U2 to pay to expand stadium to play Montreal

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Montreal Gazette

MONTREAL -- U2 is putting up $3 million to expand Montreal's former horse racing stadium so it can accommodate 60,000 to 80,000 people for a show this summer.

The fact that the band is fronting the costs of building the venue for the July 16 event is a testament to its love of Montreal, according to Jacques Aube, vice-president and general manager of promoter Gillett Entertainment Group.

Gillett and tour promoter Live Nation have been working on the possibility of a Montreal date for months. The biggest problem was finding a venue big enough to host the show (including the 150-foot-wide (45-metres) stage, featuring a massive, steel spider-like structure) and comply with U2's request for an open-air stadium.

The Olympic Stadium's roof is not retractable, so that 60,000-seat venue wasn't viable; Jean Drapeau Park is too small and even the Hippodrome, the former racetrack, wasn't big enough originally, which led to talks of constructing a venue specifically for the concert.

© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service

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