Saturday, August 26, 2006

One Step Closer...

Instead of one show in a massive stadium, U2's rescheduled concert in Japan will span three nights in a smaller arena, the Saitama Super Arena. The new venue (hereafter referred to as "the arena") is located maybe ~30 minutes out of Shinjuku on either the Saikyo line or the Keihin-Tohoku line. More transit details in a future email. I'll have to look into whether or not the trains will run late enough to provide transit back to Tokyo (Shimo Kitazawa specifically) after the concert.

Interesting thing about this arena is that it has a variable size configuration that adjusts by moving a huge section of the hall. Here's what the Saitama Super Arena website has to say for itself:

"The gigantic structure, weighing 15,000 tons and 41.5m high, moves a distance of 70 meters horizontally, a taking with it with approx. 9,000 seats and numerous facilities to transform the Main Arena into a Stadium accommodating up to 37,000."
I'm going to assume that U2 will use the largest configuration, so the max capacity of all three shows will be 111,000. The seated capacity of Nissan Stadium in Shin-Yokohama (the previously scheduled venue) is 72,327 seats. Were there 38,673 seats in GA at Nissan? I doubt it -- that means a net gain for fans looking to enjoy the U2 show!
Oh, by the way, Mariah Carey's "Emancipation of Mimi" show will play the Saitama Super Arena on October 20 & 21. The Stones played there earlier this year too. Sounds like it may be venue worthy of U2. I'll post more on the access and train schedules later.

Update: I should also say that I expect this will be a much better venue to see U2. The Super Arena is similar in size to many of the arenas U2 tends to play in the US and those are great shows. I wasn't looking forward to potentially being a mile away from the stage in Nissan Stadium. I don't know where my seats would have been or where they will be here, but at least this time I'll have three chances to get up close. :)


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