U Arena Opens With Stones Triple

Paris has a new arena, , and it opens with a Rolling Stones triple, Oct. 19, 22 and 25. The concerts are part of the iconic band’s No Filter tour through Europe. Here’s the lowdown.  

U Arena Paris
– U Arena Paris

Worldwide promoter of the No Filter tour is AEG / Concerts West and Andrew Zweck’s Sensible Events, while Jackie Lombard’s Interconcerts promotes the French leg.

“We’re just finishing up construction, which should be completed by Oct. 1,” U Arena’s general manager, Philippe Ventadour, told Pollstar.

Each of the three sold-out dates has a capacity of 36,000. This amounts to a greater audience than the Stones could have had at one Stade de France concert, which is where the band would usually go when hitting Paris.

“They wanted something new, a venue they have never been before. So I suggested this new venue, an indoor arena and the biggest in Europe. I think it’s very exciting,” said Lombard, adding: “Thanks to Paul Gongaware and John Meglen, they made this happen.”

Ventadour is “very proud” that the Stones agreed to play their Paris shows at U Arena, even though No Filter is a stadium tour. He thought it proved U Arena’s indoor stadium configuration.

“Paris is a special city for every artist. We are very proud of our new arena in this special city. Our size is incredible. We hope to welcome big artists during any season with our indoor stadium configuration,” he said.

Security will be tight, and there are two main reasons for that: “First of all, we’re the biggest venue in Europe. All security forces are using their data on stadium attendance while working with us,” Ventadour explained.

“Secondly, we’re on La Défense, which is a business district in Paris. Many people are working there, which makes it a strategic point in Paris. Those two points mean that police and all security forces are constantly on high alert. There’s a huge system of control in place.”

As has become common practice at arenas around the world, no bags above a certain size are allowed into the concerts. Thankfully there’ll be a cloakroom where oversized bags can be stored.

Depending on the configuration, U Arena’s concert capacity lies between 20,000 and 40,000. The indoor sports configurations range from 15,000 to 30,000. U Arena is home to Racing 92 rugby team.

Permanent curtains are in place to quickly switch between configurations; 70 rolling beams beneath the permanent roof have been adapted to all kinds of rigging kits, the operators claim.

An “English stadium configuration” made sure that all seats are less than six meters away from the sideline. There are more than 3,000 hospitality seats available, distributed across eight hospitality lounges and 95 suites.

The venue was designed by Christian de Portzamparc and built by Vinci Construction. It is managed and operated by Lililo, of which Ventadour is the general manager.  

U Arena Paris
– U Arena Paris

U Arena is working with both of France’s main players, Ticketmaster France and Fnac, the country’s most famous retail chain, which also dabbles in ticketing, and very successfully so.

One entire wall of U Arena is a projection wall, and there are 44 huge video projectors set up in the arena roof, courtesy of Moment Factory. “With this system, with mirrors that are digitally connected, we can project images of any size on the wall, the floor and all over the arena.”

The U Arena app is interconnected with the arena screens; Ventadour intends to entertain visitors before and after the show as well as during intermissions. He believes this projection system will take presenting shows and events to another level.