Sights set on U2 stage construction

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Work continues in preparation for July 30 show at Magnetic Hill

By Craig Babstock, Times & Transcript Staff

With work crews finishing the grandstand seating at the Magnetic Hill concert site over the next day or so, attention will soon turn to building the massive U2 stage.

For anyone who has seen the band on its 360? Tour in support of 2009's No Line on the Horizon album, or seen photos from the shows, U2 performs under what looks like a massive claw.

According to information provided by the promoter, the stage includes a cylindrical video system of interlocking LED panels, and a steel structure rising 150 feet from the floor over a massive stage with rotating bridges. Long-time U2 show director Willie Williams and architect Mark Fisher, who have worked on the band's previous ZooTV, PopMart, Elevation and Vertigo tours over the last 20 years, have combined to create a 360? design, which affords an unobstructed view for the audience.

"We've had some great stages on the hill," says Shane Porter, manager of venues for the city's Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Culture. "The Bigger Bang Tour with the Rolling Stones was a great stage and AC/DC had an elaborate, impressive stage. But it's a coup to get something like this U2 stage here."

Back in the spring, the city created a stage pad to support the gigantic structure and at the same time made some improvements to the site's drainage system to help clear out water after heavy rainfalls.

The band played in Montreal for two nights on July 8 and 9 and a few days after those shows the aluminum seats began to arrive in Moncton. Workers have been adding those 29,000 seats to the grandstand over the past several days.

"The crews are finishing up that grandstand build and the bulk of the work should be completed in the next day or two, with some final touches after that," says Porter.

While details such as the location of food vendors and water stations are being worked out, the stage will be the next major project.

"It's on schedule and Sunday or Monday we should start seeing things fall into place," says Porter.

The public is able to check in on the progress through the webcam located at http://magnetichillmusicfestival.ca. The live video currently shows three sets of grandstands surrounding an empty space, but once stage construction begins, that view will change daily.

The city is also converting the old Magnetic Hill Zoo train station, near the zoo parking lot, into a permanent box office that will have 24 windows where people can purchase and pick up previously purchased tickets. The city hopes the new facility will help ease delays and move people more quickly into the concert site.

"There's been a spike in ticket sales with the nice weather, so we encourage people to get their tickets if they're planning on going to the show," says Porter.

The number of tickets sold so far has not been released, but Porter says the site can handle about 80,000 people. While the hill might be able to fit more people than that, a bigger crowd would be a challenge to get in and out of the site.

"We know 80,000 people is proven, so we're quite comfortable to stay in that area," he says.

Tickets for the reserved grandstand seats are available at $99.50 and $199.50, while general admission tickets are available at $65. All tickets include taxes but are subject to applicable service charges. They can be purchased online at www.Ticketmaster.ca and www.Livenation.com with some general admission tickets available at Needs Convenience Stores across Atlantic Canada, the Moncton Coliseum Box Office or by phone at 1-888-720-5600.

© 2011 CanadaEast Interactive, Brunswick News Inc. All rights reserved.

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on July 20, 2011 8:29 AM.

The Edge Denies Accusations of U2 Tax Evasion was the previous entry in this blog.

U2 Revisit the Nineties at Epic New Jersey Show is the next entry in this blog.

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