Stageco U2 claws come home
2 August 2011
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."
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Page 47: of Stageco steel in Earls Court 2 The arena was ringed with LED video the stage had a 150ft wide video
Page 22: standard end stage Due to live sets from Muse and Alicia Keys on the central stage supplied by Stageco
Page 59: Freeman from CAST to Dirk de Decker of StageCo and to Chris Crockford of Digital Future Technologies left
Page 98: of Stageco show their PLASA Awards for Innovation Ivan Del Rio of Daktronics JC Joels James Wheelwright
Page 58: Winners Awards for Innovation Stageco Arena Lift Stagecos Arena Lift is a bespoke hydraulic lifting
Page 42: Videos Ben Miles right Stageco have done a wonderful job for us in providing the waterproof bunkers below
Page 44: the screens need for support but it was some 3m off where we needed them Hedwig De Meyer of Stageco scratched
Page 116: This was one of those products that Arena Lift from StageCo products offered that kind of support and wanted
Page 43: of the lower grandstands Although roofless we still have Stageco towers in fixed positions so with the PA
Page 101: power flying performer winches and chain hoists on one system the company says wwwstagetechcom Stagecos