SANTA CLARA (KPIX 5) — Thousands of rock fans attended Wednesday night’s big U2 concert as the band celebrates the 30th anniversary of their iconic Joshua Tree album by playing the record in its entirety.
But the band broke curfew.
The city of Santa Clara has said that if they break curfew, the 49ers would be fined.
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The current tour marks the first time the band has played the album in full.
“The reason this is such a big deal is because Joshua Tree is the album that took U2 from being an important band to the biggest band in the world,” said Jayn, ALICE 97.3 on-air DJ Jayn.
But even a band as big as U2 wasn’t able to escape the pull of small-town politics.
“There are a lot of families that live nearby the stadium,” said Santa Clara City Councilwoman Teresa O’Neill.
Santa Clara officials are accusing the 49ers — who manage Levi’s Stadium — of intentionally ignoring the city’s 10 p.m. curfew and scheduling the Irish rockers to have their concert mid-week.
“We’ve had some issues with concerts in the past that didn’t start on time that were being held in the middle of the week,” said O’Neill. “And we were thrilled to have them in Santa Clara, but we also have to stand up for and address the concerns of our 12,000 residents.”
The 49ers, who declined to talk on camera, said they asked for a one-time exception to the curfew in January but were denied. Team officials claim they are making every effort to insure the concert ends on time.
Another possible conflict which could have left thousands of concertgoers stranded at the end of the concert was averted after the VTA and the 49ers were able to come to an agreement over additional train service after the show ends.
“There will be extra service to make sure people can get there and get home safely and efficiently and in a timely way,” said VTA spokesperson Stacy Ross.
The VTA says the extra trains and staffing it provides for special events at Levi’s Stadium are costing the transit agency between $2 million and $3 million a year.
“We were told informally that the concert might be ending late. So we offered to have later than usual, extended service after the concert,” said Ross. “And we asked the 49ers to reimburse us for that.”
The 49ers described VTA’s last-minute request as “an ultimatum” designed to strong-arm the team into footing the bill for services that no other stadium, arena or concert venue currently has to cover.
The VTA is staring in the face of a $21 million deficit this year. Officials say they only want the 49ers to pay their fair share.
“VTA has to incur a lot of overtime and other costs to insure that there’s enough trains and people working at the end of these events,” said O’Neill, who also serves on the VTA board.