U2 took a break from the just-started second North American leg of its 360 World Tour to accept the Top Touring Artist Award -- for both the biggest tour of the year and of all-time -- at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards.
After the Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am introduced U2 as "the most important group in music, my friends and inspiration," frontman Bono said that, "Some of the greatest music is made so quietly, and you can make classic albums in your bedroom and you can play the greatest show of your life on a one-string guitar - but we don't do that." Drummer Larry Mullen, Jr., cut him short to thank the tour crew, acknowledging that "I don't know all of them, don't know all their names." Bassist Adam Clayton likened the 360 Tour stage to "a children's toy," while guitarist the Edge noted that the setting allows U2 "to feel like we've alone, surrounded by our audience completely."
U2 surpassed the Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang Tour earlier this year as the most successful tour ever. By the time the trek ends on July 30 in New Brunswick, it's expected to top $700 million in ticket sales and play to nearly eight million people. The tour was extended when the current North American leg, originally scheduled for 2010, was postponed after Bono injured his back during rehearsals.