October 1, 2009

The Claw being built in Raleigh

 Photo c/o McCloud Communications

The stage isn’t quite set for U2’s arrival in Raleigh, but it’s getting there.

More than 250 people are in the process of constructing the stage in the center of the football field at North Carolina State University's Carter-Finley Stadium, where on Saturday night the legendary band will perform in Raleigh for the first time.

The 360-degree stage features “The Claw,” a towering, four-legged steel structure that holds the speaker system and a cylinndrical video screen over the performance area. A circular ramp will connect the stage to rotating bridges.

The concert on Saturday night is expected to draw 65,000 to 70,000 people. More than 600 event staff will be working the concert, and the Wake County Sheriff’s Office will provide about half the deputies that normally staff a North Carolina State University football game. A security team employed by U2 will handle many of the details for the show.

To prepare for the event, the sheriff’s office sent a team of deputies to Boston last month to see how the security detail is managed.

The daily costs of the production are an estimated $750,000, and that doesn’t include the stage construction. Truck rentals, transportation and staff wages comprise the majority of that $750,000.

The concert is so big, it is even spilling over all the way to Raleigh’s Glenwood South. Businessman Niall Hanley, the man behind the Hibernian Irish Pubs in Raleigh and Cary, is holding a pre-concert event Thursday at his other major venture, the popular night club Solas. That party will feature U2 cover band “Vertigo.”

“Raleigh has truly arrived,” says Hanley, who, like U2, hails from Ireland. “For a band of U2's caliber to come to Raleigh shows just how much our city has grown in its reputation as a brilliant place to live, work and visit.”
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