U2 at Invesco Field 360° Tour: The stage is set

UPDATE: A review of the U2 concert at Invesco Field has been posted, and below, we've added a time-lapse/highlight video clip of the claw being erected.

If the weather gods are to be believed, this string of shitty weather we've endured for the past few days will be but a distant memory by the time U2 takes the stage at Invesco with the Fray on Saturday. Temps are supposed to be somewhere around 70 degrees, which, if you ask us, is about as close to perfect as you can get.

Right now, though, it's a cold, miserable mess -- a lot like it must've been back in June 1983 for U2's now iconic performance at Red Rocks. With the Denver skyline enshrouded in clouds, it was almost like Mother Nature had set the perfect backdrop this afternoon as we got a sneak peek of the stage setup for U2's much vaunted 360° Tour.

While most of these sort of gatherings mostly tend to function as photo-ops for the nightly news, this press conference proved to be rather enlightening, with some stuff stuff we knew and some we didn't. What we learned:

- A Small Army: U2's 360° Tour travels with 132 technicians for every show, in addition to 30 staging people and 47 truck drivers.

- Extensive Staging: The entire production typically takes nine days to pull off: one day for production, one day to lay the custom flooring, four days to build the stage and two days to tear it down, in addition to the actual show.

- It All Starts In Denver: The Mile High City is the first stop of U2's current North American tour.

- Supersized: 360° has the largest and heaviest video screen ever to tour; it weighs nearly sixty tons

- The Object of the Claw: The idea was to create same sort of in-the-round vibe with 360 as they did in the arenas on their last tour, while also creating a certain intimacy in a stadium environment. "Their idea," said Jake Berry, Production Director of the 360° Tour, of architect Mark Fisher and show director Willie Williams's original concept, "was that if we build something big, we'll make the stadium look small. So if you make the stadium look small, then you get the more feeling of intimacy, and it brings the crowd closer to the band. That was how it started it off, and The Claw was just the name that it got as we dragged it around the world."

- Big Tour, Big Goals: "We're going to try to get more people in the stadium than the Broncos," said Berry, pointing out that 80,000 people are expected. "That's our aim. I bet we succeeded, actually. If we can outsell the Broncos, we'll be pretty good. Also on this tour we've outsold the Pope in East Rutherford, New Jersey. We've broken some pretty big records. This is will probably be the biggest ever to tour. I don't think anybody can tour with a show this size again."

According to Craig Evans, U2's Tour Director, 360° has surpassed all of U2's previous tours and will likely gross over $700 million, which is good, considering it's one of the most expensive tours ever.

And evidently, there's still a chance for folks who don't have tickets to see this once in a lifetime spectacle. Now that the Claw has been erected at Invesco, Evans says some seats have been added. "The exciting part," he enthused, "is that as this production is put into the stadium, the sight lines that we had all prepared for have all turned out to be even better than we had expected. And as a result we've managed to open up some tickets in all price levels around the stage in the last couple of days. From $30-$250."

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Dave Herrera and Jon Solomon