Ask anyone to rank the world’s biggest rock bands (that haven’t broken up), and U2 would probably rank in the top three of most people’s lists when it comes to critical and commercial success. The Grammy-winning Irish rock group (which has not changed its lineup since it formed in the mid-1970s) can always be counted on to put on a spectacular event whenever U2 goes on tour. In 2009, the band launched the U2 360° tour in support of the album “No Line on the Horizon.”
For the U2 360° tour, the band had a stage that was surrounded by the audience at a comprehensive 360-degree angle. It was the top-grossing tour of 2009, and the world tour continues in 2010. Before the first North American leg of the tour began in Chicago in September 2009, the members of U2 (lead singer Bono, guitarist the Edge, bass player Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr.) did a rare group interview backstage at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
How about this amazing outdoor stadium set-up for this tour?
The Edge: This is the way to do outdoors. This is what we have going anyway.
Bono: U2’s music is always the big music. It never really had a roof over its head anyway.
Mullen: I think despite the size of this spaceship, because it’s in 360, it’s really quite intimate. This time, the audience is more important than ever, if that’s possible for U2. The audience are a huge part of the show. It’s a lot of fun having the audience all around you. It’s a very different experience.
Clayton: We’ve always been interested in these big, outdoor productions, because in a way, you want to surprise the audience into letting go of their inhibitions. They’re excited and they suspend their own disbelief in what’s possible.
U2 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, in September 2009. Pictured from left to right: Adam Clayton, Bono, the Edge and Larry Mullen Jr.
How do you deal with pressure to top yourselves every time you go on tour?
The Edge: You’ve got to dream it up every time. You’ve got to come up with something new. Rock’n’roll never stays in one place. It’s always reinventing itself. That’s the challenge for U2: Every time we come out and play, we’ve got to come up with a new way to present the band.
So that’s what’s great about this show: Day one, we didn’t know what it was going to be like. We had to stretch and find a way to make it work for us. I think the stage will present the band in this way.
Bono: We’ve got the wall of sound, we’ve got the big music, we’ve got the big stage, the big spectacle. The idea behind it is to make it a really small, intimate affair. That’s the magic trick.
For more info: U2 website
Photo credits: AP