After Rocky Start, U2 Sorts Out Paperless Ticket Issues on Joshua Tree Tour

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David Howell Evans aka The Edge (L) and Bono of U2 perform onstage during the 2016 iHeartRadio Music Festival - Night 1 held at T-Mobile Arena on Sept. 23, 2016 in Las Vegas.  

Long Lines at First 'Joshua Tree' Show Blamed on Stadium Issues, Paperless Tickets

Irish rockers U2 seemed to have fixed the ticketing issues that caused confusion and long lines at the first two shows on their Joshua Tree Tour -- problems that stemmed from the band’s efforts to thwart ticket scalpers.

In what is one of the biggest tests of “paperless tickets” to date, U2’s current Joshua Tree Tour requires fans to present their credit card and ID to gain access to highly coveted floor seats. The anti-resale technology is designed to make it difficult for scalpers to flip their tickets on sites like StubHub.

The test got off to a rocky start, with thousands of fans stuck outside of BC Place stadium in Vancouver Friday (May 12) trying to access the show with many confused about where to queue up for access. Fans were unclear which lines to stand in, particularly for general-admission entry to the stadium floor, and many were stuck outside the stadium when opening act Mumford and Sons took to the stage.

“This was not acceptable and falls well below the standard of service we expect to deliver,” BC Place spokesman Duncan Blomfield said in a statement, though he added that refunds would not be issued.

But at the third stop on the tour at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., Wednesday (May 17) fans entered the venue without a hitch, thanks to increased staffing and better preparation, Live Nation officials tell Billboard. They blamed the problems in Vancouver on a last-minute minute mix-up surrounding which gates could accept paperless tickets. 

The only disgruntled parties after the Santa Clara show were city officials, with Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor Tuesday complaining during a City Council meeting that U2 had played past the city’s mid-week curfew, wrapping up at 11 p.m. despite a city law requiring concerts to end at 10 p.m. But she blamed the San Francisco 49ers, who host events at the stadium.

“We are a little upset about it because the 49ers planned to break the law with our noise ordinance,” said Gillmor during the meeting. “It has caused us tremendous amount of problems.”

In January, the team approached the City Council and asked the curfew be extended from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m, but the council rejected the request. Gillmor and Santa Clara leaders are considering fines for the stadium.