U2 is about to begin their North American tour, the U2 360 tour. The giant four-legged Claw will be set in the middle of the venue, and in the center there will be a revolving stage. All the technical hardware is hidden inside the four legs of the structure, and at the top is a huge video screen which will offer simultaneous footage of the concert to the farther audiences at the show.
Over 130 feet high, weighing 390 tons and requiring 180 trucks to transport it from venue to venue, U2 have three different Claws at their disposal. While they are playing on one of them, the second one is being set up at another venue and the third one is being transported somewhere else.
Long-time U2 associates Willie Williams and Mark Fisher will be working as show directors for the 18-month tour. “Everyone who sees it says that it looks like something different,” says Williams. “It does look as though it has escaped from a giant space aquarium.”
The Claw was inspired by the four-legged Theme Building at Los Angeles airport. “Our work is all to do with the logistics of building a very large piece of technical infrastructure in a very short time, and to make something interesting out of it,” says Fisher. “Why do people go to shows like this in the digital age? It’s for the huge collective experience, the social and spatial, and memories. This set will contribute by creating a massive sense of anticipation and delivering an amazing kinetic performance.”
The base goal of The Claw is to create a feeling of intimacy for crowds of up to 90,000 people - no easy feat by any standard.
- U2 have three custom-built “claw” stages for their tour.
- While one is in use, another is being dismantled and a third is being constructed for the next concert venue.
- The stage designer is Willie Williams, who has been with U2 since 1982. Mark Fisher serves as architect.
- A total of 189 trucks transport the stages around. There are 380 drivers and 12 buses.
- The U2 entourage constitutes 550 people.
- The video screens weigh 56 tonnes.
- The claw-like edifice can take 165 tonnes of equipment freeing up more pitchside space for fans.