I'll be the first to admit I'm a little slow on the uptake, but I think I've finally figured out why the folks involved in the U2 360° tour have been so hesitant to have the shots taken of the set. It's because it's not finished.
Sure, "The Claw" has been built, the lighting, video and PA have been flown in, and the final cues are being worked on even as you read this, all in preparation for the tour's kickoff on Wednesday. But in going over interview footage I shot of both show director/designer Willie Williams and production designer Mark Fisher onsite at rehearsals in Barcelona last week, I picked up one something they both said that didn't occur to me at the time. Because this structure is in the round, every vantage point has essentially the exact same backdrop: the audience. As such, no one--not the design team, the crew, the band, or the audience--is going to k now the exact look and feel of this structure until the gates fly open and the masses rush to fill the stadium. More than most tours, that's what will complete this picture.
Sitting in front of the stage last Sunday as the sun slowly dropped past the lip of the stadium, Williams discussed his desire to create something of a communal experience--"a temple of attention" as he jokingly called it--designed to get people out of their cell phones and into the moment. A shot of an empty stage and an even emptier stadium cannot begin to illustrate that idea.
Still, there is something to be said for giving folks a glimpse of some of the details, particularly those technical bits which may not excite the masses but certainly lights a fire under those of us in this industry. To that end, beginning July 1 we'll be covering this tour regularly on our website in a special section called "Designing U2 360°", with news, blogs, sketches, photos and videos. We've also included a teaser clip today from Williams which you can see elsewhere on the site. Hopefully that will hold you over until Wednesday.