Matt Jelonek/WireImage.com
Joseph Brannigan Lynch
April 11, 2011 AT 09:02 PM EDT

In one of the few measurable victories Ireland gets over Great Britain, U2 recently surpassed the Rolling Stones’ record for highest-grossing tour of all-time with their U2 360° Tour. Erin, go Brag!

England’s oldest hitmakers previously held the record after raking in $558 million from 2005 to 07 for their A Bigger Bang Tour, but U2—who are still touring behind their 2009 release No Line On the Horizon—are set to take in more than $700 million by the time U2 360 wraps in late July. With 26 shows to go, the Irish quarter are almost ready to get back to saving the world/destroying Broadway.

Lead guitarist aside, U2 has an edge on the Stones when it comes to pulling in the Euros/dollars/reais on this tour: the band’s current “in the round” setup (U2 360°—get it?) has allowed them to pack more fans in each arena.

That doesn’t mean U2 360° has been immediately more profitable than the Stones’ tour, however. U2’s manager admitted that the overhead cost for this endeavor is about 750,000 U.S. dollars a day, show or no show.

A huge part of the cost is “The Claw,” a traveling stage apparatus that looks more suited to the first wave of the alien invasion than directing attention to that guy singing “it’s a beautiful daaaaayyyy!” Get a sense of its mammoth size in this video:

The Claw takes four days to set up each time, which forces the band to use three of these insect-like monstrosities on the road. At any point during the tour one is in use, another is being built, and yet another is being deconstructed and moved to the next location.

What do you think about U2’s record-breaking U2 360° tour? Take this poll and let the world know!

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Read more on EW.com:

U2, Justin Bieber donate songs to Japan relief CD

Bono’s back injury on tour

‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’: Video with Bono and Julie Taymor

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