Taylor Swift headlines Top 25 concert tours of 2011

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It was certainly an interesting year for concerts in 2011. Taylor Swift sold out venues wherever she went, and U2 returned to North America after having to cancel a leg in 2010 due to Bono's health troubles. Adele, on the other hand, canceled tours not just once, but twice, due to voice troubles.

Meanwhile, Paul McCartney showed us why he's still one of the world's most popular rockers, and Katy Perry and Lady Gaga dominated the pop scene. The Zac Brown Band continued its rise in country music by joining up with Kenny Chesney, while Skrillex and Tiesto helped rush electronic music toward the mainstream.

Speaking of multiple acts on one tour, 2011 certainly was a year where many artists and bands traveled together: Sade and John Legend; Journey, Foreigner, and Night Ranger; Jay-Z and Kanye West; NKOTBSB; Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks; Blink-182 and My Chemical Romance; Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae; and many more.

That's only the tip of the iceberg. Quite a bit happened during the year, and a lot of acts toured, but as it always goes some sold more tickets than others. Here are the top 25 tours of 2011, ranked by ticket sales, and according to data from the TicketNetwork Exchange*:

Top 25 Tours of 2011

1. Taylor Swift
2. Katy Perry
3. Trans-Siberian Orchestra
4. Bob Seger
5. Lil Wayne
6. Lady Gaga
7. U2
8. American Idols Live
9. Journey, Foreigner, and NR
10. Kenny Chesney
11. Elton John
12. Sade & John Legend
13. Bon Jovi

14. Kenny Chesney & ZBB
15. Jimmy Buffett
16. Glee Live
17. Keith Urban
18. Paul McCartney
19. Kid Rock
20. Blink-182 & My Chemical Romance
21. Tim McGraw
22. George Strait
23. Selena Gomez
24. Josh Groban

Hang on. I thought U2 was the top tour!

Last week Pollstar released a couple reports identifying the Top 25 Worldwide Tours and the Top 25 North American Tours. In their report U2 got the top spot, which is correct as they were looking at sales among primary distributors. Our Top 25 list, meanwhile, is based off the TicketNetwork Exchange, which is made up of secondary market tickets. That is why the two lists are different.

On a related note, I actually prefer to rank tours by number of tickets sold as opposed to gross revenue, as Pollstar did. By doing it that way, we have a better idea of which tours had more people actually attend. That's because while a tour might make a lot of money, it also might not sell as many tickets as another tour. So I took the liberty of re-ranking Pollstar's North American Top 25 by number of tickets sold, and while U2 still gets #1 the rankings are somewhat different:

Pollstar's Top 25 North American Tours of 2011
(re-ranked by number of tickets sold)

1. U2
2. Taylor Swift
3. Kenny Chesney
4. Jason Aldean
5. Journey
6. Katy Perry
7. Lady Gaga
8. Trans-Siberian Orchestra
9. Cirque du Soleil - "Dralion"
11. Bon Jovi
12. Lil Wayne
13. Bob Seger

14. Sade
15. Phish
16. Keith Urban
17. Elton John
18. Cirque du Soleil - "Alegria"
18. Britney Spears
20. Kanye West & Jay-Z
21. Luis Miguel
22. Cirque du Soleil - MJ
23. Celine Dion
24. Paul McCartney
25. Dave Matthews

As you can see, when ranked by ticket sales, some tours that were way at the bottom (like Jason Aldean, Journey, and Katy Perry) move up quite a bit. Also, and unsurprisingly, most of the big country artists are near the top of the list, and would have completely won out the year were it not for U2's tour.

Last year was a pretty good year for concerts, and it looks like this year will be even bigger. I can't wait to see who draws the biggest crowds!

*As of 1/5/2012 1:00 pm EST.