Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bono Injury Forces Scrapped U2 Tour

This is not a news flash, as it's been pretty well covered this week. U2 singer Bono injured his back severely enough in rehearsals to require emergency back surgery in Germany last week. Originally a couple of shows were scrapped but now the U.S tour is postponed as well.

Why is this a big deal, besides the obvious concern for Bono's health and the inconvenience and disappointment of the people who made travel plans to attend the enormous shows?

Well, this is not just a typical big arena tour, but rather a continuation of the massive 360 tour. Some info on the logistics from last year:

The cylindrical 360 degree video screen weighs 54 tons and opens up in a scissor-like fashion to resemble an enormous gyro. Fully extended, it covers an area of 14,000 square feet which is as big as 2 doubles tennis courts. The video screen is made up of over 1 million pieces… 500,000 pixels, 320,000 fasteners, 30,000 cables and 150,000 machined pieces. Once the show is over, it takes 6 hours for the production team to dismantle the stage and another 48 hours for the road crew to take down the super-structure and get it loaded onto the trucks. The stage cost $40 million to design and build and that was just for the first one. The band is currently traveling around North America with 3 complete stages tended to by 500 crew members who are using 189 Semi-trucks for its transport.

That means Bono's back surgery is going to cost the band millions of dollars. Note that manager Paul McGuinness after delivering the perfunctory "The band is devastated they can't play for you because they are artists" line, betrays to Reuters the very real monetary concern of this disaster:

Paul McGuinness, speaking to Reuters outside the Munich hospital where the operation was performed on Friday, said the 50-year-old singer "feels awful" about the tour changes, which will affect over a million fans. "Clearly this is a serious injury and the recuperation time necessary to rehabilitate Bono is a big problem for the U2 tour and has unfortunately necessitated the postponement of 16 shows in North America," he said. As well as the band and fans, the injury will also hit Live Nation, the music concert company which signed a 12-year deal to handle merchandising, digital and branding rights and touring for one of the world's most successful bands. "Obviously Bono feels terrible about missing these shows and we are working as fast as we can with Live Nation to reinstate them and reschedule them for next year," McGuinness said.

Let's hope Bono gets better and doesn't worry about the dollars. Money comes and goes but your health is paramount!

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