Stage For U2 Concert Has Some City Officials Concerned

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Not only is it one of the biggest concerts to ever hit the Twin Cities, it brings with it one of the largest concert stages ever assembled.

Minneapolis is home to one of the last concerts on the U2-360 Tour.

Some city officials said along with the show came a big mess to clean up afterward. WCCO-TV talked to those in charge of the facilities at TCF Bank Stadium about the concern over preserving the Twins Cities’ newest field.

‘The Claw’ is the Twin Cities newest visitor.  It’s a four legged, 167-foot tall superstructure.

“It’s the largest sound system, the largest video screen, largest stage,” U2 Stage Manager Rocko Reedy said.

It’s a production of almost 500 workers, all running at a production cost of $750,000 per day. Included in the cost is an aluminum panel floor.

One of the aluminum panels is said to weigh 400 pounds.  Groundskeepers at TCF Bank Stadium said the saving grace is underneath the panels is just artificial grass.

“Working with Live Nation, we’ve talked about this extensively with them-that typically, when they go to a facility with an artificial surface like we have, there’s very little damage once they pull out,” said University of Minnesota Facilities Director Scott Ellison.

The concert is U2’s 107th stop during a 2-and-a-half year tour.

Several other concert venues have had the difficult task of trying to restore real grass. Michigan State recently received a $253,000 check from Live Nation to restore their field.

“If it can be fixed immediately, they’ll fix it immediately whether they pay for it or whether we fix it and then bill them for it,” said Ellison.

Damage or not, you can expect days of clean-up. Last weekend, U2 toured St. Louis’ Busch Memorial Stadium. Officials there said they now have their work cut out for them. 

“It’ll take a good part of three days to get it all done,” said Joe Abernathy, V-P of Stadium Operations for Bush Memorial Stadium.

The U of M said they understand that hard work must be done, but come Saturday, they’re ready to play.

“We’re very excited to host this concert. It’s going be a great show,” said Ellison.

Businesses on Washington Avenue are also cashing in. The General Manager at Campus Pizza and Pasta, Jim Rosvold, plans to quadruple his staff and expand his seating.

“It’s going to be crazy,” said Rosvold. “We had a taste of this with our football games. They had 50,000 people and it was a crazy day here.”

At Stub and Herb’s Dining Emporium they’ll open up a beer garden.

“It’s going to be like football,” said Travis Grant, bar manager. “A lot of times at the football game it sells out for 50,000 but only 40,000 come. This time it’s going to be 65,000 for sure and they say another 30,000 will be walking around listening.”

People can start lining up at 6 a.m. Saturday. The gates for general admission open at 4:30 p.m. The reserved seating opens at 5 p.m. The box office at the stadium will be open for people who want to buy a ticket the day of.

“We’re very excited to host this concert it’s going to be a great show,” said Ellison.

Click here for a photo gallery of TCF Bank Stadium getting prepped for the concert


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