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.
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.
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 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’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’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’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’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 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.