NEWS
07/11/2011 08:07 EDT | Updated 09/10/2011 05:12 EDT

U2 Toronto Concert Draws 60,000 To Rogers Centre, On 360-Degree Tour

THE CANADIAN PRESS -- TORONTO - U2 rocked the Rogers Centre on Monday night, kicking off the penultimate Canadian show of its record-breaking tour with "Even Better Than the Real Thing."

The band came on stage one by one, with Bono, sleek in black, the last to emerge.

"Give me one more chance, and you'll be satisfied," sang the 51-year-old Irishman as he opened with a selection from 1991's "Achtung Baby."

"Come on now Hogtown," he yelled at one point during the opener.

Bono strapped on a guitar for the next song, "The Fly."

The sold-out show drew a crowd pegged by promoters as 60,000-plus to the domed stadium on a warm night as the Irish band made up for a date a year ago that was cancelled due to Bono's back injury.

Forecasts of thundershowers initially kept the roof on tight, but the crowd cheered as the roof began to open at 7 p.m. ET. The band also played under the stars when it visited the venue in September 2009.

The so-called Claw -- which stands 50 metres high over the open circular stage and houses lighting, speakers and other electronics -- was positioned at the north end of the stadium, covering what is usually the Blue Jays' outfield.

The antenna atop the Claw poked near the packed away roof, well above the Jays' World Series pennants.

Underneath, an unadorned circular stage connected to an outer ring with three bridges -- like an inverted peace symbol. Fans jammed inside the circle with more on the outside, with little room left to move on the stadium floor.

Above the stage, a circular video screen beamed the show taking place underneath in a size fitting to the supersized venue.

The "360 Degree Tour" is in its third leg, having originally started on June 30, 2009, in Barcelona. The first leg saw stops in Toronto and Vancouver.

The second leg, shortened by Bono's back surgery, was last year.

The third leg has seen 2011 shows in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Montreal and now Toronto with the finale set for Moncton, N.B. on July 30.

A graphic on the video screen prior to U2 said "Babies Born to Crew During Tour: 17." For those wondering, another message put the number of touring personnel at 436.

Monday's performance in Toronto marked the 105th show, with six left in Philadelphia, St. Louis, East Rutherford, N.J., Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and Moncton.

The tour has been a record money-maker.

Billboard reported in April that it had already surpassed the US$558 million gross set by the Rolling Stones' "Bigger Bang" tour from 2005-07. U2's tour total is expected to reach $700 million by the time the band calls it a wrap.

And last month Forbes magazine crowned U2 as the world's highest-paid musicians, having earned US$195 million the past year.

Tickets for the Toronto show ranged from C$32 to $252.

Monday's opening act was Interpol, which kicked off its dark guitar-and-drum-heavy sound with "Success."

Outside the songs, frontman Paul Banks didn't offer much other than a polite thank you and a title. But his voice and the New York band's booming sound touched a nerve, especially on songs like "Lights."

After thanking U2 for the opportunity, they wrapped up a tight stylish 45-minute set with "Slow Hands."

The wait for the main event ended just after 9 p.m. ET, with those in the crowd with a view applauding as two large white SUVs rolled up behind the stage.

David Bowie's "Space Oddity" started over the speakers and it was showtime with the giant screen showing the band members making their way from backstage.