Because of massive overheads...
Scott Colothan

15:03 28th September 2009

U2 are yet to make any profits from their huge 360° World Tour, despite having already performed 32 stadium shows in Europe and America.

The band's long-term manager Paul McGuinness explained that the band have mammoth overheads of $750,000 per show (around £470,000) and it won't be until the end of their North American leg this year before they go into the black.

The ambitious tour features an in-the-round stage complete with a giant claw which has to be reassembled and dismantled after at every show.

Speaking to Reuters, McGuinness said: “The engineering problems are enormous and costly. We had to find a way for it to be aesthetic and figure out a way of doing video.

“That cylindrical screen we have - that didn't exist, we had to get somebody to invent that. We had to design this four-legged thing (the claw) - and build three of them.”

Despite his predictions of making a profit this year, McGuinness is cautious about how much money they'll make in 2010.

He added: “(It won't) exactly (be) gravy, because whether we're playing or not, the overhead is about $750,000 daily. That's just to have the crew on payroll, to rent the trucks, all that. There's about 200 trucks.

"Each stage is 37 trucks, so you're up to nearly 120 there. And then the universal production is another 50-odd trucks, and there are merchandise trucks and catering trucks.”

U2: A History Of Gargantuan Live Shows:

  • The massive claw that is the focal point of the 2009 360degrees World Tour. Three different claw stage structures, which each costing between £15 million and £20 million, are being used by the band around the globe.

  • Bono magnified on the surround screen on the claw at the San Siro Stadium in Italy. The singer has enthused that the in-the-round set-up allows the band to get closer to the crowd and also get more people into the stadia.

  • U2's Zoo TV Tour of 1992-93 featured hundreds of video screens, upside-down cars and array of other bewildering features - extravagant is an understatement.

  • In 1997 the band headed out on the ambitious PopMart tour, one that dwarfed the Zoo TV Tour four years previous. A 100ft tall golden arch, a 150ft video screen and a giant rotating lemon were just some of the features of the gargantuan stage set-up.

  • Adam Clayton's signature orange boiler suit and mask combo on the PopMart tour.

  • Stage hands start work the lengthy preparations for the PopMart tour.

  • Bono reaching out to the crowd at the Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium on July 13, 1985. One of the defining performances of the historic day, U2 performed two songs, 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' and 'Bad' – the later of which was interspersed with snippets of 'Satellite Of Love', 'Ruby Tuesday', 'Sympathy For The Devil' and 'Walk On The Wild Side'.

  • Live on the Elevation tour in 2001 supporting 'All That You Can't Leave Behind'. A break from the norm, the band returned to arenas instead of stadiums for the first time in years. As a result, the stage set was less elaborate than fans have come to expect.

  • The Edge gets close to the crowd on the 2005 Vertigo Tour in Manchester. The stage set-up was designed by architect Mark Fisher and featured an ellipse shaped ramp which allowed the band to walk into the crowd. Lucky VIPs could even get inside the ellipse – an area dubbed 'The Bomb Shelter'.

  • U2 in front of the huge backdrop used on the 2005/2006 'Vertigo' tour.

  • The Edge strutting his stuff on the Vertigo Tour at Twickenham Stadium, West London in 2006.

  • A more unusual setting for a U2 show – on the back of a truck promoting 'How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb' in 2004.

  • An ingenious album publicity stunt, crowds pack both sides of the River Liffy in Dublin to catch a glimpse of U2 performing on top of the Clarence Hotel in September 2001.

  • U2 on top of their self-owned Clarence Hotel waiting to perform live. The short set was broadcast on Top of the Pops on the BBC.

  • Madison Square Garden in New York on the Vertigo Tour. The stage was scaled down for the arena leg of the jaunt in keeping with the more intimate shows.

Issue Four of the Gigwise Print magazine is on pre-order now! Order here.