But enforced rest could be boon to U2

The decision to postpone U2’s U.S. concerts until next year because of Bono’s back surgery not only has affected the bottom line for concert promoter Live Nation and the organizers of the Glastonbury Festival, where U2 was scheduled to headline in late June, but could make a significant dent in the 2010 concert business overall.

“When you have an act like U2 (touring), it greatly inflates the (year’s) revenues,” said Gary Bongiovanni, editor-in-chief of Pollstar.

The Irish rockers, whose shows have become huge in scale, were the top draw in the U.S. last year, accruing $123 million in gross receipts, according to Pollstar. They were the only act to top the $100 million mark (Springsteen finished at No. 2 with $94.5 million) despite playing only 20 dates. The shows also contributed to an overall 12% boost in concert revenue ($4.4 billion) over the previous year and a 14% hike in attendance (73 million).

The long-running 360 Tour (which began in June 2009) with a reported per-city overhead of $750,000 and advance ticket sales of 1 million in North America for the latest leg, was supposed to land in Anaheim on June 6-7. But with Bono’s recovery expected to take at least eight weeks, the band will skip the 16 Stateside shows scheduled to culminate in New Jersey’s Meadowlands Stadium on July 19. Instead, the band will immediately segue into its European trek, beginning Aug. 6 in Turin, Italy, once Bono is mobile.

“This is probably the most rest we’ll have had in decades,” noted the Edge on U2’s website.

In a strange way, the layoff could benefit a band that had already blown through the country late last year armed with new material (the 2009 LP “No Line on the Horizon) that might not seem as fresh this time around. “It may work to the band’s advantage to put a little distance between the dates,” Bongiovanni said.

Also, the Edge had indicated on U2.com that the band was looking forward to introducing some songs from its planned “Songs of Ascent” collection when its back up and running. “The ultimate proving ground for a tune,” he said, “is to play it live.”

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