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By Ray Waddell, Billboard

U2 manager Paul McGuinness had a long and fruitful relationship with late, great architect/set designer Mark Fisher, who passed away on Tuesday (June 25) and was invovled with every U2 tour since 1991. Here's his thoughts on Fisher's "genius."

"I had known Mark in a previous life. Before I managed U2, back in 1973 I worked on a movie called "Zardoz," made in Ireland by the director John Boorman. It's kind of a cult movie now, sci-fi, Sean Connery, Charlotte Rampling were in it. In those days, Mark Fisher was a student at the Architectural Association in London. He and a couple of other kind of hippies from the Architectural Association worked on that movie building inflatable buildings -- it was set in the future. I always thought [the Rolling Stones tours] was where they developed the technology, and John Boorman must have heard about it and brought them in. That was the first time I met him, and then some years later he cropped up in rock 'n roll. We started working with him in 1991 and he was involved in every production since then."

The Year in Touring: U2's Mighty Roar

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Where the Streets Have No Name in Glastonbury

by Ray Waddell, Billboard

Any year in touring that includes the figure $736,421,586 can only be considered a good year for business.

That mind-blowing sum is the final tally for U2's historic 360° tour, a three-year behemoth that shattered preconceived notions (and capacities) for stadium shows, forever changed the paradigms of concert production and moved more than 7 million tickets around the globe.

When it wrapped in July, 360° went down has the highest-grossing and biggest ticket seller in the history of the business. Of those totals, $293.3 million in box office and nearly 3 million in ticket sales were generated during the Billboard touring calendar, which ran from Nov. 1, 2010, to Nov. 8, 2011-and easily enough to make 360° the top tour of the year.

Bono: U2 won't be back for a while

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Bono decides it's time to take a breather after rigorous world tour leaves him in need of some rock star rest.

Bono says it was heart-wrenching to wave goodbye to U2's 110-date monster tour but says he's done with life on the road... for a while.

In a rare interview with Guilty Pleasures, the singer lifted the lid on the Irish band's two-year 360° Tour during an evening when he was hounded and rounded on by other stars at the GQ Men of the Year Awards.

Pining for his travels across five continents, the charity campaigner told me: 'They say every tour is ten days too long. Not with this one. We genuinely loved every single night and at the end we were so sad.'

The great U2 clawback

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Iconic €20m stages up for auction as tour finally ends

By Grainne Cunningham, Irish Independent

THE Claw, the iconic centrepiece from U2's 360° tour, is up for sale to the highest bidder after the band's record-breaking tour ended in Canada at the weekend.

The massive stage structure was tested at more than 110 concerts in 78 cities in 30 countries, including two at Croke Park in Dublin.

It will be re-engineered to become a multi-use entertainment venue and is being sold by the Vancouver-based construction and real estate firm Panther Management for a fee of up to €20m.

Three 'Claws' were constructed, based on designs Bono had a hand in.

U2 was most challenging show ever: Fowler

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From left to right: Premier David Alward, promoter
Donald Tarlton, Mayor George LeBlanc and the
City of Moncton's economic development, tourism
and culture general manager Ian Fowler

Heavy rains turned concert site into quagmire and forced production delays

By Alan Cochrane, Times & Transcript staff

With 75,000 fans at the gate, the pressure of hosting the last show of the world's biggest rock tour and heavy rains that wouldn't seem to let up, Saturday's U2 concert was the most challenging ever.

"We were very thankful when it stopped raining, because the fans were able to enjoy a wonderful show in reasonable conditions," Ian Fowler, the City of Moncton's economic development, tourism and culture general manager, said as he flopped into a chair in the media tent after the show was over.

Heavy rains over two days had left the grassy field sopping wet and spongy. Heavy equipment rolling over it tore up the grass and threw a wrench into the tight schedules of setting up the production, the food vendors, sound checks and other aspects of the show. Saturday morning brought with it a steady downpour that continued through the afternoon. It was only at 6 p.m., just as the first band went onstage, that the rain stopped and the clouds began to clear. At times, there were spots of blue sky and sunshine, and by the middle of the U2 show, around 10:30 p.m., there were actually stars visible through holes in the clouds.

By Jeffrey Jolson, Hollywood Today

HOLLYWOOD, CA (Hollywood Today) 8/1/11 -- U2′s worldwide 360 Tour is now the biggest tour ever with ticket grosses of $736 million in ticket grosses alone. That is not including the band's famously lucrative merchandising income (at least another $750 million in this case), tour-related back catalogue sales, airplay royalties and multiple videos/long-play CDs the tour has and will generate.

The band reportedly earns a $1.1 billion dollar annual salary, a figure generated by money magazines even before the 360 Tour was all tallied. In the minutes you spend reading this article they will have earned about $20,000 dollars and they are probably not even awake.

U2 wraps up 360 tour

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By Ann Oldenburg, USA TODAY

U2 360° - the group's amazingly successful tour, came to an end in Moncton, N.B., Canada on Saturday night.

The tour opened in Barcelona on June 30, 2009, and, in 26 months, the group played 110 concerts for 7.1 million fans in 30 countries across five continents. The tour's biggest single audience was 108, 800 at Stadium Azteca in Mexico City on May 14.

"With tonight's final show, U2's 360° tour will go down as the biggest tour ever reported both in terms of box office gross and attendance," says Ray Waddell from Billboard in a release about the tour's end.

U2 Set to Wrap Biggest Concert Tour Ever

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by Ray Waddell, Nashville

Billboard.com

U2 will perform the 110th and final show of its monster U2 360 Tour Saturday (July 30) in Moncton, New Brunswick, wrapping up not only epic technological and musical achievements, but also going into the history books as the biggest tour ever.

When the final numbers are tallied, U2 360 will record a gross of $736,137,344 and total attendance of 7,268,430, Billboard.com has learned, both the highest tour tallies ever reported to Billboard. U2 broke the Rolling Stones' previous gross record of $558 million on April 10 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as first reported on Billboard.com April 8.

The success of 360 is a testament not only to the enduring global appeal of the band, but also its ground-breaking -- and risky -- 360-degree production, which increased the capacities of stadiums by as much as 25%.

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By Scott Mervis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

U2 is renowned for its outreach work in underprivileged countries, but don't discount what the band is doing for local economies across North America.

The Irish rock band's 360 Tour, which touches down at Heinz Field tonight, is the highest-grossing tour of all time with a massive steel structure -- dubbed "The Claw" -- that takes more than four days to construct and requires 136 touring crew members and 120 local stagehands.

Pittsburgh is the penultimate stop on this run, which began in 2009 and has topped the Rolling Stones' Bigger Bang Tour, with ticket sales expected to top $700 million and fans numbering more than 7 million.

"We have set building records in over 60 buildings," tour director Craig Evans said in a media tour Monday. "So that in itself is incredible. This band is by far the biggest band touring the world today, and you need to satisfy the biggest number of fans to come see it. U2, as great as they are live, are even greater when they are playing to all sides and the excitement and electricity is coming from all angles. It makes for a really special experience."

U2's success moves in mysterious ways

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By Scott Mervis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

If the music industry were a game, U2 would have a royal flush, own Boardwalk and Park Place and -- if you'll pardon the militaristic imagery -- would be sinking everyone else's battleships.

Thirty-five years after forming in Dublin, U2, which plays the penultimate show on its 360° World Tour at Heinz Field Tuesday, can make a case for being the most popular, most universally loved band in the world.

It has sold more than 150 million albums (seventh all time among rock bands) and has won more Grammy awards than any other band (22), and this year 360 surpassed the Rolling Stones' Bigger Bang tour as the highest-grossing concert tour of all time.

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