Rejiggering the tour midstream was “challenging,” says Fogel. But the team moved quickly from the initial shock to rebuilding the North American leg for a year later, and did that so expertly that they not only were able to put most fans in the exact seat they would have been had the tour gone off as planned, but also found seven more shows, including the band’s first Nashville stop in 30 years.
“It was difficult at the time, but the most amazing thing through it all was the refund rate across all the shows was only about 9%, which is ridiculous,” says Fogel. “And we resold all those tickets.”
The final North American dates are considered by those involved to be among the band’s best on the tour, and mark a triumphant return to stadiums on this continent after the last stadium run in PopMart, which struggled to sell tickets in some markets. U2 played stadiums internationally but arenas in North America on the Vertigo tour in 2005-2007 the Elevation tour of 2001.
“After PopMart, the strategy was definitely to build back up North America, under-play, create that buzz and that demand, and I think we did a great job with that,” says Fogel, who has now produced four of the top five highest-grossing tours of all time. “To go outdoors in America this time, particularly with this production, is a story in itself. This thing, apart from, obviously, the band, great musicians, great music, great songs, was about creating that buzz in the world about this production. That was the hook.”
Now that U2 360 is set to close, Fogel says the magnitude of the accomplishment, which he calls a “career highlight,” is “finally starting to sink in.”