IT & Network Infrastructure : U2 Turns to Dell to Keep Massive Concert Stage Rattling and Humming
Dell Nerve Center
In an obscure tent, way at the back of the stadium, U2's video and sound directors manage all the lights and video from 15 cameras to go with prerecorded video and graphics for the two-hour-plus stadium "U2 360" concert. It's all controlled using off-the-shelf Dell workstations and monitors.
As anybody who's experienced a U2 concert knows, these events can fill a sports stadium with light and sound. To match the intense rock beat of the four musiciansdrummer Larry Mullen Jr., bassist Adam Clayton, guitarist The Edge, and singer Bonothe stage presentation simply has to be huge, and it is. In the case of this year's international U2 360 concert series, the stage is seven stories high and weighs 54 tons. It unfolds to cover most of a major league baseball field, and it carries virtually all the electronics directly above the stage where the band works. To ensure that each show comes off without a bit of feedback or any type of video hitch, show producer Live Nation Entertainment, which used to build all its own custom IT, now has deployed a purpose-built control package that sits in a control tent opposite the stage. The IT consists of off-the-shelf Dell Precision R5400 rack-mounted workstations and UltraSharp U2711 monitors for concert video control and management, in addition to Precision M6500 17-inch mobile workstationsused for off-site, on-the-go content creation and rendering. There is not a single customized workstation or monitor in the tent for this concert, and every function is replicated in case something goes down, which is rare. Recently eWEEK had the opportunity to check out the results of a U2 show first hand; the one in this slide show was staged June 17 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif.