Zoo TV Tour

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Zoo TV Tour
A black poster with a black-and-white image occupying most it. The image shows U2 walking up the stairs of a small aeroplane as Bono gives a peace sign towards the viewer. Text on the poster reads "U2 Zoo TV Tour" and "Zooropa '93".
World tour by U2
Location North America, Europe, Australasia, Japan
Associated album Achtung Baby, Zooropa
Start date 29 February 1992
End date 10 December 1993
Legs 5
Shows 157
U2 concert chronology
Lovetown Tour
(1989–90)
Zoo TV Tour
(1992–93)
PopMart Tour
(1997–98)

The Zoo TV Tour (also written as ZooTV, ZOO TV or ZOOTV) was a worldwide concert tour by rock band U2. Staged in support of their 1991 album Achtung Baby, the tour visited arenas and stadiums from 1992 to 1993. To mirror the new musical direction that the group took with Achtung Baby, the tour was intended to deviate from their past and confound expectations of the band. In contrast to U2's austere stage setups from previous tours, the Zoo TV Tour was an elaborately staged multimedia event. It satirised television and media oversaturation by attempting to instill "sensory overload" in its audience. To escape their reputation for being overly serious, U2 embraced a more lighthearted and self-deprecating image on tour. Zoo TV and Achtung Baby were central to the group's 1990s reinvention.

The tour's concept was inspired by disparate television programming, the desensitising effect of mass media, and "morning zoo" radio shows. The stage featured dozens of large video screens that showed visual effects, video clips, and flashing text phrases. Live satellite link-ups, channel surfing, prank calls, and video confessionals were incorporated into the shows. Whereas U2 were known for their earnest live act in the 1980s, the group's Zoo TV performances were intentionally ironic and theatrical; on stage, Bono portrayed several characters he conceived, including "The Fly", "Mirror Ball Man", and "MacPhisto". In contrast to other U2 tours, each of the Zoo TV shows opened with six to eight consecutive new songs before older material was played.

Comprising five legs and 157 shows, the tour began in Lakeland, Florida, on 29 February 1992 and finished in Tokyo, Japan, on 10 December 1993. The first four legs alternated between North America and Europe, before the final leg visited Australasia and Japan. After two arena legs, the show's production was expanded for stadiums for the final three legs, which were branded "Outside Broadcast", "Zooropa", and "Zoomerang/New Zooland", respectively. Although the tour provoked a range of reactions from music critics, it was generally well received. Along with being the highest-grossing North American tour of 1992, Zoo TV sold around 5.3 million tickets over its five legs. The band's 1993 album Zooropa, which expanded on Zoo TV's mass media themes, was recorded during a break in the tour, and its songs were played in 1993. The tour was depicted in the Grammy Award–winning 1994 concert film Zoo TV: Live from Sydney. Critics regard the Zoo TV Tour as one of rock's most memorable tours—in 2002, Q's Tom Doyle called it "the most spectacular rock tour staged by any band".[1]

Background[edit]

U2's 1987 album The Joshua Tree and the supporting Joshua Tree Tour brought them to a new level of commercial and critical success, particularly in the United States.[2] Like their previous tours, the Joshua Tree Tour was a minimalistic, austere production,[3] and they used this outlet for addressing political and social concerns.[4] As a result, the band earned a reputation for being earnest and serious,[5][6] an image that became a target for derision after their much-maligned 1988 motion picture and companion album Rattle and Hum,[2] which documented their exploration of American roots music.[7] The project was criticised as being "pretentious",[7] and "misguided and bombastic",[8] and U2 were accused of being grandiose and self-righteous.[2][7] Their 1989 Lovetown Tour did not visit the United States, and at the end of the tour, lead vocalist Bono announced on-stage that it was "the end of something for U2" and that "we have to go away and ... just dream it all up again", foreshadowing changes for the group.[9]

Conception[edit]

"... I sort of took the overview position of saying, 'What do you want? You don't want a stage show where everything fits neatly into place and it's all nicely organized and people know exactly where the center of attention is at all moments.' That isn't what the music is about now, and it certainly isn't what this concept of a new Europe is about, so how can we make a stage show that has some of the feeling of defensiveness and chaos and information overload...?"

Brian Eno, on asking U2 about their plans for concerts[10]

U2's first ideas for Zoo TV emerged during the Lovetown Tour in 1989, when various aspects of radio programming intrigued the group, particularly the large radio audience their Dublin concerts reached.[11] The wild antics of "morning zoo" radio programmes inspired the band to consider taking a pirate radio station on tour.[12] They were also interested in using video as a way of making themselves less accessible to their audiences.[13] The band developed these ideas in late 1990 while recording Achtung Baby in Berlin at Hansa Studios. While in Berlin, they watched television coverage of the Gulf War on Sky News, which was the only English programming available. When they became tired of hearing about the conflict, they tuned into local programming to see "bad German soap operas" and automobile advertisements.[12] The band believed that cable television had blurred the lines between news, entertainment, and home shopping over the previous decade, and they wanted to represent this on their next tour.[14]

The juxtaposition of such disparate programming inspired U2 and Achtung Baby co-producer Brian Eno to conceive an "audio-visual show" that would display a rapidly changing mix of live and pre-recorded video on monitors.[10][12] The idea was intended to mock the desensitising effect of mass media.[5] Eno, who was credited in the tour programme for the "Video Staging Concept",[15] explained his vision for the tour: "the idea to make a stage set with a lot of different video sources was mine, to make a chaos of uncoordinated material happening together... The idea of getting away from video being a way of helping people to see the band more easily ... this is video as a way of obscuring them, losing them sometimes in just a network of material."[16]

A car with bright coloured squares painted on the exterior is tilted slightly to its left side at the bottom of a spiral staircase.
A Trabant from the tour's lighting system now resides in a Hard Rock Cafe in Berlin.

While on a break from recording, the band invited production designer Willie Williams to join them in Tenerife in February 1991. Williams had recently worked on David Bowie's Sound+Vision Tour, which used film projection and video content, and he was keen to "take rock show video to a level as yet undreamed of".[17] The band played Williams some of their new music—inspired by alternative rock, industrial music, and electronic dance music—and they told him about the "Zoo TV" phrase that Bono liked.[13] Williams also learned about the band's affection for the Trabant, an East German automobile that derisively became a symbol for the fall of Communism. Williams thought their fondness for the car was "deeply, deeply bizarre",[13] but nonetheless, he incorporated it into his ideas for the tour. In May, he brainstormed the idea to construct a lighting system using Trabants by hanging them from the ceiling and hollowing them to carry spotlights.[18]

On 14 June 1991, the first tour production meeting was held, with Williams, the band, manager Paul McGuinness, artist Catherine Owens, and production managers Steve Iredale and Jake Kennedy in attendance. Williams presented his ideas, which included the Trabant lighting system and the placement of video monitors all over the stage; both notions were well received.[13][18] Eno's original idea was to have the video screens on wheels and constantly in motion, although this was impractical.[16] Williams and the group proposed many ideas that did not make it to the final stage design. One such proposal, dubbed "Motorway Madness", would have placed billboards advertising real products across the stage, similar to their placement beside highways.[19] The idea was intended to be ironic, but was ultimately scrapped out of fear that the band would be accused of selling out.[19] Another proposed idea building a giant doll of an "achtung baby", complete with an inflatable penis that would spray on the audience, but it was deemed too expensive and was abandoned.[20]

By August, a prototype of a single Trabant for the lighting system was completed, with the innards gutted and retrofitted with lighting equipment, and a paint job on the exterior.[18] Williams spent most of the second half of 1991 designing the stage.[15][18] Owens was insistent that her ideas be given priority, as she thought that men had been making all of U2's creative decisions and were using male-centred designs.[19] With bassist Adam Clayton's support, she recruited visual artists from Europe and the United States to arrange images for use on the display screens. These people included video artist Mark Pellington, photo/conceptual artist David Wojnarowicz, and satirical group Emergency Broadcast Network, who digitally manipulate sampled image and sound.[21] Pellington envisaged a collection of text phrases into the visual displays, inspired by his working with artist Jenny Holzer.[22] The idea was first put into practice in the video for Achtung Baby's lead single, "The Fly".[23] Bono devised and collected numerous phrases during development of the album and the tour.[22] Additional pre-recorded video content was created by Eno, Williams, Kevin Godley, Carol Dodds, and Philip Owens.[18]

On 13 November, U2 settled on the "Zoo TV Tour" name and the plans to place video screens across the stage and build a lighting system out of Trabants.[24] McGuinness led a trip to East Germany to buy Trabants from a recently closed factory in Chemnitz,[19] and in January 1992, Catherine Owens began to paint the cars.[13] As she described, "The basic idea was that the imagery on the cars should have nothing to do with the car itself."[13] One such design was the "fertility car", which sported blown-up newspaper personal ads and a drawing of a woman giving birth while holding string tied to her husband's testicles.[19] Williams and Chilean artist Rene Castro also provided artwork on the cars.[25]

Stage design and show production[edit]

An elaborate concert stage, seen during the day inside a mostly empty stadium. The stage comprises several dark, rectangular structures. Fans are scattered throughout the floor seats, while the stadium seating is empty.
The "Outside Broadcast" version of the stage, before a Veterans Stadium concert in September 1992

The Zoo TV stages were designed by Willie Williams, U2's stage designer since the War Tour of 1982–1983. In place of U2's austere and minimalist productions of the 1980s,[13] the Zoo TV stage was a complex setup, designed to instill "sensory overload" in its audience.[26][27] The set's giant video screens showed not only close-ups of the band members performing, but also pre-recorded video, live television transmissions (intercepted by a satellite the group brought on tour), and text phrases.[28] Electronic, tabloid-style headlines ran on scrawls at the ends of the stage.[29] The band's embracing of such technology was meant as a radical departure in form, and as a commentary on the pervasive nature of technology.[4][5] This led many critics to describe the show as "ironic".[5]

Several versions of the stage were used during the tour. The first two legs of 1992 were indoors and used the smallest of the sets, which included four Vidiwalls (Philips-branded giant television screens); six painted Trabants suspended above the stage; 36 television monitors; and a B-stage, a small remote platform connected to the main stage by a ramp.[30] A seventh Trabant by the B-stage doubled as a DJ booth and a mirror ball.[31]

An elaborate concert stage, seen during the day in an empty stadium. The stage comprises several dark, rectangular structures.
The "Zooropa" version of the stage, before a concert in May 1993

To redesign the set for the 1992 North American stadium leg—dubbed "Outside Broadcast"—Williams collaborated with stage designers Mark Fisher and Jonathan Park, both of whom had worked on The Rolling Stones' Steel Wheels Tour stage set. The set was expanded to include a 248-by-80-foot (76 by 24 m) stage, and the Vidiwalls were supplemented by four larger mega-video screens.[32] Williams faced difficulties in designing the outdoor lighting system, as the stage did not have a roof. He settled on using the venues' house spotlights and strategically placed lights in the structure behind the band.[31] The spires of the stage, intended to resemble transmission towers, were tall enough that the Federal Aviation Administration required them to have blinking warning lights.[27] The stage's appearance was compared to the techno-future cityscapes from Blade Runner[27] and the works of cyberpunk writer William Gibson.[5] The B-stage was located at the end of a 150-foot-long (46 m) catwalk. The larger set used 176 speaker enclosures, 312 18-inch (46 cm) subwoofers, 592 10-inch (25 cm) mid-range speakers, 18 projectors, 26 on-stage microphones, two Betacam and two Video-8 handheld video cameras, and 11 Trabants suspended by cranes over the stage.[25][27] The outdoor stage used for the 1993 legs of the tour was smaller due to budget concerns, and it discarded the Trabants hung from cranes, instead featuring three cars hanging behind the drum kit.[31][33] All of the projection screens were replaced with "video cubes", as the projectors were not bright enough for the European summer nights, when daylight remained later into the evening.[31]

"We really wanted to do something that had never been seen before, using TV, text, and imagery. It was a very big and expensive project to put together. We allowed ourselves to be carried away by new technology."

Larry Mullen, Jr.[12]

To realise the video production ideas, the equivalent of a television studio control room—costing US$3.5 million—was built for the tour.[15][34] Beneath the stage, Dodds, the video director, operated a system custom-built by Philips called CD-i. It used five broadcast camera systems, 12 Laser Disc players, and a satellite dish, and it required 12 directors, 19 video crew members, and two separate mix stations to operate.[25] Despite the production's complexity, the group decided that flexibility in the shows' length and content was a priority. Guitarist The Edge said, "That was one of the more important decisions we made early on, that we wouldn't sacrifice flexibility, so we designed a system that is both extremely complicated and high-tech but also incredibly simple and hands-on, controlled by human beings... in that sense, it's still a live performance."[26] This flexibility allowed for improvisations and deviations from the planned programme.[35] Eno recommended that U2 film its own video tapes so that they could be edited and looped into the video displays more easily, instead of relying entirely on pre-sequenced video. Eno explained, "their show depends on some kind of response to what's happening at the moment in that place. So if it turns out they want to do a song for five minutes longer, they can actually loop through the material again so that you're not suddenly stuck with black screens halfway through the fifth verse."[10] The band shot new video for the displays over the course of the tour.[36]

The 180-person crew travelled in 12 buses and a chartered jet known as the Zoo Plane.[27][37] For the American stadium shows, 52 trucks were required to transport 1,200 short tons (1,089 tonnes) of equipment, 3 miles (4.8 km) of cabling, 12 forklifts, and a 40-short-ton (36 t) crane; the million-dollar stage was constructed in a 40-hour process with the help of 200 local labourers.[27][34] The sound system used over one million watts and weighed 30 short tons (27 t).[25]

Planning, itinerary, and ticketing[edit]

A multi-coloured rectangular concert ticket, displayed horizontally. Small icons are scattered in the background. It bears the logo of a satellite and features details of the concert, along with the text "U2 Zooropa '93 Zoo TV Tour".
The design of a 1993 "Zooropa" leg ticket reflects the tour's media oversaturation themes. The tour was co-sponsored by MTV, as shown in the ticket's bottom right corner.

Rehearsals for the tour began in December 1991 at The Factory in Dublin.[38] During this time, Eno consulted U2 on the visual aspects of the show.[15] The band found it challenging to recreate all the sounds from the new album. They considered using additional musicians, but their sentimental attachment to a four-piece prevailed.[39][40] They left Dublin on 19 February 1992 to set up at Lakeland Civic Center in Lakeland, Florida for rehearsals before the opening show at the venue on 29 February.[30][41]

Unlike many of the group's previous tours, which began ahead of or coincident with the release of a new album, Zoo TV started four months after Achtung Baby was released, giving fans more time to familiarise themselves with the new songs. By opening night, the album had already sold three million copies in the US and seven million worldwide.[4][11] The first two legs of the 1992 tour were indoor arena shows, comprising 32 concerts in North America from February to April and 25 in Europe from May to June. While the band had toured North America every year between 1980 and 1987, they were absent from the North American tour circuit for over four years before Zoo TV.[42] The US concert business was in a slump at the time, and the routing of the first two legs generally allowed only one show per city.[42][43] This was intended to announce the band's return to major cities, to gauge demand for ticket sales, and to re-introduce the notion of a "hot ticket" to concertgoers.[42][43] Tickets for the opening show in Florida sold out over the phone in four minutes,[41] demand exceeding supply by a factor of 10 to 1.[42] To combat ticket scalping, the band avoided selling tickets in box offices as much as possible, preferring to sell over the telephone instead.[44] Several cities' telephone systems were overwhelmed when Zoo TV tickets went on sale; Los Angeles telephone company Pacific Bell reported 54 million calls in a four-hour period, while Boston's telephone system was temporarily shut down.[45]

In Europe, ticketing details were kept secret until radio advertisements announced that tickets had gone on sale at box offices.[46] In many cases, tickets were limited to two-per-person to deter scalping.[45] Due to the production costs and relatively small arena crowds, the European arena leg lost money. McGuinness had planned larger outdoor concerts in Berlin, Turin, Poland, and Vienna to help the tour break even, but only the Vienna concert occurred.[46]

Two stadium legs were tentatively planned and dependent on the success of the arena tour: the North American "Outside Broadcast" leg from August–November 1992, and the European "Zooropa" leg from May–August 1993.[4][47] While their playing stadiums was motivated by pragmatic concerns, U2 saw it as an artistic challenge as well, imagining what Salvador Dalí or Andy Warhol would do with such spaces.[48] Rehearsals for "Outside Broadcast" began in Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pennsylvania in early August 1992; a public rehearsal show was held on 7 August.[27] Technical problems and pacing issues forced refinement to the show.[27] Six days before the official leg-opening Giants Stadium show, the group delayed the concert by a day, due to the difficulty of assembling the large outdoor production and the destruction of the largest screen in a windstorm.[49] By the time "Outside Broadcast" began, Achtung Baby had sold four million copies in the US.[50] Tickets for the "Zooropa" leg went on sale in November 1992. The leg, which began in May 1993, was the band's first full stadium tour of Europe and marked the first time they had visited certain areas.[33] Scheduling for the "Zoomerang" stadium leg in the Pacific from November–December 1993 afforded the band more off-days between shows than previous legs, but this amplified the exhaustion and restlessness that had set in by the tour's end.[51]

Although the tour was listed as co-sponsored by MTV,[52] the group decided against explicit corporate sponsorship; band members, especially drummer Larry Mullen, Jr., were uncertain that the tour would be profitable.[27] The daily cost of producing the tour was US$125,000, regardless of whether a show was held on a given day.[53] An attempt to convince Philips to donate the video equipment was unsuccessful, and the band had to pay for it themselves.[54] In order to defray the heavy expenses of the Pacific shows, U2 asked for large guarantees from local promoters up front, rather than sharing the financial burden as they had in the past.[55] This sometimes caused promoters to raise ticket prices above usual levels, which in turn sometimes resulted in less than full houses.[55] Profit margin was a slim four to five percent at most sold-out shows.[5]

Show overview[edit]

Pre-show[edit]

Between the support acts and U2's performance, a disc jockey played records. For the 1992 legs, Irish rock journalist and radio presenter BP Fallon filled the role. Originally hired to write the Zoo TV tour programme,[40] he played music from inside a Trabant on the B-stage, while providing commentary and wearing a cape and top hat.[56] His official title was "Guru, Viber and DJ".[40] He hosted Zoo Radio, a November 1992 distributed radio special that showcased select live performances, audio oddities, and half-serious interviews with members of U2 and the opening acts.[48] At the group's suggestion, Fallon eventually published a book about the tour entitled U2 Faraway So Close.[57] Paul Oakenfold, who became one of the world's most prominent club DJs by the decade's end, replaced him later on the tour.[58]

"Zoo TV wasn't a set piece, it was a state of mind. It was constantly evolving and changing and taking on new ideas as it went... We changed it consciously for each new area of the world."

The Edge[59]

Beginning with the group's 24 May 1992 show, Fallon played "Television, the Drug of the Nation" by hip-hop artists The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy as the last song before the venue darkened and U2 took the stage.[60][61] U2 saw the song, a commentary on mass media culture, as encapsulating some of the tour's principal themes.[48][62] The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy became one of the supporting acts for the "Outside Broadcast" leg, and after their supporting stint, "Television" was retained as the pre-show closer until the tour's conclusion.[62][63] After the venue darkened, one of several audio-video pieces was played to accompany the group taking the stage. During the "Outside Broadcast" leg, the piece was one by Emergency Broadcast Network that reorganised video clips of American President George H. W. Bush to make him sing Queen's "We Will Rock You". A different piece, created by Ned O'Hanlon and Maurice Linnane of Dreamchaser video productions, was used on the 1993 legs;[64] it wove looped video from Leni Riefenstahl's films Triumph of the Will and Olympia with various video clips featuring war and news.[37]

Main set[edit]

An elaborate concert stage set bearing a logo that reads "Zoo TV", set in a dark stadium. Towers reach into the nighttime sky, illuminated in blue with red warning lights on top.
The stage as it appeared during the early portion of the show while "One" was performed. A video screen on the left displays the quote "smell the flowers while you can" from David Wojnarowicz.

The concert began with a fixed sequence of six to eight consecutive Achtung Baby songs, a further sign that they were no longer the U2 of the 1980s.[28] For the opening song, "Zoo Station", Bono entered as his primary stage persona, "The Fly", appearing silhouetted against a giant screen of blue and white video noise interwoven with glimpses of xerox animations of the band members.[65] "The Fly" usually followed, with the video monitors flashing a rapidly changing array of textual words and aphorisms. Some of these included "Taste is the enemy of art", "Religion is a club", "Ignorance is bliss", "Watch more TV", "Believe" with letters fading out to leave "lie", and "Everything you know is wrong".[66] (During the first week of the tour, media outlets incorrectly reported that the words shown included "Bomb Japan Now", forcing the band to issue a statement denying the claim.[67]) Before "Even Better Than the Real Thing", Bono channel surfed through live television programming,[15][37] and during the song, as random images from television and pop culture flashed on screen, he filmed himself and the band with a camcorder.[68][69]

In a Zoo Radio interview, The Edge described the visual material that accompanied the first three songs:[48]

"'Zoo Station' is four minutes of a television that's not tuned into any station, but giving you interference and shash and almost a TV picture. 'The Fly' is information meltdown—text, sayings, truisms, untruisms, oxymorons, soothsayings, etc., all blasted at high speed, just fast enough so it's impossible to actually read what's being said. 'Even Better Than the Real Thing' is whatever happens to be flying around the stratosphere on that night. Satellite TV pictures, the weather, shopping channel, cubic zirconium diamond rings, religious channels, soap operas..."

"Mysterious Ways" featured a belly dancer on-stage. For the 1992 indoor legs, Florida resident Christina Petro was the dancer. Tour choreographer Morleigh Steinberg assumed the role starting with the "Outside Broadcast" leg.[28] "One" was accompanied by the title word shown in many languages, as well as Mark Pellington-directed video clips of buffalos leading to a still image of David Wojnarowicz's "Falling Buffalo" photograph.[68] For "Until the End of the World", Bono often played with a camera, kissing the lens and thrusting it into his crotch, a stark contrast from his more earnest stage behaviour of the past.[4] Beginning with "Outside Broadcast", the band began playing "New Year's Day" afterwards.[70] During "Tryin' to Throw Your Arms Around the World", Bono danced with a young female fan from the crowd (a ritual he had done more solemnly on past tours), shared camcorder video filming duties with her, and sprayed champagne.[71] At this point in the show, Mullen sometimes sang a solo performance of "Dirty Old Town".[72]

An elaborate concert stage set bearing a logo that reads "Zoo TV", set in a dark stadium. White lights shine from various angles into the center of the audience, where a performance is taking place on a small stage.
The band plays from the B-stage during the middle portion of the show.

The group played many Achtung Baby songs very similarly to the way they had appeared on record.[68][73] Since this material was complex and layered, most numbers featuring pre-recorded or offstage percussion, keyboard, or guitar elements underlying the U2 members' live instrumentals and vocals.[68][74] U2 had used backing tracks in live performance before, but with the need to sync live performance to Zoo TV's high-tech visuals, almost the entire show was synced and sequenced. This practice has continued on their subsequent tours.[75][76]

Zoo TV was one of the first large-scale concerts to feature a B-stage, where performances were intended "to be the antidote to Zoo TV".[48] Here, the band played quieter songs, such as acoustic arrangements of "Angel of Harlem", "When Love Comes to Town", "Stay (Faraway, So Close!)", and Lou Reed's "Satellite of Love".[70] Many critics compared the B-stage performances to "busking" and singled them out as the shows' highlights.[26][77]

After leaving the B-stage, U2 often played "Bad" or "Sunday Bloody Sunday",[70] with performances of "Bullet the Blue Sky" and "Running to Stand Still" following. For "Bullet the Blue Sky", the video screens displayed burning crosses and swastikas;[15][78] during "Running to Stand Still", Bono mimed the actions of a heroin addict from the B-stage, rolling up his sleeves and then spiking his arm during the final lyric.[79] Afterwards, red and yellow smoke flares came out from either end of the B-stage,[80] before the band re-grouped on the main stage for U2 classics played straight.[52] "Where the Streets Have No Name" was accompanied by sped-up video of the group in the desert from The Joshua Tree's photo shoot.[81] U2 often finished their set with "Pride (In the Name of Love)" while a clip from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famed "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech was played on the video screens.[37] The group was initially unconvinced that the leap from the rest of the show's irony and artifice to something more sincere would be successful, but they thought that it was important to demonstrate that certain ideals were so strong and true that they could be held onto no matter the circumstance.[37] The group alternated performances of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" in acoustic form on the B-stage with using it to close the main set.[82]

Encore[edit]

Commencing with the "Outside Broadcast" leg,[83] clips from the tour's "video confessional booth" were displayed on the set's screens between the main set and the encore. Concertgoers were encouraged to visit the booth prior to the concert and say whatever they wanted. These "confessions" varied from a woman flashing her breasts to a man revealing he had killed his friend in a car accident.[84] Once the encore began, Bono would return as a different alter ego—Mirror Ball Man in 1992, and MacPhisto in 1993. Performances of "Desire" were accompanied by images of Richard Nixon, Margaret Thatcher, Paul Gascoigne, and Jimmy Swaggart, and were meant as a criticism of greed;[81] cash rained the stage and Bono often portrayed Mirror Ball Man as an interpretation of the greedy preacher described in the song's lyrics.[85] Bono often made a crank call from the stage as his persona of the time.[81][84] Such calls included dialing a phone sex line, calling a taxi cab, ordering 10,000 pizzas (the Detroit pizza parlor delivered 100 pizzas during the show), or calling a local politician.[84][86] Bono regularly called the White House in an attempt to contact President Bush. Though Bono never reached the President, Bush did acknowledge the calls during a press conference.[84][87]

"Ultraviolet (Light My Way)" and "With or Without You" were frequently played afterwards. Concerts initially ended with Achtung Baby's slower "Love Is Blindness".[70] Beginning with the "Outside Broadcast" shows,[70] it was often followed by Bono's falsetto take on Elvis Presley's long-time show-closing ballad, "Can't Help Falling in Love", culminating in Bono softly stating that "Elvis is still in the building".[37] Both songs presented a low-key, introspective conclusion to the show, in contrast to the dynamic, aggressive opening; the group also wanted to move away from its tradition of ending concerts with the fan sing-along favourite "40".[37] The night finished with a single video message being displayed: "Thanks for shopping at Zoo TV".[88]

Guest appearances[edit]

A side shot of a concert stage as a crew disassembles it at night. The stadium it is built in is empty and lit up.
Side view of the stage at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia after a September 1992 concert.

On 11 June 1992, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA appeared on-stage in Stockholm for the first time in years to perform "Dancing Queen" with the band,[89] which U2 had frequently performed on the tour up to that point.[90] Other guest performers on the tour included Axl Rose,[34] Jo Shankar,[33] and Daniel Lanois.[91]

On 19 June 1992, during the European indoor leg, U2 played the "Stop Sellafield" concert in Manchester, alongside Kraftwerk, Public Enemy, and Big Audio Dynamite II, to protest the operation of a second nuclear reactor at Sellafield.[92] For the group's performance, the stage was made to resemble their Zoo TV stage. The following day, the band participated in a demonstration organised by Greenpeace in which protesters landed on the beach at Sellafield in rubber dinghies and displayed 700 placards for the waiting media.[89]

At the first "Outside Broadcast" show on 12 August 1992 at Giants Stadium, Lou Reed performed "Satellite of Love" with the band;[83] he and Bono dueted using their contrasting vocal styles.[29][50] Bono re-confirmed the singer's influence on the band by announcing, "Every song we've ever written was a rip-off of a Lou Reed song."[93] For the second show and the remainder of the tour, a taping of Reed singing the song was used for a virtual duet between him and Bono.[83]

Novelist Salman Rushdie joined the band on stage in London's Wembley Stadium on 11 August 1993, despite the death fatwā against the author and the risk of violence arising from his controversial novel The Satanic Verses.[37] In reference to the novel's satanic references, Rushdie, when confronted by Bono's MacPhisto character, observed that "real devils don't wear horns".[94] In 2010, Clayton recalled that "Bono had been calling Salman Rushdie from the stage every night on the Zoo TV tour. When we played Wembley, Salman showed up in person and the stadium erupted. You [could] tell from Larry's face that we weren't expecting it. Salman was a regular visitor after that. He had a backstage pass and he used it as often as possible. For a man who was supposed to be in hiding, it was remarkably easy to see him around the place."[95]

Sarajevo satellite link-ups[edit]

As the "Zooropa" leg unfolded in 1993, U2 became concerned about the volatile political situation in post-communist Europe and the resurgence of radical nationalism.[37] A number of these European shows featured live satellite link-ups with people living in war-torn Sarajevo during the siege of Sarajevo/Bosnian War. The transmissions were arranged with help from American aid worker Bill Carter. Before their 3 July show in Verona, Italy, the band met with Carter to give an interview about Bosnia for Radio Televizija Bosne I Hercegovina.[96][97] Carter described his experiences helping Sarajevans while surviving the dangerous living conditions.[98] While in Sarajevo, Carter had seen a television interview on MTV in which Bono mentioned the theme of the "Zooropa" leg was a unified Europe. Feeling that such an aim was empty if Bosnia went overlooked, Carter sought Bono's help.[99] He requested that U2 visit Sarajevo to bring attention to the war and break the "media fatigue" that had occurred from covering the conflict.[97] Bono wanted the band to play a concert in the city, but their tour schedule prevented this, and McGuinness believed that a concert there would make them and their audience targets for the Serbian aggressors.[97]

Instead, the group agreed to use the tour's satellite dish to conduct live video transmissions between their concerts and Carter in Sarajevo.[97] Carter returned to the city and was able to assemble a video unit. The band had to purchase a satellite dish to be sent to Sarajevo and had to pay a £100,000 fee to join the European Broadcasting Union.[98] Once set up, the band began satellite link-ups to Sarajevo on a near nightly basis, the first airing on 17 July 1993 in Bologna, Italy.[100] To connect with the EBU satellite feeds, Carter and two co-workers had to traverse "Sniper Alley" at night to reach the Sarajevo television station, and they had to film with as little light as possible to avoid the attention of snipers.[100][101] This was done a total of ten times over the course of a month. Carter discussed the deteriorating situation in the city, and Bosnians often spoke to U2 and their audience.[100] These grim interviews deviated from the rest of the show, and they were completely unscripted, leaving the group unsure of who would be speaking or what they would say.[97] U2 stopped the broadcasts in August 1993 after learning that the siege of Sarajevo was being reported on the front of many British newspapers.[101] Though this trend had begun before the first link-up, Nathan Jackson suggested that U2's actions had brought awareness of the situation to their fans, and to the British public indirectly.[101]

Reactions to the transmissions were mixed, triggering a media debate concerning the ethical implications of mixing rock entertainment with human tragedy.[37] The Edge said, "A lot of nights it felt like quite an abrupt interruption that was probably not particularly welcomed by a lot of people in the audience. You were grabbed out of a rock concert and given a really strong dose of reality and it was quite hard sometimes to get back to something as frivolous as a show having watched five or ten minutes of real human suffering."[97] Mullen worried that the band were exploiting the Bosnians' suffering for entertainment.[97] In 2002, he said, "I can't remember anything more excruciating than those Sarajevo link-ups. It was like throwing a bucket of cold water over everybody. You could see your audience going, 'What the fuck are these guys doing?' But I'm proud to have been a part of a group who were trying to do something."[1] During a transmission for the band's concert at Wembley Stadium, three women in Sarajevo told Bono via satellite, "We know you're not going to do anything for us. You're going to go back to a rock show. You're going to forget that we even exist. And we're all going to die."[97] Some people close to the band joined the War Child charity project, including Brian Eno.[97] Writer Bill Flanagan believes that the link-ups accomplished Bono's goal for Zoo TV of "illustrating onstage the obscenity of idly flipping from a war on CNN to rock videos on MTV".[102] U2 vowed to perform in Sarajevo someday, eventually fulfilling this commitment on their 1997 PopMart Tour.[103]

Bono's stage personae[edit]

Bono assumed a number of costumed alter egos during Zoo TV performances. The three main personae that he used on stage were "The Fly", "Mirror Ball Man", and "MacPhisto". Additionally, during performances of "Bullet the Blue Sky" and "Running to Stand Still", he appeared on-stage wearing a military utility vest and cap, and a microphone headset. As this character, he ranted and raved in an act he said was set in the Vietnam War.[104]

To escape their reputation for being overly serious and self-righteous, U2 decided to alter their image by being more facetious.[5] Bono said, "All through the Eighties we tried to be ourselves and failed when the lights were on. Which is what set us up for Zoo TV. We decided to have some fun being other people, or at least other versions of ourselves."[12] The Edge said, "We were quite thrilled at the prospect of smashing U2 and starting all over again."[4] The group viewed humour as the appropriate response to their negative perception and that although their message would not change, they needed to change how they delivered it to their audience.[2]

The Fly[edit]

Bono with black hair, black sunglasses, and a black leather attire speaks into a microphone.
Bono as his on-stage alter ego, "The Fly"

Bono conceived his "Fly" persona during the writing of the song of the same name. The character began with Bono wearing an oversized pair of blaxploitation sunglasses, given to him by wardrobe manager Fintan Fitzgerald, to lighten the mood in the studio.[105][106] Bono wrote the song's lyrics as this character, composing a sequence of "single-line aphorisms".[107] He developed the persona into a leather-clad egomaniac, describing his outfit as having Lou Reed's glasses, Elvis Presley's jacket, and Jim Morrison's leather pants.[108] To match the character's dark fashion, Bono dyed his naturally brown hair black.[109]

Bono began each concert as The Fly and continued to play the character for most of the first half of the concert. In contrast to his earnest self of the 1980s, as The Fly, Bono strutted around the stage with "swagger and style", exhibiting mannerisms of an egotistical rock star.[28] He adopted the mindset that he was "licensed to be an egomaniac".[48][110] He often stayed in character away from the tour stage, including for public appearances and when staying in hotels.[111] He said, "That rather cracked character could say things that I couldn't",[106] and that it offered him a greater freedom of speech.[5]

Mirror Ball Man[edit]

As the Mirror Ball Man, Bono dressed in a shining silver lamé suit with matching shoes and cowboy hat.[85] The character was meant to parody greedy American televangelists, showmen, and car salesman, and was inspired by Phil Ochs' Elvis persona from his 1970 tour.[65] Bono said that he represented "a kind of showman America. He had the confidence and charm to pick up a mirror and look at himself and give the glass a big kiss. He loved cash and in his mind success was God's blessing. If he's made money, he can't have made any mistakes."[59] As the character, Bono spoke with an exaggerated Southern American accent. Mirror Ball Man appeared during the show's encore and made nightly prank calls, often to the White House.[85] Bono portrayed this alter ego on the first three legs of the tour, but replaced him with MacPhisto for the 1993 legs.[112]

MacPhisto[edit]

MacPhisto was created to parody the devil and was named after Mephistopheles of the Faust legend.[112] Initially called "Mr. Gold", MacPhisto wore a gold suit with gold platform shoes, pale make-up, lipstick, and devil's horns atop his head.[113] As MacPhisto, Bono spoke with an exaggerated upper-class English accent, similar to that of a down-on-his-luck character actor.[112] The character was created as a European replacement for the American-influenced Mirror Ball Man.[37][112] The initial inspiration for MacPhisto came from the stage musical The Black Rider.[114] Realisation of the character did not come about until rehearsal the night before the first of the 1993 shows.[115] According to Bono, "We came up with a sort of old English Devil, a pop star long past his prime returning regularly from sessions on The Strip in Vegas and regaling anyone who would listen to him at cocktail hour with stories from the good old, bad old days."[116]

Bono continued making crank calls as MacPhisto, but the targets changed with the location of each concert. Many of them were local politicians that Bono wished to mock by engaging them in character as the devil.[86] He enjoyed making these calls, saying, "When you're dressed as the Devil, your conversation is immediately loaded, so if you tell somebody you really like what they're doing, you know it's not a compliment."[116] The band intended for MacPhisto to add humour while making a point. Said The Edge, "That character was a great device for saying the opposite of what you meant. It made the point so easily and with real humor."[116] A female Cardiff fan who was pulled on-stage questioned Bono's motives for dressing as the devil, prompting the singer to compare his act to the plot of the C. S. Lewis novel The Screwtape Letters.[117][118]

Recording and release of Zooropa[edit]

Main article: Zooropa
An elaborate concert stage at night. Three cars hang at the stage's rear shining lights towards the performance. Video screens are located behind and to the sides of the stage.
U2 performing during the "Zooropa" leg of the tour in May 1993, as the group completed the Zooropa album

U2 recorded their next album, Zooropa, from February to May 1993 during an extended break between the third and fourth legs of the tour. The album was intended as a companion EP to Achtung Baby, but soon expanded into a full LP.[119] Recording could not be completed before the tour restarted, and for the first month of the "Zooropa" leg, the band flew home after shows, recording until the early morning and working on their off-days, before travelling to their next destination.[1][119] Clayton called the process "about the craziest thing you could do to yourself", while Mullen said of it, "It was mad, but it was mad good, as opposed to mad bad."[119] McGuinness later said the band had nearly wrecked themselves in the process.[54] The album was released on 5 July 1993. Influenced by the tour's themes of technology and mass media, Zooropa was an even greater departure in style from their earlier recordings than Achtung Baby was, incorporating further dance music influences and electronic effects into their sound. A number of songs from the album were incorporated into the subsequent "Zooropa" and "Zoomerang" legs, most frequently "Numb" and "Stay (Faraway, So Close!)".[70] For the "Zoomerang" leg, "Daddy's Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car" and "Lemon" were added to the encore and "Dirty Day" to the main set.[120]

Broadcasts, recordings, and releases[edit]

On 9 September 1992, a portion of U2's performance at the Pontiac Silverdome was broadcast live to the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards. The band performed "Even Better Than the Real Thing" while VMA host Dana Carvey, dressed as his Wayne's World Garth persona, accompanied the band on drums in Los Angeles.[66] A Zoo Radio special included live selections from 1992 shows from Toronto, Dallas, Tempe, and New York City.[48] On 28 (Europe) resp. 29 (Fox) November 1992, major broadcast networks in Europe and North America (Channel 4, Premiere, France 2, Rai Uno, RTVE, TV1000, Veronica, Fox, among others) aired Zoo TV Featuring U2, a TV special directed by Kevin Godley featuring portions of several "Outside Broadcast" leg shows as well as William S. Burroughs' reading of the sardonic poem "Thanksgiving Prayer".[121][122][123][124] Several 1992 shows, including the 11 June concert in Stockholm and 27 October concert in El Paso, were broadcast into the homes of fans who had won contests.[125] In October 1992,[126] U2 released Achtung Baby: The Videos, The Cameos, and a Whole Lot of Interference from Zoo TV, a VHS compilation of nine music videos from Achtung Baby. Interspersed between the music videos were clips of so-called "interference", comprising documentary footage, media clips, and other video similar to what was displayed on tour.[34]

Two November 1993 "Zoomerang" shows in Sydney were filmed as part of a worldwide television broadcast. The 26 November show was to be a rehearsal for the production crew for the official filming the following night; however, Clayton, who began drinking excessively on the latter stages of the tour, suffered an alcoholic blackout from the previous night and was unable to perform.[127] Bass guitar technician Stuart Morgan filled in for him, marking the first time any member of U2 had missed a show. Clayton recovered in time to play the 27 November show, which was broadcast and was the only show used in the resulting video release.[127] The concert was broadcast in the United States on tape-delayed pay-per-view.[128] U2 originally planned to produce the concert with MTV for a January 1994 "triplecast" that would have offered three different perspectives of the show on three separate channels. However, the group cancelled the "triplecast" after realising they had not fully developed the concept.[129] The show was subsequently released as the concert video Zoo TV: Live from Sydney in 1994,[130] and the double CD Zoo TV Live in 2006 to subscribing members of U2's website.[131] The video won the Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video at the 37th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony.[132]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Reviews written during the initial arena legs reflected the dramatic change in U2's approach. Many critics published favourable reviews about the tour; the San Francisco Chronicle praised the special effects for supplementing the music. The reviewer wrote, "The often-surrealistic effects always served the songs, not the other way around." The review concluded, "this magnificent multimedia production will serve as a pinnacle in rock's onstage history for sometime to come".[77] Edna Gundersen of USA Today said that U2 was dismantling its myth and wrote that the show was "a trippy and decadent concert of bedazzling visuals and adventurous music".[11] Hot Press' Bill Graham said of the show, "U2 don't so much use every trick in the book as invent a whole new style of rock performance art." For Graham, the tour resolved any doubts he had about the band—particularly about Bono—following their reinvention with Achtung Baby.[26]

Other critics indicated befuddlement as to U2's purpose. The Asbury Park Press wrote that the long string of Achtung Baby song presentations that opened the show made one forget about the band's past, and that "almost everything you knew about U2 a couple years ago is, in fact, wrong now".[74] The Star-Ledger said that the band shortchanged its music with its video presentations and that especially during the opening sequence, "one was only aware of the music as a soundtrack to the real 'show'".[133] It concluded by saying that the group had lost the sense of mystery and yearning that made it great and that they had succumbed to the style of music videos.[133] Jon Pareles of The New York Times acknowledged that U2 was trying to break its former earnest image and that they were a "vastly improved band" for being "trendy" and "funny"; yet, he commented, "U2 wants to have its artifice and its sincerity at the same time—no easy thing—and it hasn't yet made the breakthrough that will unite them."[68]

The stadium legs of the tour received more consistent praise than the arena shows. Critics noted that while the show and its setlist were largely the same as before, the tour mostly benefited from the increased scale.[29][50][52] The New York Daily News said that the stage "looked like a city made of television sets—an electronic Oz" and that "glitz was used not as a mere distraction (as it has been by so many video-age artists), but as a determined conceit".[29] Gundersen also made the comparison to Oz, saying that even though the band was dwarfed by the setting, their adventurous musicianship still shone through.[88] She concluded that the group had "deliver[ed] a brilliant high-wire act" between mocking and exploiting rock music clichés,[88] a comparison also made by stage designer Williams.[115] Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles Times said of the outdoor American leg, "Zoo TV is the yardstick by which all other stadium shows will be measured."[18] David Fricke of Rolling Stone said that the band had "regained critical and commercial favor by negotiating an inspired balance between rock's cheap thrills and its own sense of moral burden". He praised the band for "retool[ing] themselves as wiseacres with heart and elephant bucks to burn". Fricke noted that the increased visual effects for the "Outside Broadcast" leg increased the shows' "mind-fuck" factor.[2] Many critics described the tour as "post-modern".[2][5][134][135] The writers of Rolling Stone, in a best-of-1992 issue, named U2 co-winners of "Best Band", while awarding the Zoo TV Tour honours for both "Best Tour" and "Worst Tour".[136]

The Independent praised the "Zooropa" leg, with the reviewer stating, "I came as a sceptic, and left believing I had witnessed the most sophisticated meeting of technical wizardry and mojo priestcraft ever mounted."[137] Dave Fanning of The Irish Times praised the "Zooropa" leg, stating, "If this is the show by which all other rock circuses must be measured, then God help the new music."[138] Fanning observed that the group, particularly Bono, exhibited "style, sex and self-assurance".[138] Billboard wrote, "No one is dancing on the edges of rock'n'roll's contradictions as effectively these days as U2."[139] The stadium legs had their detractors, as NME called the shows a "two-hour post-modernist pot noodle advert made by politically naive, culturally unaware squares with the help of some cool, arty people".[138] Graham thought that the scale of the stadium shows led to more predictability and less interaction with the audiences.[78]

Fan reaction[edit]

The group and the music industry were unsure how fans would receive the tour beforehand.[111] During the first week of shows, Bono said, "This show is a real roller coaster ride, and some people will want to get off, I'm sure." He remained optimistic that their devoted fans would continue following them, but cautioned he had no intention of resisting the glamour and fame: "Oh, but it's fun to be carried away by the hype. Where would you be without the hype?... You can't pretend all the promotion and all the fanfare is not happening."[11] Some hardcore fans, particularly in the US, objected to the tour as a blatant sellout to commercial values,[5] while others misinterpreted the tour's mocking of excess, believing that, according to VH1's Legends, "U2 had 'lost it' and that Bono had become an egomaniac".[108] Many Christian fans were offended the band's antics and believed they had abandoned their religious faith.[140]

By the outdoor legs, many fans knew what to expect, and Pareles observed that Bono's admonitions to never cheer a rock star were greeted with idolatrous applause; he concluded that the show's message of scepticism was somewhat lost on the audience and that, "No matter what Bono tells his fans, they seem likely to trust him anyway."[52] By the end of the tour's first year, U2 had won over many fans. In a 1992 end-of-year poll, readers of Q voted U2 "The Best Act in the World Today".[110] The band's almost clean sweep of Rolling Stone's end-of-year readers' poll—which included "Best Artist", "Best Tour", and Bono as "Sexiest Male Artist"—reconfirmed for the magazine they were the "world's biggest rock band".[111][141]

Commercial performance[edit]

On the opening leg, U2 sold 528,763 tickets and grossed US$13,215,414 in 32 shows.[46] They grossed US$67 million overall in 73 North American shows in 1992, easily the highest amount for any touring artist that year.[142] At the time, this was the third-highest gross for a North American tour, behind The Rolling Stones' 1989 Steel Wheels Tour and New Kids on the Block's 1990 Magic Summer Tour.[142] For 1992, Zoo TV ticket sales in America and Europe totalled 2.9 million. The "Zooropa" stadium leg the following year played to more than 2.1 million people over 43 dates between 9 May and 28 August.[33] In total, the Zoo TV Tour played to about 5.3 million people.[143] The band incurred heavy expenses to produce the tour, leading to only a small profit.[54][55] According to McGuinness, "We grossed $30 million in T-shirt sales. Without those we'd be fucked."[55] Bono later said, "When we built Zoo TV, we were so close to bankruptcy that if five percent fewer people went, U2 was bankrupt. Even in our irresponsible, youthful and fatal disregard of such material matters, it was terrifying."[144]

Impact and legacy[edit]

For the Zoo TV Tour, U2 embraced the "rock star" identity they had struggled with and were reluctant to accept throughout the 1980s.[5][22] They drew the attention of celebrities, including American presidential candidate Bill Clinton, and they began partying more than they had in the past.[1][145] During parts of the tour, the band attracted the fashion crowd; Clayton's romantic relationship with supermodel Naomi Campbell and Bono's friendship with supermodel Christy Turlington made them the subjects of unwanted tabloid attention.[145] By the "Zoomerang" leg, Clayton's relationship with Campbell was fracturing and he was drinking frequently. After missing the group's 26 November 1993 show in Sydney from an alcoholic blackout, Clayton quit drinking altogether.[127] The incident resulted in tensions within the group in the tour's final weeks. The Edge began dating the belly dancer Morleigh Steinberg during the tour,[28][49] and the two later married in 2002.[146]

The tour's two-year length, then U2's longest, exhausted the band as the final legs unfolded.[127] Following the conclusion of Zoo TV, U2 took an extended break from recording as a group. Mullen and Clayton moved into Manhattan apartments in New York City, where they sought out music lessons to become better musicians.[147] The Edge and Bono spent most of 1994 living in newly renovated houses in the South of France.[148]

After the tour, although The Fly character was retired, Bono began to wear tinted glasses, similar to his Fly sunglasses, in most public appearances. The glasses have since become a stylistic trademark of the singer in both his musical and activist roles.[149] The Fly and MacPhisto characters appeared in the animated music video to U2's 1995 song "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" from the soundtrack to Batman Forever. Author Višnja Cogan wrote that "the video crystallises and concludes the Zoo TV period and the changes that occurred".[150] Director Joel Schumacher attempted to create a role for Bono as MacPhisto in Batman Forever, but both later agreed it was not suitable.[151]

As the tour drew to a close, the group entered prolonged discussions about creating a Zoo TV television channel in partnership with MTV.[152] This never materialised, but in 1997, MTV ran a brief miniseries called Zoo-TV, which featured Emergency Broadcast Network extending their tour role in creating contemporary surrealist satirical video.[153] U2 endorsed the effort as a representation of what the tour would have been like as a news magazine,[154] but their direct role was limited to providing half-financing and outtakes from the Zooropa album.[153] Wired magazine said the series "pushe[d] the edge of commercial—even comprehensible—television".[153]

U2's subsequent concert tour, 1997's PopMart Tour, followed in Zoo TV's footsteps by mocking another social trend, this time consumerism. Paul McGuinness said the group wanted "the production [of PopMart] to beat Zoo TV", and accordingly, the tour's spectacle was a further shift away from their austere stage shows of the 1980s; PopMart's stage featured a 150-foot-long (46 m) LED screen, a 100-foot-tall (30 m) golden arch, and a mirrorball lemon.[155] Although critics were much less receptive to PopMart, Bono said in 2009 that he considers that tour to be their best: "Pop(Mart) is our finest hour. It's better than Zoo TV aesthetically, and as an art project it is a clearer thought."[156]

The Pixies' stint as a support act produced a controversy that partially contributed to their break-up.[157] In July 1992, Spin featured a controversial cover story titled "U2 On Tour: The Story They Didn't Want You to Read", which detailed author Jim Greer's travels on the tour's first weeks with his unidentified girlfriend (who turned out to be Pixies' bassist Kim Deal). The article featured their criticisms of U2 for the supposed poor treatment the Pixies received.[158] Both U2 and the Pixies disagreed and were livid at Deal, particularly Pixies frontman Black Francis. In 1993, following tensions within the group, Francis announced the Pixies had dissolved.[157]

In 2005, during their Vertigo Tour, the group often played a short set of songs from the Zoo TV Tour—"Zoo Station", "The Fly", and "Mysterious Ways"—as part of the first encore; performances of "Zoo Station" included the interference in the background visual effects, and "The Fly" used flashing text effects on the LED screens similar to the Zoo TV visuals.[159][160][161][162]

Critics regard the Zoo TV Tour as one of rock's most memorable tours. During the "Zooropa" leg of the tour, Guy Garcia of Time called Zoo TV "one of the most electrifying rock shows ever staged".[163] In 1997, Robert Hilburn wrote that "It's not unreasonable to think of it as the Sgt. Pepper's of rock tours."[115] In 2002, Tom Doyle of Q called it "still the most spectacular rock tour staged by any band",[1] and in 2013, the magazine listed it as one of the "ten greatest gigs of all time".[164] In 2009, critic Greg Kot said, "Zoo TV remains the finest supersized tour mounted by any band in the last two decades."[165] Ryan Dombal of Pitchfork Media wrote in a review of Achtung Baby's 20th anniversary reissue, "Even 20 years on, the tour looks like something to behold, a singularly inventive experience that no band—including U2 itself—has been able to really expound upon in a meaningful way."[166] The Edge said, "as a band I think it stretched us all. We were a different band after that and touring was different."[66] Producer Nellee Hooper later told Bono that Zoo TV "ruined irony for everyone".[66]

Tour dates[edit]

Date City Country Venue Opening Act(s)
Leg 1: arenas in North America[167]
29 February 1992 Lakeland United States Lakeland Civic Center Pixies
1 March 1992 Miami Miami Arena
3 March 1992 Charlotte Charlotte Coliseum
5 March 1992 Atlanta The Omni
7 March 1992 Hampton Hampton Coliseum
9 March 1992 Uniondale Nassau Coliseum
10 March 1992 Philadelphia The Spectrum
12 March 1992 Hartford Hartford Civic Center
13 March 1992 Worcester Centrum in Worcester
15 March 1992 Providence Providence Civic Center
17 March 1992 Boston Boston Garden
18 March 1992 East Rutherford Brendan Byrne Arena
20 March 1992 New York City Madison Square Garden
21 March 1992 Albany Knickerbocker Arena
23 March 1992 Montreal Canada Montreal Forum
24 March 1992 Toronto Maple Leaf Gardens
26 March 1992 Richfield United States Coliseum at Richfield
27 March 1992 Auburn Hills The Palace of Auburn Hills
30 March 1992 Minneapolis Target Center
31 March 1992 Rosemont Rosemont Horizon
5 April 1992 Dallas Reunion Arena
6 April 1992 Houston The Summit
7 April 1992 Austin Frank Erwin Center
10 April 1992 Tempe Arizona State University Activity Center
12 April 1992 Los Angeles Sports Arena
13 April 1992
15 April 1992 San Diego San Diego Sports Arena
17 April 1992 Sacramento Arco Arena
18 April 1992 Oakland Oakland Coliseum Arena
20 April 1992 Tacoma Tacoma Dome
21 April 1992
23 April 1992 Vancouver Canada Pacific Coliseum
Leg 2: arenas in Europe[168]
7 May 1992 Paris France Palais Omnisports Bercy The Fatima Mansions
9 May 1992 Ghent Belgium Flanders Expo
11 May 1992 Lyon France Halle Tony Garnier
12 May 1992 Lausanne Switzerland CIG de Malley
14 May 1992 San Sebastián Spain Velodrome Anoeta
16 May 1992 Barcelona Palau Sant Jordi
18 May 1992
21 May 1992 Assago Italy Forum di Assago
22 May 1992
24 May 1992 Vienna Austria Donauinsel
25 May 1992 Munich Germany Olympiahalle
27 May 1992 Zurich Switzerland Hallenstadion
29 May 1992 Frankfurt Germany Festhalle
31 May 1992 London United Kingdom Earls Court Exhibition Centre
1 June 1992 Birmingham National Exhibition Centre
4 June 1992 Dortmund Germany Westfalenhalle
5 June 1992
8 June 1992 Gothenburg Sweden Scandinavium
10 June 1992 Stockholm Globen
11 June 1992
13 June 1992 Kiel Germany Sparkassen-Arena
15 June 1992 Rotterdam Netherlands Ahoy
17 June 1992 Sheffield United Kingdom Sheffield Arena
18 June 1992 Glasgow SECC
19 June 1992 Manchester GMEX Centre
Leg 3: stadiums in North America ("Outside Broadcast")[169]
7 August 1992 Hershey United States Hersheypark Stadium WNOC
12 August 1992 East Rutherford Giants Stadium Primus,
Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy
13 August 1992
15 August 1992 Washington, D.C. Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium
16 August 1992
18 August 1992 Saratoga Springs Saratoga Gaming and Raceway
20 August 1992 Foxborough Foxboro Stadium
22 August 1992
23 August 1992
25 August 1992 Pittsburgh Three Rivers Stadium
27 August 1992 Montreal Canada Olympic Stadium
29 August 1992 New York City United States Yankee Stadium
30 August 1992
2 September 1992 Philadelphia Veterans Stadium
3 September 1992
5 September 1992 Toronto Canada Exhibition Stadium
6 September 1992
9 September 1992 Pontiac United States Pontiac Silverdome
11 September 1992 Ames Cyclone Stadium
13 September 1992 Madison Camp Randall Stadium Big Audio Dynamite II,
Public Enemy
15 September 1992 Tinley Park First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
16 September 1992
18 September 1992
20 September 1992 St. Louis Busch Memorial Stadium
23 September 1992 Columbia Williams-Brice Stadium
25 September 1992 Atlanta Georgia Dome
3 October 1992 Miami Gardens Joe Robbie Stadium
7 October 1992 Birmingham Legion Field
10 October 1992 Tampa Tampa Stadium
14 October 1992 Houston Houston Astrodome
16 October 1992 Irving Texas Stadium The Sugarcubes,
Public Enemy
18 October 1992 Kansas City Arrowhead Stadium
21 October 1992 Denver Mile High Stadium
24 October 1992 Tempe Sun Devil Stadium
27 October 1992 El Paso Sun Bowl Stadium
30 October 1992 Los Angeles Dodger Stadium
31 October 1992
3 November 1992 Vancouver Canada BC Place Stadium
4 November 1992
7 November 1992 Oakland United States Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
10 November 1992 San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium
12 November 1992 Whitney Sam Boyd Stadium
14 November 1992 Anaheim Anaheim Stadium
21 November 1992 Mexico City Mexico Palacio de los Deportes Big Audio Dynamite II
22 November 1992
24 November 1992
25 November 1992
Leg 4: stadiums in Europe ("Zooropa")[170]
9 May 1993 Rotterdam Netherlands Feijenoord Stadion Utah Saints, Claw Boys Claw
10 May 1993 Einstürzende Neubauten, Claw Boys Claw
11 May 1993 Claw Boys Claw
15 May 1993 Lisbon Portugal Estádio José Alvalade Utah Saints
19 May 1993 Oviedo Spain Estadio Carlos Tartiere Utah Saints, The Ramones
22 May 1993 Madrid Estadio Vicente Calderón
26 May 1993 Nantes France Stade de la Beaujoire Urban Dance Squad, Utah Saints
29 May 1993 Werchter Belgium Festival Grounds Stereo MCs, Urban Dance Squad
2 June 1993 Frankfurt Germany Waldstadion Stereo MCs, Die Toten Hosen
4 June 1993 Munich Olympiastadion
6 June 1993 Stuttgart Cannstatter Wasen
9 June 1993 Bremen Weserstadion
12 June 1993 Cologne Müngersdorferstadion
15 June 1993 Berlin Olympiastadion
23 June 1993 Strasbourg France Stade de la Meinau Stereo MCs, The Velvet Underground
26 June 1993 Paris Hippodrome de Vincennes Belly, The Velvet Underground
28 June 1993 Lausanne Switzerland Stade Olympique de la Pontaise The Velvet Underground
30 June 1993 Basel St. Jakob Stadium Stereo MCs, The Velvet Underground
2 July 1993 Verona Italy Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi An Emotional Fish, Pearl Jam
3 July 1993
6 July 1993 Rome Stadio Flaminio
7 July 1993
9 July 1993 Naples Stadio San Paolo The Velvet Underground
12 July 1993 Turin Stadio Delle Alpi An Emotional Fish, Ligabue
14 July 1993 Marseille France Stade Vélodrome An Emotional Fish
17 July 1993 Bologna Italy Stadio Renato Dall'Ara An Emotional Fish, Galliano
18 July 1993
23 July 1993 Budapest Hungary Stadium Puskás Ferenc Ákos
27 July 1993 Copenhagen Denmark Gentofte Stadion PJ Harvey, Stereo MCs
29 July 1993 Oslo Norway Valle Hovin Stadion
31 July 1993 Stockholm Sweden Stockholm Olympic Stadium
3 August 1993 Nijmegen Netherlands Goffertpark
7 August 1993 Glasgow United Kingdom Celtic Park Utah Saints, PJ Harvey
8 August 1993 Utah Saints, Stereo MCs
11 August 1993 London Wembley Stadium PJ Harvey, Big Audio Dynamite II
12 August 1993
14 August 1993 Leeds Roundhay Park Marxman, Stereo MCs
18 August 1993 Cardiff Cardiff Arms Park Utah Saints, Stereo MCs
20 August 1993 London Wembley Stadium
21 August 1993 Björk, Stereo MCs
24 August 1993 Cork Ireland Pairc Ui Chaoimh Engine Alley, Utah Saints
27 August 1993 Dublin RDS Arena Marxman, The Golden Horde
28 August 1993 Scary Éire, Stereo MCs
Leg 5: stadiums in Australasia ("Zoomerang/New Zooland")[171]
12 November 1993 Melbourne Australia Melbourne Cricket Ground Big Audio Dynamite II, Kim Salmon and the Surrealists
13 November 1993
16 November 1993 Adelaide Football Park
20 November 1993 Brisbane Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre
26 November 1993 Sydney Sydney Football Stadium
27 November 1993
1 December 1993 Christchurch New Zealand Lancaster Park 3Ds, Big Audio Dynamite II
4 December 1993 Auckland Western Springs Stadium
9 December 1993 Tokyo Japan Tokyo Dome Big Audio Dynamite II
10 December 1993

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Footnotes
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External links[edit]