U2 360: Video Screen or Transformer?


U2’s concerts might run long on the media hype, but they are certainly a tour de force of design, staging, and technology. Their latest tour includes an electro-mechanical wonder as its centerpiece, a 360° viewable LED screen that expands and contracts over the band.


The screen was developed by Belgian company Barco, which specializes in super high-end visualization technologies (everything from fighter jets to mega control rooms), along with their special engineering + fabrication division Innovative Designs.


While it helps that U2 knows how to write big arena rock anthems for 80,000 rabid fans to belt out, the success of their shows is really the result of a powerhouse group of production experts and technology suppliers.

Willie Williams has been their primary designer for nearly every one of their tours.  Mark Fischer has been the architect for the elaborate staging structures (and his portfolio includes almost every mega tour in the past few decades, including the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, etc.).


The elaborate three-dimensional movement of the rig was designed by engineer Chuck Hoberman, who specializes in transformable geometry and structures.


And the crazy part?  This rig weighs 74 tons in total, yet is torn down, trucked to another city, and reassembled every few days.  And you complained about moving your 32″ flat screen.


Of course, the screen is just one component of an astounding collection of technology used in the show.  Check out Live Design’s coverage of the tour.

Images from Barco, which has posted extensive interviews and behind the scene videos.

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