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"Dublin Build Up" U2 stage set 'the biggest in rock history'


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U2's stage show for this weekend's series of concerts at Croke Park is the biggest in rock music history, the band's tour director has said.

The colossal edifice, which resembles a giant claw, is nearly 60 metres high and the same distance wide.

It is currently being put in place for the concerts which take place on Friday, Saturday and Monday nights.

Craig Evans said the band had spared no expense in putting the 360 tour together and the travelling party numbered around 500 people with 2,000 people in eachcity being involved in ancillary activities such as ticket sales and promotion.

Mr. Evans said the band have been "thrilled for a long time" about the prospects of playing three concerts in their home town. However, he expressedregret that the full 360 experience of playing in the round will not be available to Irish fans because of the layout of Croke Park.

The audience will not be allowed on Hill 16 behind the main stage because of health and safety concerns.

"It's a shame. we're subject to the design and physical limitations of every stadium. With the power and access and safety requirement and soundrequirement, this stadium just doesn't allow it," he said.

"We looked at every option we could to put people back there. We wanted to be able to utilise that. It is fantastic when you see it in the round."

However, fans will be able to go to the pitch area at the back of the stage giving a semblance of the band playing in the round.

Tickets are still available for Friday and Monday night's concerts. Promoter MCD's spokesman Justin Green said fans were coming from as far away asBrazil, Japan, Canada and the U.S. to watch U2 play their home town and the event was attracting 300 foreign media personnel.

He also said the Irish Hotels Federation was on the record as saying that this was one of the first weekends of the year where all hotels in the city arebooked up.

Gardaí urged motorists to avoid the Croke Park area in the lead-up to the concerts especially on Monday when Ikea opens in Ballymun and Dublin city's newbus gate at Trinity College opens.

Unfortunately, heavy showers are forecast for Friday, though Saturday should be a better day. Monday is likely to see more of the same so fans are asked todress for the weather.

© Irish Times, 2009.

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