Elton John concert breaks Coliseum revenue record

obrown@macon.comMarch 22, 2013 

Middle Georgia loves Elton John.

Sir Elton’s sellout concert at the Macon Coliseum on Wednesday night drew about 8,000 people, and the final gate -- more than $700,000 -- was the highest grossing single-show performance ever there.

John beat his own Coliseum record that he set during his last visit to Macon in 2000.

“This was pretty much max capacity for our venue,” Brenda Thompson, the arena and auditorium sales manager for the Macon Coliseum, said in an e-mail.

Attendance was “a bit more than most other sellouts, as we were able to pretty much sell every seat” in the arena.

“For Elton, I was amazed that the seats in the back corner -- seats that almost always fall ‘behind stage’ -- were some of the best seats in the house” for the show, which ran about 2 1/2 hours.

The Coliseum has had its share of big concerts over the years -- Lynyrd Skynyrd drew more than 11,000 fans in 1976, and Elvis Presley routinely drew more than 10,000 -- but turnout for John was about as big as the Coliseum can hold these days.

“I’ve always heard they had folks hanging from the rafters for (Presley’s) shows,” Thompson said. “Of course, building capacity regulations were a little more relaxed back then. I’m pretty sure there were folks that would have been willing to hang from the rafters for Elton, too. His show was that good.”

Other shows sell out at lower numbers because of stage and production setups. Country star (and Macon native) Jason Aldean’s last Macon concert sold out at 7,300, and WWE wrestling matches have sold out at 6,700, Thompson said.

What are Coliseum attendance records over the years? Since James Brown opened the arena in 1968, here are 10 of the biggest shows based on ticket sales, according to Coliseum records:

1. Lynyrd Skynyrd, January 1976: 11,104

2. Allman Brothers/Wet Willie, April 1973: 10,733

3. Elvis Presley, April 1972: 10,200

4. Kenny Rogers, February 1980: 10,194

5. Elvis Presley, April 1975: 10,182

6. Elvis Presley, June 1977: 10,063

7. Teddy Pendergrass, November 1978: 10,010

8. Elvis Presley, August 1976: 9,824

9. Allman Brothers, December 1975: 9,559

10. Graham Central Station, August 1977: 9,431

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