Irish rockers U2 have revealed they picked a space-age circular stage for their world tour — kicking off spectacularly tonight at Barcelona’s giant 97,500-capacity Camp Nou stadium.
Bono & co's 100-date, £90m U2360 tour will arrive in Dublin next month.
U2’s small central set, tipped to rotate, is beneath a giant, four-legged construction dubbed the “Claw” measuring a world-record 50metres high, 58m wide and 47m deep.
Based on Los Angeles Airport’s Theme Building, the Claw is so big that roadies first arrived four weeks ago to build it.
The tour, the band’s first since 2005's Vertigo, is their most expensive in their 33 years together, in which time they have been touted as the best live act on the planet.
Show director Willie Williams disclosed the group think they can cement their status as top live band by ditching traditional end-of-stadium stages for a circular stage on the pitch, backed by a vast lighting display.
The band are also set to shock fans with 150-minute performances featuring some songs never before played live, plus an acoustic version of Mysterious Ways, a rock revamp of Walk On and a dance music remix of I’ll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight.
The show is set to open with Breathe and end with Moment of Surrender, both from new album No Line on the Horizon.
There will also be a speech about South African anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and a Michael Jackson tribute is expected.
Show director Williams said: “I’m quite regularly approached by total strangers burning to tell me a U2 show was ‘the high point of my life.’
“I’m not exaggerating — these shows affect people’s lives in a deeply-significant way and somehow provide meaning.
“But big-screen video backdrops have swamped every other idea in live performance. How could pioneering U2 respond to a world where every show out there looks like a cross between U2's Zoo TV and PopMart?
“Throwing away the big video backdrop, the most powerful visual tool, is brave and dangerous. But perhaps a more powerful backdrop would be a stadium full of people.
“In-the-round structures can look like bandstands, without real power, so our breakthrough was making the stage so big it becomes part of the stadium.”
Bono said: “We’ve been here (rehearsing) for two weeks because we’re trying to do something that’s never been done before.
“We’re always trying to do something unique and special.”
U2 play Croke Park, Dublin, on July 24, 25 and 27.
U2 360 TOUR: THE PROBABLE SET LIST
No Line On The Horizon
Get On Your Boots
I Still Haven't Found What I’m Looking For
Angel Of Harlem
In A Little While
The Unforgettable Fire
City Of Blinding Lights
I’ll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Pride (In The Name Of Love)
(Desmond Tutu speech)
Where The Streets Have No Name
Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
With Or Without You
Moment Of Surrender