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After 18 months of anticipation, U2 will perform in Salt Lake City on May 24, to hold us, thrill us, kiss us and kill us, hard, with its songs.

It remains to be seen what the weather will be — will we be warm in the night, or cold as a stone? What's sure is that Utahns will go crazy if they don't go crazy that night.

Enough with the song lyrics.

U2, the biggest band in the world, brings to town the biggest touring show ever. The band's 360° Tour defies words, so we asked industry experts to do the talking. We've interviewed the tour director, music journalists, a filmmaker and a Park City man who impersonates Bono. Listen to them expound on the phenomenon of U2:

Steve Kandell • Deputy editor of Spin, who reported and wrote the magazine's March 2009 U2 cover story.

Kandell followed U2 in Dublin as the band was finishing recording its 2009 album, "No Line On the Horizon," and preparing to embark on the current two-year international tour. Kandell headlined his story "What Makes U2 Run?" and attempted to answer the question.

He was skeptical at first about whether the band could remain relevant, but came away with a different opinion. "They're more genuinely driven than they need to be," he told The Tribune. "They seem to not rest on their laurels."

Kandell called the band a "restless, sleepless entity," in its own category when it comes to music and touring shows. "Zoo TV [U2's 1992-93 tour] had an idea behind it. This is not an idea. It's an idea in engineering, but it's not a way to think about your life. And they'll be the first to admit it."

As for sightlines in Rice-Eccles Stadium, Kandell said those in the nosebleed seats needn't worry. "If you have 'good seats,' you're not getting the full scope."

Bill Carter • Director of the film "Miss Sarajevo," which inspired a U2 song of same name, and the author of Fools Rush In, an account of living in Bosnia and Herzegovina during wartime.

The Arizona resident deserves credit for the idea of bringing "Sarajevo to U2" during the Zoo TV tour. Thanks to satellite linkups at U2 concerts, Sarajevo residents told their story to music fans of the world.

While working for a Sarajevo television station, Carter finagled a meeting with Bono in Italy to tell him about the atrocities of everyday life in the war-torn city. Bono seemed genuinely moved by Carter's stories and suggested that U2 perform there. Carter responded that the concert would likely invite more bloodshed from terrorists, and instead suggested a live satellite feed from Sarajevo that could be projected onto giant video screens during the rock band's concerts.

Ten days later, U2 broadcast a live report from Carter and two Sarajevo residents. The reports continued on more tour stops, in what would become one of the most famous new concert ideas in recent history.

Over the years, Carter has kept in contact with the band, and has no patience with critics who complain that Bono's political activism appears self-serving. "Would you rather have a guy who can wield power, or do nothing?" Carter asked. "He's been at this for a long time. He's still at it. That takes an incredible sustaining spirit."

Ray Waddell • Senior editor for touring at Billboard and co-author of the definitive industry guide, This Business of Concert Promotion & Touring.

In April, U2's 360° Tour had grossed more than $558 million in ticket sales, which made it the highest-grossing concert tour ever, according to Waddell, who reports on touring shows for Billboard.

When the band played in Mexico City earlier this month, newer songs on the setlist — such as "Magnificent," "City of Blinding Lights, " "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight" and "Moment of Surrender" — appeared to be strongly received by fans, Waddell said. "It's obvious they play hungry."

Craig Evans • U2 tour director, who has been working with the band since 1997-98's PopMart Tour. This show is "the pinnacle of a touring person's career," he said.

Rice-Eccles Stadium is one of the smallest stadiums the band will play during the two-year tour, offering Utah concertgoers an even more intimate experience.

Evans and longtime U2 stage designer Willie Williams are most proud of the signature element of this year's tour, which has unofficially been dubbed The Claw and requires 115 trucks to transport it. It's a 164-foot-tall steel structure that spans the width of a stadium — appearing something like a living space station — and encompasses an in-the-round set. The Claw is perched on four legs with a custom-made 360-degree video screen.

The span of the structure, combined with its height, is twice as high as the previous biggest touring stage set, designed for the Rolling Stones' 2005-07 A Bigger Bang Tour.

Tony Oros • Of Park City Productions; has impersonated Bono for more than eight years in the tribute band Rattle and Hum.

"Anytime you do a U2 show, we have a pretty good turnout," Oros said. His tribute band specializes in sing-along anthems, including "Where the Streets Have No Name" and "Bullet the Blue Sky."

His impersonation is fueled by his admiration for Bono and the band. "I like them for the reasons that others don't like them for," he said. "U2 is passionate and pour their heart out. You can do the Bret Michaels thing and not do anything, but U2 has a platform and uses it."

Unfortunately, Oros will be out of town on Tuesday, playing a private gig, and won't be able to see U2 live. and

Twitter: @davidburger —

Find what you're looking for

U2 performs, with The Fray opening. The U2 360° Tour previously scheduled for June 3, 2010, was rescheduled. Original tickets will be honored.

When • Tuesday, May 24, 7 p.m.

Where • Rice-Eccles Stadium, 451 S. 1400 East, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $30 to $250 at SmithsTix