By Tyler Hutchinson, Events Coordinator and Gemma O’Hart, Operations Coordinator, Optus Stadium

The U2 Joshua Tree Tour of Australia and New Zealand was announced in March 2019. At the time it felt like years away with the upcoming Manchester United Tour and big rugby matches still to come. But before we knew it the show was upon us.

U2 had not visited Perth since March 2010 when they played two sell out shows at Subiaco Oval under the impressive 360′ claw stage.

Following the tour announcement in March, Kelly (our Ticketing Manager) and the Ticketmaster team were busily working through on sale and ticketing build works.

Planning for the U2 Joshua Tree Tour kicked off instantly within the Events and Operations team with ticketing, bump in plans, budgets and venue circulation planning.

U2 saved the best until last and concluded the New Zealand and Australia Joshua Tree Tour at the Most Beautiful Stadium in the World.

Working with Live Nation and Big Bang Site Management, the operations team headed up by Gemma O’Hart oversaw the planning and preparation of the stage build, logistics, production and venue set up for a mammoth five day bump in with crew working approximately 18 hours each day.

Gemma and Dorian Hughes worked around the clock to ensure a smooth bump in with the added challenge of dodging the cricket wickets.  Remember … no wicket, no cricket.

The numbers were impressive!

  • 192,000 tonnes of steel were used to build the stage
  • 3 x cargo planes used to transport production equipment
  • 117 airline pallets originated in Brussels
  • 35 production trucks transporting the lights, speakers, staging, LED wall etc
  • 17 steel containers transporting the stage structure and delay tours
  • 1,200sqm LED video wall. To put that into perspective our impressive super screens are 340sqm
  • 15 forklifts
  • Approx 150 site crew
  • Over 4km of temporary fence and crowd control barrier… that’s enough temporary fencing/queuing from Optus Stadium to Kings Park

Whilst we can’t share all the secrets and artist requests, we can share a couple of backstage secrets.

U2 are proud environmentalists and had strict rider rules regarding single use plastic at the venue. All crew and backstage staff used recyclable cups and Neverfail water units as plastic bottles and single use plastic was banned.

Bono and the boys did a live cross to Sydney for the 2019 ARIA awards. The cross was originally planned in the River View Room however was relocated at the last minute. The extreme heat was tough for the Irish gents!

An unnamed member of the band had a dedicated steam room on his rider.

U2 Band & Management had ten dedicated private chauffeurs.

Due to the mammoth bump in and long hours, the crew catering was often open 24 hours.

Bono gave a special gift to a member of the Operations team as he walked on stage.  You’ll have to ask this person for more information!!

Event Day kicked off early with approximately 250 passionate fans queuing overnight / early morning to get the best spot at the front barrier.

Gemma in action

The “First 500” are a dedicated group of “super fans” who are local and international fans who travel and follow U2 Tours. The first of the fans actually arrived during our first Christmas Markets on the Sunday.

Each “First 500” patron received a numbered wristband.  Entry into the GA standing area was then permitted in numerical order.

These sized shows are not possible without our great team of dedicated staff. Over 1000 staff were onsite for the concert including approximately 200 cleaners, 500 security staff, 350 customer service staff, 600+ catering staff and many more.

The highlight of my day was the successful entry of the First 500 & Red Zone fans, closely followed by the dedicated fan spotted entering the stadium. This particular fan had shaved the letters U2 into his beard. I was very impressed and slightly jealous.

The U2 concert broke our bump out and clean up record as we prepare for the Test Match and Boundary Beach Club.

Whether you helped with the great wristband rip-a-thon, relabelled seats or helped during the show with relocates – thank you for making the U2 Joshua Tree Tour a success.