Despite coming smack dab in the middle of one of the worst recessions in history, 2009 was still a solid year for touring artists like Metallica, who spent the better part of the year on the road with the likes of the Sword, Lamb of God and others. Even though the country was tightening its collective purse strings on luxury items, they didn't skimp when it came to live entertainment.

According to Reuters, Irish rockers U2 led the class of 2009 in ticket sales, generating more than $123 million in receipts. Thankfully, this year's top 10 moneymaking North American tours includes two metal acts, which might explain why the Rockstar Mayhem Fest thrived all summer long. Coming in at five on the list with $77.9 million in ticket sales were Aussie rockers AC/DC, whose Black Ice Tour sold out in practically every city it stopped in. Rounding things out at 10 was Metallica, who toured to the tune of $53.4 million in 2009.

Gary Bongiovanni, editor of concert industry watchdogs Pollstar, claims that, overall, the concert business seemed to buck the recession, much like the movie industry, which experienced strong sales at the box office despite news of mounting layoffs. Bongiovanni added that most people go to only one or two shows a year, and hence, are willing to pay a premium for good seats.

Also making this year's top 10 are Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band at two, netting $94.5 million in ticket sales; Elton John and Billy Joel at three with $88 million; pop star Britney Spears following at with $82.5 million; country crooner Kenny Chesney at 6 with $71.1 million; those pesky Jonas Brothers were next with $69.8 million in ticket receipts; the Dave Matthews Band was at eight with $56.9 million; Fleetwood Mac followed with $54.5 million in ticket sales.