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Former U2 stage to be centerpiece of Utah aquarium expansion

It toured the world for two years with rock behemoths U2, towering above the band through 30 countries and before a combined audience of 7.2 million people.

But soon, the dome-shaped metal stage structure known as "the Claw," which stands as tall as Niagara Falls, will have a new home outside a Utah aquarium, where the sounds of blaring guitars and drums will be replaced by screeches and giggles from children eager to see sharks and stingrays.

Instead of rock icons, the Claw will loom over interactive science exhibits at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in suburban Salt Lake City, which opened in 2014 and hosts 625 different species of animals.

The futuristic-looking, four-legged structure is 165 feet (50 meters) tall and weighs 190 tons (172 metric tons). It will be the centerpiece of a planned expansion dubbed the Science Learning Campus.

"In its new life, it can still function as a stage, but that's not really what it's there for," said Brent Andersen, the Draper aquarium's founder and CEO. "It's to help get people into that state of mind and that sense of curiosity and wonder, and help us shine a light on our mission on educating people about Earth's diverse ecosystems."

Andersen saw the structure twice during U2's worldwide 2009-2011 "360" tour, once in Barcelona, Spain, and once in Salt Lake City.

"When I first saw it, I literally stopped, and I had to take it all in," he said.

The structure sat unused for years in an East Coast storage yard after the tour ended, but Anderson envisioned it fitting perfectly into the aquarium's design for the plaza at the center of its expanded campus.

"It's going to be a place where people will want to come and see it, just the spectacle of it if nothing else. Even if they don't care about U2," said Tassoula Kokkoris, a senior writer at U2 fan site, who saw the structure seven times during the band's tour. "For children, it will be a memorable thing."

In the shadow of the Claw, the aquarium is planning interactive features that can be climbed on or played with. There also will be outdoor venues that can host movies or special events. A separate building is planned that will have exhibits, classrooms and a five-story Asian cloud forest habitat and endangered species conservation center.

It's all part of a $25 million expansion that Anderson hopes will increase aquarium attendance by as many as 40,000 people per year. Andersen wouldn't disclose the Claw's price but said it accounts for a "small fraction" of the overall total.

Construction for the new Science Learning Campus is expected to begin this fall, with a goal of opening the outdoor plaza by next summer. The accompanying building is expected to open to visitors in 2021.

Bon Jovi, Nina Simone, Moody Blues make it into Rock Hall

Bon Jovi reunited onstage with former members for a powerful performance celebrating its admission into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and the late icon Nina Simone was welcomed to the prestigious music club with show-stopping performances from Lauryn Hill and Andra Day.

Bon Jovi's portion of the four-hour-plus event ran an hour-long Saturday night, with Jon Boni Jovi giving a lengthy 20-minute speech onstage. He said he had been writing the speech for years.

"Some days I write the 'Thank you' speech, sometimes I write the '(Expletive) you' speech," he said. "In the end, it's all about time. It took a lot of people to get us here tonight."

Richie Sambora, who left the New Jersey band in 2013, and Alec John Such, who left in 1994, embraced their former bandmates with a hug after each one spoke onstage to accept the honor. They performed together, too, singing crowd favorites like "Livin' on a Prayer," ''You Give Love a Bad Name" and "It's My Life."

They were inducted by Howard Stern, who provided many laughs to the Public Auditorium in Cleveland, where the Rock Hall is based.

Stern joked about Rock Hall co-founder Jann Wenner, questioning why he was qualified to vote on who enters the prominent organization. Stern said the Rolling Stone magazine founder doesn't play any instruments "but he did start a great magazine ... and now it's the size of a pamphlet."

Simone, who died in 2003, was welcomed into the Rock Hall in a groundbreaking way from performers who she has deeply inspired, from Hill to Mary J. Blige.

Hill was exceptional, stretching her voice as wide as possible, and singing in French, in honor of Simone's music. Hill earned a standing ovation from the audience.

Day, a Grammy-nominated R&B singer, was also extraordinary, hitting high notes that also earned her applause. Blige inducted Simone, calling the singer "bold, strong, feisty and fearless."

"Her voice was so distinctive and powerful and I never heard anything like it," the R&B superstar said.

Simone was a leader in pushing for civil rights and influenced everyone from Aretha Franklin to Alicia Keys. Her brother, Sam Waymon, accepted the honor on his sister's behalf.

"They said I had three minutes, I said, 'No, I don't.' I'm going to take the time necessary to say what I got to say," Waymon said.

Waymon said sharp words during his speech, including lines like, "To all the brothers out there, protect your sisters." He said he always protected Simone, and continues to do so.

He also told the crowd, "If you're sampling (Nina's) music, you better pay for it!"

The 33rd annual Rock Hall ceremony kicked off with a tribute to Tom Petty, who died in October at age 66. The Killers earned a loud applause from the audience when they started performing "American Girl," then transitioning to "Free Fallin'."

"Pay some rock 'n' roll respect ... to the eternal Tom Petty," frontman Brandon Flowers said, as photos of Petty were displayed in the background.

Later in the event, Ann Wilson of Heart and Jerry Cantrell honored Chris Cornell with a commanding rendition of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun." Cornell hanged himself in a Detroit hotel hours after a Soundgarden concert there last May.

The Cars and four first-time nominees, including Simone, Dire Straits, The Moody Blues and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, make up the 2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame class.

Rock Hall voters have recently opened their hearts to progressive rockers, which benefited "Nights in White Satin" singers The Moody Blues, the last act to be inducted Saturday.

Wilson of Heart said the English rockers "are and have always been a kick ass rock band."

Another English band, Dire Straits, was inducted at the event, but it was without its leader Mark Knopfler, or his brother David Knopfler. Onstage, Illsley said of Mark's absence: "I'll assure you it's a personal thing. Let's just leave it at that."

Illsley thanked the entire band and described the group as "a collective, a brotherhood." The band did not perform after speaking.

A flawless Brittany Howard, of the critically acclaimed rock act Alabama Shakes, gave an extraordinary Tharpe impression onstage, winning over the audience with her rousing live performance in honor of the godmother of rock 'n' roll. Howard was backed by an equally appealing Questlove of The Roots on the drums. Felicia Collins, best known has a member of the band on "Late Show with David Letterman," also wowed the audience when she performed a tribute to Tharpe.

Tharpe died in 1973 and was a pioneering guitarist who performed gospel music. A video package featuring past interviews from Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin and others praising Tharpe's musicality aired at the event. Tharpe earned the "Award for Early Influence," while the other five acts were inducted as performers.

Flowers of the Killers, who has covered The Cars' songs at his live shows, was ecstatic and energetic as he inducted the band into the Rock Hall, even getting on his knee to hand the members their award as they walked onstage.

The Cars, founded in Boston in 1976 and known for combining New Wave and classic rock sounds, were inducted this year after being nominated twice before. Ric Ocasek paid tribute to bandmate Benjamin Orr, who died in 2000.

"It's quite strange to be here without him," Ocasek said.

Elliot Easton also was emotional at the end of his speech when he thanked his mom, who he said was watching from above.

"We did it mom!," he said, earning cheers from the audience.

Ocasek also earned applause when he namedropped Cleveland: "I lived in Cleveland for a while. It was actually the first place I played music in front of people."

The event will air May 5 on HBO.



Flea Confirms Release Date for Memoir, 'Acid for the Children'

Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea has confirmed his book, 'Acid for the Children,' will finally be published in September.

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Steven Adler, Izzy Stradlin 'Heartbroken' Over Guns N' Roses Reunion Absence

Former Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler says he and ex-bandmate Izzy Stradlin are “heartbroken” at being replaced by “strangers” in the reunion lineup.

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Huey Lewis, suffering hearing loss, cancels 2018 tour

Huey Lewis and The News has canceled its 2018 tour while frontman Lewis deals with the sudden loss of his hearing.

In a statement released Friday, the band says Lewis lost most of his hearing a few months ago before a show in Dallas and now he "can't hear music well enough to sing."

Doctors told him he shouldn't perform until his hearing improves. Lewis suspects he has Meniere's disease, a disorder of the inner ear.

Huey Lewis and The News has sold a combined 15 million albums with "Sports" and "Fore!" The group's singles include "Power of Love" and "I Want a New Drug."

Lewis says he wants to "sincerely apologize" to fans and concentrate on getting better. He hopes to be able to perform again soon.

Huey Lewis Cancels All 2018 Shows Due to Hearing Loss

Under advice from his doctors, Huey Lewis has canceled the remainder of his tour calendar for this year.

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Eric Clapton Documentary 'Life in 12 Bars' Coming to Home Video

'Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars' is coming to home video — and it's bringing a double-disc soundtrack with it.

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Moody Blues Remember Sharing an Early Bill With the Beatles

A wise musician always pays attention to the other artists on the bill — you never know where you're going to hear them next, or when they might turn out to be the next biggest band in the world.

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Dee Snider Announces New 'For the Love of Metal' Solo LP

Dee Snider is getting closer to unveiling the next chapter of his solo career.

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Richie Sambora and Orianthi Announce Debut LP, 'Radio Free America'

Richie Sambora and his girlfriend Orianthi, calling themselves RSO, will release their first album together, 'Radio Free America.'

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45 Years Ago: Bob Marley Breaks Out With the Wailers' 'Catch a Fire'

'Catch a Fire' launched Bob Marley's international career, while also cracking the foundation of his band.

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45 Years Ago: David Bowie Returns, Ziggy-Like, for 'Aladdin Sane'

Ziggy Stardust didn't call it quits. He just changed his name and clothes.

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Ghost Release 'Rats' Video, Detail New Album 'Prequelle'

Ghost have released a video for “Rats,” the lead track from their fourth album 'Prequelle.'

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Previously Unreleased LP From Byrds Member Gene Clark on the Way

A collection of unheard songs by Gene Clark, a founding member of the Byrds and a key songwriter on the band's first few albums, will be released this summer.

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Meet the Beatstalkers, the Band David Bowie 'Climbed Over' for Fame

Before David Bowie became a world-renowned name, he had the talent and skill to do it – but the first rungs of the ladder to fame are crowded with equally talented and skilled people.

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35 Years Ago: R.E.M.'s Small-Scale Ambitions Come Up Big on 'Murmur'

Their debut album was perfectly titled: R.E.M. did indeed arrive like a murmur, something you heard in passing more than really saw coming.

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Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong Posts Songs From New Longshot Project

Shortly after teasing the imminent arrival of his new side project the Longshot, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has debuted a trio of tracks from the band's upcoming release.

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Watch Chrissie Hynde Join Arcade Fire on Pretenders' 'Don't Get Me Wrong'

Arcade Fire fans were treated to a cover of the Pretenders classic "Don't Get Me Wrong" during the band's stop at Wembley Arena in London.

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Dire Straits' John Illsley Confirms Mark Knopfler No-Show at Rock Hall Ceremony

Dire Straits' co-founder John Illsley has confirmed that frontman Mark Knopfler will not attend the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony this Saturday.

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Alice in Chains' 'Weirdo Trippy' New Album Expected This Summer

Jerry Cantrell expects Alice in Chains' sixth album, which is nearing completion, to be released sometime this summer.

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