U2’s Tech Wizardry

If you’re fairly familiar with the band U2, then you know that they’re deeply into technology. Every time they release a new album and/or show, they’re bound to introduce some creative new techie experience to go along with it. Their new eXPERIENCE & iNNOCENCE Tour is no exception. Here’s a trailer with a glimpse of what they’ve been up to lately.

One of the first things that you will see is that they are making use of the “barricage” that they introduced in their last tour. Here’s a story that covers that along with Bono’s intimate ties to Apple and Silicon Valley.
Tech-steeped U2 leverages gadgetry to touch fans (Marco della Cava, USA TODAY)

Better yet, here’s an awesome interview about the new tour where Laurie Segall of CNN Money asks Bono and Edge about their newest wizardry as well as their perspectives on why they use innovative technology.

Here’s the article from CNN Money that included the video.
U2’s new stage show is a technical wonder (Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN Money)

Laurie Segall’s interview began by covering the augmented reality (AR) app that you may have also noticed go by in the trailer. For this tour, if you have their Augment Your Reality app installed, you’ll be able to see a special rendition of the opening number on your phone. You can also see the experience by loading the app and pointing your phone at the eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE album cover (or a reasonable facsimile). Here’s a screen capture that someone published of what you will see.

Here are two behind-the-scenes articles that go into more depth about the work that stage designer Es Devlin and creative director Willie Williams did for the new show.
U2’s Stage Director Breaks Down the Band’s New Experience + Innocence Tour (Andy Greene, Rolling Stone)
Augmented Reality Avatar of Bono Looms Over U2 Stage Set (Rebecca Hills-Duty, VR Focus)

Of course, this is just the “newest” new technology experience that U2’s done. It was only a couple of years ago that they dipped their toe into virtual reality (VR) by working with Apple to release this 360° video.

It was a big deal at the time and made a bit of news.
Apple dips a toe into VR with U2 music video (James Trew, Engadget)
Apple Showcases Its VR Dreams—With a U2 Video (Wired)
Apple Shows Off Its First-Ever Piece Of Virtual Reality Content With U2 Music Video (Lucas Matney, TechCrunch)

That’s all great stuff, but personally, I don’t think any of it compares to their 2007 IMAX movie U2 3D (IMDb) (Wikipedia). It was ground-breaking and breathtaking. Alas, there’s no good way to communicate the experience of being there to you, but there are still bits of information about it floating around online.
U2 3D — Better Than the Real Thing? (Bob Mondello, NPR)

If you ever do get the chance to see it firsthand, then be sure to do it! Of course, as in most things, nothing truly beats being there. U2 just kicked off that brand new tour, so they’re probably coming to a town near you.

Find out more about U2 (YouTube Channel)

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