U2 Rumored to Play Vanderbilt Stadium in 2011

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Too big? Artists rendering of The Claw inside Vanderbilt Stadium.

According to a post on U2gigs.com — one of the more heavily trafficked and reliable U2 fan sites (trust me, I’d know) — Ireland’s most famous foursome are considering bringing their massive 360 Tour to Vanderbilt Stadium for a July 2011 stop. The post said:

The latest hot rumour doing the rounds online is that U2 are going to return to Tennessee for the first time since the Popmart Tour and perform in Nashville. The rumor suggests that the concert will take place on 2 July 2011 at Vanderbilt Stadium. There is a sufficient gap in the schedule between the Miami show on 29 June 2011 and the Chicago show on 5 July 2011. Furthermore, since Nashville is on the way from Miami to Chicago, this rumour seems pretty plausible. A somewhat weaker rumor hints that tickets for this show could go on sale as soon as the 30th of October.

I’d actually heard this rumor a few weeks ago from a someone who’d claimed to have heard it from another someone (you know how that goes) who works for Live Nation — who are bankrolling and promoting the tour. If the rumor indeed proves true, the concert would be the band’s first in Middle Tennessee since the Joshua Tree Tour stopped at MTSU’s Murphy Center in December of 1987. It would also mark the band’s return to Vanderbilt, where they played in December of 1981. Given the band’s near quarter-century avoidance of Music City and surrounding territories, the fact that the tour has already stopped in Atlanta, our equidistant proximity to other markets, and Coldplay’s ability to sell out the Sommet Center, it’s not inconceivable that they’d finally tack a Nashville date onto their itinerary — but Vanderbilt Stadium? Is that even a feasible venue for a tour of this magnitude?

Dubbed “The Claw” — U2’s current stage is a four-legged, 164-foot-tall structure of subwoofers, moving bridges, catwalks, self-collapsing LED screens, Blackberry advertisements and solid steel that requires 120 trucks to move and days to erect. It’s the largest concert stage ever built. Not to underestimate PF Chang’s neighboring sports complex, but does Vandy Stadium have the infrastructure to accommodate such a behemoth? The trucks alone would fuck up traversing West End more than the DUI task force already does. Moreover, the capacity of the stadium hovers near the 40,000 mark — significantly less than the professional football, baseball and soccer stadiums that have almost primarily hosted the tour in other cities. I’m no economist, but, given each show’s exorbitant production costs — more than $750,000 a day — I think it’s reasonable to wonder whether or not a Vandy sellout would even break even, let alone profit. Is Live Nation aware that we have a bigger stadium? Maybe U2 just aren’t cool enough to set foot on the east side of the river.

The other factor to consider is that, like last year, U2 is a rumored Bonnaroo headliner. Also like last year, Bonnaroo weekend falls right in the middle of a 10-day gap in the band’s itinerary. Since the festival will be celebrating its 10th anniversary, you’d think this is the year they wanna bring the biggest guns they can to the marquee. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, check out U2 goin’ country in the clip below.

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