Look Behind the Scenes of U2’s ‘Experience + Innocence’ Tour Tech
Cutting-edge visuals and stage design have long been a part of the U2 live experience, and the group's current Experience + Innocence trek finds them employing a freshly updated take on the already impressive apparatus they used during their 2015 tour.
GeekWire delves into the technology employed to enhance the band's latest stage show, which relies on augmented reality and an 80-foot LED screen dubbed "the barricage" to bring audiences deeper into the experience. Counter to the growing list of acts who discourage or outright forbid audiences from bringing cellphones into the venue, these dates add an extra visual layer — illustrated by the virtual version of singer Bono who emerges from the screen during "Love is All We Have Left."
The "barricage" has been overhauled from an earlier version used for the previous tour, which itself was reportedly the largest and highest-resolution screen a band had ever taken on the road. The new specs include resolution nine times greater than before, as well as near-total transparency — the latter of which comes in particularly handy during portions of the show that make it appear as if different versions of the band members are doing things or existing in places that they actually aren't.
As far as the band is concerned, while the high-tech trappings might look impressive, the motivation behind using them isn't anything new. "All the staging you see behind us really goes back to the early days of U2 when we would stage dive," explained Bono. "We would break the fourth wall trying to get to our audience — trying to touch them, trying to reach them. Then when we got to playing theaters and then arenas, the back of the theater got further and further away."
All that technology can't come cheap, but the band's accountants presumably aren't too worried — in addition to the fans turning out in droves for tour dates, there's always the possibility that they'll make more of their investment back later on by selling the gear, as they did with the gargantuan "Claw" stage built for their 360 tour.