After three years on the road and 112 live shows to over 6.8 million fans, U2’s record-breaking $700 million grossing 360° tour ended this past summer, leaving its iconic stage, nicknamed The Claw and built by Stagco, up for sale. Until then, Stageco welcomes the systems back to its US and Belgium headquarters.
Stageco was involved from the earliest stages of the Claw’s planning and conception, working closely with U2, show director Willie Williams, set designer Mark Fisher, and production manager Jake Berry to determine how it would be engineered, and logistically, how such a large structure could be transported the 70,000 miles the tour encompassed.
Three of the iconic stage systems were made, and each of the 170', 250-ton structures was stringently stress-tested by Stageco to ensure they could safely hold the show’s 50m-high PA, video screen, and lighting systems, before going on the road in March 2009. Every piece of the stage was manufactured specifically for the production, and Stageco implemented some exciting new technologies to assist in ensuring the mammoth structure was both safe and quick to assemble.
Stageco’s experienced project manager Dirk de Decker oversaw a total of 79 stage builds across the three year period, each of which required a 25-strong crew and 38 trucks.
Hedwig de Meyer, president of Stageco, says, “Jake Berry and his production team are true innovators in so many areas on the 360° tour. We love to be challenged at Stageco, and I’m really proud that the U2 team had the confidence to allow our team to develop this groundbreaking piece of engineering. We’ve pushed way beyond conventional stage engineering to deliver a system that met everyone’s expectations.
“I think it will be a long time before the entertainment industry sees something of such size and of this level of technological innovation again. It was years ahead of its time, and I’m really proud that our team has been part of it.”
On the potential sale of the systems, Hedwig adds, “The three systems are apparently for sale once the tour is finished. Whoever buys them will be able to create a very distinctive venue and we’ll have our Stageco team ready to assemble them anywhere in the world. Until then they will return to Stageco to be maintained and refreshed.”
· 79 stage builds by Stageco (with three Claw systems)