-to-year ticket prices and grosses were typically increasing between four and eight percent – until now. A post-pandemic surge of demand paired with new industry-standard practices of platinum ticketing and dynamic pricing has produced the sharpest one-year uptick since the residency began. After average grosses climbed by 5% in 2021 and 4% in 2022, the early ’23 shows are up by 14%, jumping from $2.7 million per show to $3.1 million.
The two 2023 shows of Joel’s residency are the highest grossing dates of the run so far. Concerts are scheduled, once a month, through August, with more likely to follow. For those who don’t live in the New York Metropolitan area, catch him elsewhere throughout 2023, joined by Stevie Nicks.
In all, Billy Joel has earned $1.05 billion and sold 14.2 million tickets across his career, dating back to early Boxscore reports in 1986.
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