Whatever Happened To U2’s $30 Million "360", The Most Expensive Concert Stage Ever?
The U2’s 360º tour stands as one of the most iconic tours in rock history. It’s impressive three year run brought a thrilling night of spectacle for over seven million adoring fans all over the world.
Traveling from country to county, the U2 jammed out in a massive, futuristic stage that’s was leaps and bounds more than another artists in the game. The pure extravagance of their traveling 165 foot tall structure amazed audiences with it’s state of the art system and countless monitors displaying the performance.
It was a tour that was so ambitious, the day to day budget peaked at a whopping, $750,000. Subsequently, it stands as the highest grossing tour the music industry has ever seen!
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U2 Takes the World
The now legendary tour kicked off in Barcelona with two shows on June 30 and July 2, 2009, according to Billboard.
Stationed in Camp Nou stadium, the goliath sized, four legged claw projected the U2’s in real time through massive, cylindrical video screen, performing in the round ideal. The initial shows were a true testament for the tour impending successes. U2 brought in a stunning $19.8 million in ticket sales from the 182,000 people who came to the Barcelona concerts.
Their next stops of the tour’s European leg were Paris and London, where their concerts racked in $20 million. The band went on to perform nonstop across the country, dazzling audiences with their $30 million towering structure.
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Mental Floss attributes The Claw’s inspiration to the Space Age themed building in the Los Angeles International Airport.
The production design was a strick of genius – so much so, it’s been the blueprint for countless other sets seen by audiences today.
“This contraption is an extravagance with a big carbon footprint and an even bigger price tag, Ann Powers writes in his LA Times review of the tour.
The structure, designed by world renowned architect Mark Fisher and designer Willie Williams, was composed of 888 tiny LED panels that housed 500,000 pixels.
“With 360°, once we’d figured out you could go into a stadium and do it on our terms, it kind of gave us a lot of room to play around,” U2’s bassist Adam Clayton tells the Daily Mail, “You have to find ways to make the songs touch people more, to disorientate people so they’re more open to being touched.’
The immensity of the tour took around 120 trucks to transport all the components of the set and 300 crew members to man the equipment.
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In the fall of 2009, U2 took the 360 tour to North America to perform 20 dates. After coming back to Europe, the band took on threw other continents with raving success.
The Claw Lives On
The 360 Tour ended in 2011, bringing in a record setting $736,137,344 in gross income. That topped the Rolling Stones’ $558 million concert in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
But that’s no reason to throws those brilliant set pieces into the garbage bin. Luckily they found homes and were not subjected to collecting dust in some storage unit.
In June 2011, the band’s management team put The Claws on the market for companies to embellish entertainment venues. The intention was for these structures to be repurposed to spruce up places like ‘amphitheatres, civic plazas, corporate pavilions, world expositions or world cup stages’ according to a listing on Panther Management’s website.
The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Salt Lake City, Utah became an interesting new home for one of the Claws in 2018.
It’s this big structure, but it’s very aesthetically pleasing. And I think it really does inspire that awe and wonder in people.” Loveland creative director, Ari Robinson tells Deserter, “The things they learn when they’re in that state, they stick with them longer, and there’s a much more lasting connection.”
The purchase for the Claw was part of a $25 million expansion towards the center’s Science Learning Campus where it’s now stationed. In a tactic to cultivate a more educational environment, Loveland Living Planet Aquarium utilized the Claw based on a study of how people learn more in confined places.
Loveland CEO Brent Andersen first laid eyes on the Claw when he went the 360 Tour’s debuting concert in Barcelona.
“I was kind of holding up the line because I just wanted to look at it and take it in,” Anderson tells the Rolling Stone, “I didn’t really view it as just simply a functional piece of architecture. For me, it was a dynamic sculpture. It was a work of art.”
The Claw now stands proud over Loveland as a sort of artifact for the most buzzed about tour in history.
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Sources: Billboard, Daily Mail, LA Times, Rolling Stone
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