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"McDonald's called, but I think they have a sense of humor. And as I've said, the parabolic curve has no copyright." — Paul McGuiness, on the PopMart tour arch

U2 Tour Finances

Financial Times (London)
It would have been very easy for U2 to become a sad, middle-aged irrelevance after 1997's poorly-received Pop album and the subsequent PopMart tour, which was plagued by technical glitches and sluggish ticket sales. But the band surprised everyone with this year's All That You Can't Leave Behind, an album that is on the way to matching the success of 1987's The Joshua Tree. The manager and so-called "fifth member of U2," Paul McGuinness, who has managed the four-piece since 1978, has played an important role in keeping the band fresh and relevant, working with them to ensure they have the best business environment in which to make, promote and perform their music.

According to industry analysts Pollstar, this year's Elevation 2001 arena tour has been a phenomenal success -- grossing Dollars 69m in North America alone, before the scheduled 25 dates this autumn.

Pollstar predicts that the total tour gross in North America will be about Dollars 100m, making it either the second or third biggest tour of all time in North America.

"Clear Channel (owned by SFX) bought the worldwide tour rights and the band was guaranteed a profit before the first date was played," says Pollstar's Gary Bongiovanni. "I suspect this will be the most profitable tour the band has done."

McGuinness received another big boost recently when his other major act, PJ Harvey, won the prestigious Mercury Music Prize.

© Financial Times, 2001. All rights reserved.