The Evolution of U2's Live Concert Experience

This weekend, we're celebrating the return of U2 to Philly (June 13 at Wells Fargo Center) & giving you chances to win tickets.  The band have always been known for their live performances, both for their tenacity, muscianship & for their stage production.


The band and their crew have been innovators when it comes to creating new benchmarks for what is possible to execute at a live touring event. Take a look at how the band and their stage production has evolved over the years.

 

U2 made the entire world take notice & pay attention to the buzz they were building when they released their live album 'Under A Blood Red Sky' it was recorded at one of America's most treasured concert venues, Denver's Red Rocks Stadium. The album and its accompanying video footage showcased Bono's dynamic stage antics, the ability he had to ignite a stadium crowd & the band's knack at morphing from tight studio outfit to a free wheeling, blistering rock and roll machine when playing on stage.

 

U2 - Live at Red Rocks (1983) PART 2

From the DVD

 

 

 

The band focused their efforts on showcasing the finest album of their career on this tour. There wasn't much noteworthy production, though the band did begin experimenting with putting large screens behind the stage.

U2 - With Or Without You/Shine Like Stars The Joshua Tree 1987

"With or Without You" is a song by Irish rock band U2. It is the third track from their 1987 album, The Joshua Tree, and was released as the album's first single on 21 March 1987.

Although the song was on 'The Joshua Tree' , U2 made sure to include a live version of 'Still Haven't Found....' on their live/touring movie 'Rattle and Hum' and it's accompanying album. The band began showing their influences more on their albums and in their live shows .  This clip shows how Gospel music influenced the band.

 

U2 (September 1987) - Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For + New Voices of Freedom choir.

AMAZING!

 

 

 

U2 took technology and their stage show to a completely different level when they toured around the 'Achtung Baby' album. They called the tour Zoo TV Tour. Their production included huge screens, staging that went through the crowd, enhanced lighting, a belly dancer & Bono wearing the wrap around sunglasses that soon became his trademark.

 

U2 - Mysterious Ways /live/, Zoo TV Tour 1992, New York, USA, 29.8.1992

Album : Achtung Baby - U2 /1991/ Mysterious Ways Johnny, take a walk with your sister the moon Let her pale light in, to fill up your room. You've been living underground, eating from a can You've been running away from what you don't understand. She's slippy, you're sliding down.

 

 

U2's Popmart Tour was all about tongue and cheek excess. Their production featured a huge 165-foot LED screen, a 100-foot golden arch, and a large mirror-ball lemon.

 

U2 - MOFO (PopMart Tour - Live From Mexico City 1997) | HD

U2 - MOFO POPMART TOUR - LIVE FROM MEXICO CITY 1997

 

 

 

U2's 'Elevation Tour' was a scaled down production compared to their 2 previous tours. The key feature of this tour's production was the large heart-shaped stage ramp which extended into the crowd and created a catwalk.

 

U2 Elevation - Elevation tour 2001 Live from boston HQ

U2 live from Boston !!

 

 

 

 

U2's 'Vertigo Tour' featured an ellipse-shaped ramp that came to known as the "bomb shelter", in reference to the supporting album the band was touring around.  A set of retractable see through LED lighted curtains hung behind the stage.  The beads showed abstract patterns, moving figures and text.  The design allowed concertgoers to have a cool view of both the curtains above the band and the images they displayed.

U2 40 LIVE FROM CHICAGO Vertigo Tour (2005)

Uploaded by PAT PATRICE on 2013-08-21.

 

 

 

U2's 360 tour involved them playing "in the round" on a circular stage.  The audience was able to surround them on every side.  A large four-legged structure they called "The Claw" was built above the stage iwth speakers and video screesn on top of it.  It was 164 feet tall and was the largest stage ever contructed.

U2 - Vertigo (Taken from U2 360�)

Music video by U2 performing Vertigo (Taken from U2 360°) (C) 2010 Universal-Island Records Limited

 

 

U2 celebrated the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree with a huge tour featuring 7.6K resolution video screen that were 200 ft by 45 ft. They were the largest and highest quality resolution video screens ever used on a concert tour.  A huge Joshua Tree was painted on a screen. Photographer Anton Corbijn, provided films that accompany performances of the album's songs.

 

"In God's Country" U2@Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia 6/18/17

In God's Country, U2, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA; June 18th, 2017; The Joshua Tree US Tour