East Lansing prepared for U2 concert goers
An archived edition of the State News previews U2’s first East Lansing appearance on December 7, 1981. U2 has not returned to East Lansing since that day, but will bring their show to Spartan Stadium on Sunday.
The Marriott hotel in downtown East Lansing isn’t just sold out on Sunday night.
On this particular day, every room has been booked for the last year, ever since it was announced that U2’s 360 Tour concert at Spartan Stadium was postponed to 2011, after the band’s front man Bono underwent emergency back surgery.
“We’re as excited about this date as the people coming to the show,” said Eric Sudol, general manager of the East Lansing Marriott at University Place, 300 M.A.C. Ave.
East Lansing businesses of all forms are gearing up to take advantage of the thousands descending on Spartan Stadium this weekend, ready to make money from fans seeing the Irish rockers play a long overdue set on MSU’s home turf.
Flat, Black & Circular, 541 E. Grand River Ave., will be open from 12-5 p.m. on the concert day — the first time ever on a Sunday.
“In 33 years, we’ve never been open (on) a Sunday,” manager Jon Howard said.
Trisha Riley, co-owner of Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub, 131 Albert Ave., said the bar is being staffed for capacity Sunday night, with about 65 employees working to handle the influx.
She said Harper’s already is about three quarters full with table reservations and expects to be completely full come Sunday.
“Without any advertising we were half full of reservations,” Riley said. “(The concert is) fabulous for the synergy of the city.”
Harper’s also is hoping to relive a piece of history. Nearly 30 years ago — Dec. 7, 1981 — U2 played one of their first shows on American soil in the basement of the building that now is Harper’s.
Riley said she sent an invitation to the band to stop in after the show, but isn’t sure if they’ll take up her offer.
The bar also is hosting a U2 barbecue on their outdoor deck.
Similarly, the Marriott is hosting a barbecue, and providing VIP shuttle buses to Spartan Stadium.
On campus, the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center also is sold out — an unusual occurrence for a Sunday, General Manager Joel Heberlein said.
“It actually helped us fill a day where we wouldn’t normally be sold out,” Heberlein said. “We had some conference business, but that definitely capped us off.”
Heberlein said The State Room restaurant might likely be full come Sunday, even though it is not usually open on Sunday evenings.
Parking in the city will not be free like normal Sundays, Director of Planning and Community Development Tim Dempsey said, with a maximum fee rate of 15 dollars for the entire day in any one of East Lansing’s 2,700 municipal parking spaces.