U2 have always looked to incorporate technology into their stage shows with the prime aim of engaging their audience. In 1997 the Popmart tour introduced the biggest LED screen at the time. Measuring 170ft x 56ft, it included something which made it all possible, the blue LED, hard to believe now but back then it was still in its infancy.
Fast forward to 2017 and the Joshua Tree revisit tour featured another huge LED screen, this time an awesome 200ft by 40ft 8k high definition colossus, which helped to make the vast stadiums seem almost intimate.
It's important that those at the back have an equal experience to those at the front, even the drummer.
Over the years, their concepts have led to many innovations to make the concert-goers experience more memorable. In the early days, it was common to see Bono climb to the top of the stage scaffold in order to engage with the audience at the back of the venue. This was great for the crowd but for the other members of U2, not knowing when, or if, their singer was coming back was something of a chore.
Remember Live Aid and prolonged version of Bad when he disappeared into the crowd. I watched this on TV and for me, it was the highlight of the day. The risk-taking Bono ultimately pushed the boundaries to engage with the audience, unknown where he’d gone thankfully the band played on. So who cares that they only managed to play two of their allotted three songs that day in 85, we manage to get them in order at Glastonbury in 2011.
From giant Lemons to the biggest 8K high definition screens, their shows have impressed many over the years. As the band grew they had to change how they engaged with their audience. The Edge is a self-admitted techy and has used technology over the years to create part of the U2 sound. With echoes, delays and infinite guitars, his sonic tones are unmistakable U2.
The Claw takes centre stage during U2's 360° world tour
So it's not surprising that they have embraced technology in their shows and have used innovation to connect with the audience. Now as they set out on their latest tour the boundaries of how a concert should be staged are being questioned again.
U2 are incorporating AR into the show. The new app is available for download on IOS and Android, with the promise of creating a new concert experience. The app is activated pre-show by pointing it at the 100ft LED screen. Then simply sit back and enjoy the scene setter for the show to come whilst sharing with friends.
For a sneak preview, you can test the app by using the front cover of their latest album Songs of Experience.
For me, my time to test is at the O2 in October.
Further info on U2.COM