U2 will not be able to plan a lavish Christmas if they are depending on royalties from their 360 tour to do so. As the band wraps up the 2009 part of their world tour, they have yet to hit the breakeven point.
Of course the Dublin band are not short a bob or two, but despite breaking attendance records, selling out stadia and reinventing the concept of outdoor concerts, U2’s accountant still haven’t found what they are looking for – a profit, or even enough to cover expenses.
The longtime manager of the Irish rockers, Paul McGuinness, revealed the extreme daily overhead costs on the band’s 360 Tour.
Whether they’re playing a show that night or not, U2 spends no less than $750,000 daily.
“That's just to have the crew on payroll, to rent the trucks, all that,” McGuinness told Billboard earlier this year. “There's about 200 trucks. Each stage is 37 trucks, so you're up to nearly 120 there. And then the universal production is another 50-odd trucks, and there are merchandise trucks and catering trucks.”
And these expenses don’t count the construction costs of the band’s 150-foot spaceship-like stage, which is called “The Claw.”
As the Claw cannot be put together indoors, the Irish quartet will rest up for the winter before kicking off again in the Spring, with their final show for 2009 comes on October 28 in Vancouver.
Earlier this year, McGuinness said he didn’t expect to break even until the end of the 2009 leg of the 360 Tour.
“The engineering problems are enormous and costly,” McGuinness said. “We had to find a way for it to be aesthetic and figure out a way of doing video. That cylindrical screen we have – that didn't exist, we had to get somebody to invent that. We had to design this four-legged thing (the claw) – and build three of them.”
Though they might be giving the money men minor coronaries as the tour still stumbles around in the red, the band are also showing that they are willing to gamble on short term losses as they strive to create a U2 experience that will last long in the memories of fans – even if it means taking a hit on the overall profits that are likely to flourish in the 2010 part of the tour.