Bono back as U2 set to resume Euro tour

Surgery forced band to postpone U.S. tour to May 2011

NASHVILLE -- U2 singer Bono is ready to rock after back surgery sidelined him for two months, and forced the band to postpone its North American tour by a year to May 2011.

The Irish rockers begin the second European leg of their 360 world tour on Friday in Italy.

"Things have gone very, very well," U2 manager Paul McGuinness said by phone from Turin, where he had just watched the band rehearse the entire show on stage. "We did a full run-through, with no breaks, straight through the show, and Bono was moving very well," McGuinness said. "He's fit."

Bono, 50, underwent emergency back surgery in May after injuring himself during training. His subsequent rehabilitation forced the band to delay the tour's second North American leg. The 16-date trek had been due to begin in Salt Lake City on June 3, but will now kick off in Denver on May 21.

The band has a seven-month break before Denver, prompting speculation that it will head to Australia and New Zealand for a series of shows. McGuinness declined to comment.

U2 began the 360 tour in Barcalona in June 2009. Most of the markets on the current 22-date leg will be new to this tour, though the band is returning to Paris where it sold out two Stade de France dates last year. Depending upon currency fluctuations, the European run will end up grossing more than $120 million (£75.6 million) and move about 1.25 million tickets.

Last year, 360 grossed more than $311 million and sold more than 3 million tickets in Europe and North America, according to Billboard Boxscore.

Had this year's North American dates taken place, U2 would have come very close to topping the $558 million generated by the Rolling Stones' 2005-2007 Bigger Bang tour, the highest grossing tour of all time, according to Boxscore. But U2 will eventually claim the record, grossing close to $600 million when all is said and done.

"The figures will probably be unbeatable, unless somebody else does a tour that increases the capacities of the buildings by 20% these records we're setting will stand for a long time," said McGuinness.
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