Stageco U2 claws come home

Tuesday, 2 August 2011
Stageco U2 claws come homeHedwig de Meyer, president of Stageco
USA / Belgium - After three years on the road and 112 live shows to over 6.8m fans, U2's record-breaking $700m grossing 360° tour came to an end on Saturday at Magnetic Hill Music Festival, California. The tour spanned five continents and saw U2 perform over 2,600 songs, and it was not just the band that grabbed headlines across the globe - the now-famous Stageco stage on which they performed captured many people's imagination.

Following the speculation across the international press last week that the stage, nicknamed the 'Claw', will be available to buy after the tour, stage design and manufacturer Stageco prepares to welcome the systems back to their 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 170ft, 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, said, "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 said, "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."

(Jim Evans)


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