For decades, U2 has treated concerts as a way to express themselves while creating a community of shared songs and singalongs. On the heels of the Joshua Tree Tour, U2 kicked off summer 2018 with the Experience + Innocence Tour inspired by their recently released sequel album ‘Songs of Experience.’
For their sequel tour, U2 recruited veteran production team Willie Williams, Creative Director and Lighting Designer, Jake Berry, Production Manager, Ric Lipson, Set Designer from Stufish Architects, and TAIT, Staging and Automation Solution Providers. The creative direction of the 2018 Experience + Innocence Tour is in many ways a continuation of U2’s 2015 Innocence + Experience Tour influenced by the bands 2014 album, ‘Songs of Innocence.’
For this tour, TAIT refurbished the set and stage from the 2015 tour to be more technologically advanced. The Experience + Innocence Tour still features the 100 ft. long billboard-like video wall equipped with a catwalk inside dividing the entire arena into two halves; however, this trek required a complete rebuild of the billboard video wall to accommodate two additional features: 1) flying the catwalk independent of the video wall and 2) support PRG’s new, nearly translucent LED panels.
At various times throughout the show, U2 is seen on stage, inside the billboard video wall on a catwalk or beneath the video wall on the 120 ft. runway that connects the main stage to the b-stage.
To support all of the show elements in the air, an overhead rigging grid stretches the length of the arena. The 45,000 lb. billboard video wall is bolstered by 8 3-ton jumbo hoist motors built into a custom spanner truss. Inside the billboard video wall, a custom header truss equipped with 18 Nav Hoists supports the catwalk as it lifts, lowers and tilts 5-degrees. Additionally, a T-Winch, Nav Hoist and a Big Tow Winch are installed into the custom header truss. In order for U2 to enter/exit the billboard video wall, the T-Winch lifts/lowers a staircase on the upstage side of the video wall and the Nav Hoist automates a performer platform located at the opposite end. Lastly, the Big Tow Winch lowers Larry Mullen’s drum kit into place during the bands various performances inside the billboard video wall.
Above the main stage, 20 PDL winches are responsible for running power down the lines to numerous custom-made subway lights as they fly mid air. Additionally, an automation grid located above the circular b-stage utilizes a Smart Winch and 6 Nav Hoists to move props, such as the LED ring, mirror ball and light bulb, up and down.
To allow seamless element transitions, TAIT Navigator operates all show elements and provides real-time 3D position feedback.