U2 defend their footprint

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The Edge brands green criticism of their extraordinary stage 'unfair'

U2 guitarist The Edge has defended the size and cost of their world tour.

Last month, protests delayed the removal of the custom-built set from Ireland and it also came under fire from Talking Heads singer David Byrne.

The three steel structures cost between £15m and £20m each, offering a largely unobstructed view of the rock quartet.

"We're spending the money on our fans, I don't think there's a better thing you could spend it on," said The Edge backstage at Wembley.

Using the "claw" structure will enable 88,000 fans to grace Wembley Stadium tonight (14 Aug) at the first night of the UK leg of their 360 Degree world tour, exceeding all previous attendance records for a show at the venue, organisers have claimed.

But despite it being the most ambitious stage set of any band's world tour, topping the likes of Madonna and The Rolling Stones, Talking Heads frontman David Byrne was not impressed.

He slammed the band on his blog and said their world tour costs are "excessive", considering their stance on world hunger."

While on tour in Europe he wrote: "$40 million to build the stage and, having done the math, we estimate 200 semi trucks crisscrossing Europe for the duration.

"It could be professional envy speaking here, but it sure looks like, well, overkill, and just a wee bit out of balance given all the starving people in Africa and all."

When asked whether the Irish rock veterans were stung by the criticism they received, The Edge told BBC 6 Music's Julie Cullen: "I think anybody that's touring is going to have a carbon footprint.

"I think it's probably unfair to single out rock 'n' roll. There's many other things that are in the same category but as it happens we have a programme to offset whatever carbon footprint we have."

When the tour reached Croke Park stadium in Ireland's capital last month, residents were angry at Dublin City's Council for giving roadies permission to work through the night, with up to 100 trucks expected to drive through the narrow lanes around the venue.

"I think that's probably about as realistic as you can be right now," continued The Edge. "We'd love to have some alternative to big trucks bringing the stuff around but there just isn't one."

© 2009 BBC

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This page contains a single entry by Rita published on August 15, 2009 1:19 AM.

U2 stages 'to become gig venues' was the previous entry in this blog.

Wembley record 'broken by U2 gig' is the next entry in this blog.

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