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NASHVILLE (Billboard) - U2 will kick off its world tour in Barcelona on June 30, and will begin the North American leg at Chicago's Soldier Field on September 12, sources told Billboard.
The official announcement of the "U2360" stadium trek in support of the Irish rockers' new album "No Line on the Horizon" will be made on March 9.
The shows will boast 360-degree audience configuration, ambitious staging and a cylindrical video screen.
"We're very excited about the idea to go on the road with this album," guitarist the Edge said. "It's an album that I think is going to translate so well to the live context. The songs we've tried in rehearsal are sounding fantastic, so that's got everyone really fired up."
U2 plans to stay on the road through the fall of 2010, playing between 90 and 100 shows. The initial European leg will wrap August 22, and the North American leg on October 28, combining for 40-45 shows this year.
In 2010, U2 will return to North America in June-July, and to Europe in August-September. The trek then tentatively will hit South America. The tour is destined to become one of the highest-grossing tours ever; at $389 million, the band's 2005-2007 Vertigo tour is second only to the Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang trek, which also ran from 2005 to 2007.
After playing arenas in North America and stadiums elsewhere on their last few tours, U2 will play stadiums everywhere this time out.
"This is going to be completely different, and that's what makes it exciting -- finding something new to bring to the touring culture," said the Edge. "It's hard to come up with something that's fundamentally different, but we have, I think, on this tour. Where we're taking our production will never have been seen before by anybody, and that's an amazing thing to be able to say. For a band like U2 that really thrive on breaking new ground, it's a real thrill."
Playing in a 360 configuration will increase the capacity by about 15%-20%, depending on the stadium. The top ticket price will be slightly higher than last time and the bottom price will be lower, with the floor seats -- the closest to the stage -- the lowest priced. In fact, playing larger capacity venues allows for more conservative pricing overall. Field level is going to be $55, and there will be 10,000 tickets a show, every show, at $30. The price points are $250, $90-$95, depending on the market; $55 and $30.
On-sales will begin in Europe in mid-March, and North American on-sales will start in late March/early April. U2 will also resurrect its random upgrade program first seen on the Elevation tour in 2001, where select fans purchasing general-admission tickets will be moved closest to the stage.
Editing by Dean Goodman at Reuters