Author Topic: U2 have become a 'show' rather than a band.  (Read 5927 times)

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Offline LOGAN B

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Re: U2 have become a 'show' rather than a band.
« Reply #45 on: August 04, 2009, 12:29:28 PM »
U2 have put on shows since ZOOTV. It's all choreographed and planned out.

Offline Vervefloyd

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Re: U2 have become a 'show' rather than a band.
« Reply #46 on: August 04, 2009, 03:27:24 PM »
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Many bands simply can't have a setlist that wildly varies from night-to-night, they simply don't have the musical chops to pull it off. I'm not saying U2 is guilty of this, but I've been seeing the band live for over 20 years and there is a reason why for this tour I only bought tickets to one show. I was willing to buy more tickets, but when I saw that the setlist wasn't changing I was glad I didn't buy tickets for multiple shows.

I think some of the reason why bands don't do this anymore is that it's much, much safer to have the canned, pre-programmed setlist. Things have a far less chance to go wrong, bands are so image conscious they are terrified of looking bad on stage. But sometimes seeing the warts humanizes them, makes them more interesting. And geez, U2 isn't really a rock and roll band anymore if we are being completely honest; they are a corporation with hundreds, thousands or maybe, tens of thousands of mouths to feed, paychecks to cover. Especially now when bands have less of a chance to make serious money off of album sales than they ever did before, concert tours are THE money-maker. Experimentation happens on album now, not on tour.

Back in the day, this wasn't the way it was done. There were many bands that changed the setlist every night and I mean changed it completely. The most famous example is The Grateful Dead. I saw the Dead many, many times and with them no two shows were the same...ever. You'd go to a show and it would be days, weeks, years, maybe decades before that song made an appearance at another Dead show, which is why people toured with the dead. My friends and I would plan vacations from work, school, etc and follow the Dead for 10-12 shows when the dead hit the west coast, and you'd pray that your favorite song made an appearance during those 10-12 shows.

Having lived through that magic with the dead, I would love to hear U2 do this. The problem is that you have to live through nights when the band is 'off' but when they are on, wow, pure magic. U2 can't take risks like that, so we get these shows where really the music is not the forefront anymore, the performance is.

The reality is, these big bands just don't do stuff like that anymore. There will always be exceptions of course, but my belief is that for the most part, the days of the changing setlist is vanishing like the dodo. It's just easier to play it safe.

I don't think the days are gone of bands doing that.  I just think the days are gone of bands getting huge like they used to.  Phish still tours the dead way and plays a completely different show every night.  Springsteen switches up 10-15 songs night.  Radiohead rotates tons of their catalog.  Like u said bands make their money now almost exclusively off touring and what you're seeing is many band who have broken up getting back together doing greatest hits shows just to rope in the money.

U2 weren't afraid to leave their album comfort zone in the 90's and if i remember correctly warned fans and critics alike that certain songs (i.e sbs) wouldn't appear on lovetown and others would be rotated.  lovetown is the only tour U2 ever experiment with rotating the set each night with different openers and structures.  would U2 have the balls to do a few nights with a Hawkmoon opener.  I don't think so. 

I think the 90's were a different time.  The giant stadium show worked, the internet wasn't as obsessed with set lists, although it started to in 1997.  people are living simpler lives and i think many of us would love for U2 to just be about the songs again.  My theory is the most groundbreaking thing U2 could have done is not build a larger than life tour, but come out and say we are truly getting back to the basics.  we're gonna really explore out back catalog and really change it up each night.  springsteen still gets the common crowd but he also trusts his fans to appreciate any curveball he throws out there regardless of if they have heard the song.  i honestly think U2 is scared as hell to play anything off Pop or anything off Zooropa not acoustic.  Common fans like those albums too.  I just feel U2 always tried to stay ahead of everyone and this time the giant structure is masking that they are behind the times.  They had the balls to drop Pride before, to drop SBS before, to drop WOWY before, hell even Streets missed some nights on the JT tour, I'm confused as to why all are back and regulars now.

Offline Mr. BonorFLYd

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Re: U2 have become a 'show' rather than a band.
« Reply #47 on: August 04, 2009, 03:59:32 PM »
U2 were never a jam band. i doubt this many people complained about the set list years back before the internet or even in the early to mid '90's before blogs. we are so tuned in now. every silent but deadly fart is a huge thundering blast.

U2 switch a song here and there. sure, they could be more adventurous, but i'd prefer they play the songs to the best of their ability. also, let's not forget that they have to coordinate the visuals with the music. it's a cohesive package. Having 'The Unforgettable Fire' in there is a treat. Of course I'd like to also hear 'Hold Me, Thrill Me' and 'The Wanderer' on the list as well as a few others from No Line like "Stand Up" and "White As Snow".

Offline Darkstar

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Re: U2 have become a 'show' rather than a band.
« Reply #48 on: August 04, 2009, 07:01:11 PM »
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Many bands simply can't have a setlist that wildly varies from night-to-night, they simply don't have the musical chops to pull it off. I'm not saying U2 is guilty of this, but I've been seeing the band live for over 20 years and there is a reason why for this tour I only bought tickets to one show. I was willing to buy more tickets, but when I saw that the setlist wasn't changing I was glad I didn't buy tickets for multiple shows.

I think some of the reason why bands don't do this anymore is that it's much, much safer to have the canned, pre-programmed setlist. Things have a far less chance to go wrong, bands are so image conscious they are terrified of looking bad on stage. But sometimes seeing the warts humanizes them, makes them more interesting. And geez, U2 isn't really a rock and roll band anymore if we are being completely honest; they are a corporation with hundreds, thousands or maybe, tens of thousands of mouths to feed, paychecks to cover. Especially now when bands have less of a chance to make serious money off of album sales than they ever did before, concert tours are THE money-maker. Experimentation happens on album now, not on tour.

Back in the day, this wasn't the way it was done. There were many bands that changed the setlist every night and I mean changed it completely. The most famous example is The Grateful Dead. I saw the Dead many, many times and with them no two shows were the same...ever. You'd go to a show and it would be days, weeks, years, maybe decades before that song made an appearance at another Dead show, which is why people toured with the dead. My friends and I would plan vacations from work, school, etc and follow the Dead for 10-12 shows when the dead hit the west coast, and you'd pray that your favorite song made an appearance during those 10-12 shows.

Having lived through that magic with the dead, I would love to hear U2 do this. The problem is that you have to live through nights when the band is 'off' but when they are on, wow, pure magic. U2 can't take risks like that, so we get these shows where really the music is not the forefront anymore, the performance is.

The reality is, these big bands just don't do stuff like that anymore. There will always be exceptions of course, but my belief is that for the most part, the days of the changing setlist is vanishing like the dodo. It's just easier to play it safe.

I don't think the days are gone of bands doing that.  I just think the days are gone of bands getting huge like they used to.  Phish still tours the dead way and plays a completely different show every night.  Springsteen switches up 10-15 songs night.  Radiohead rotates tons of their catalog.  Like u said bands make their money now almost exclusively off touring and what you're seeing is many band who have broken up getting back together doing greatest hits shows just to rope in the money.

U2 weren't afraid to leave their album comfort zone in the 90's and if i remember correctly warned fans and critics alike that certain songs (i.e sbs) wouldn't appear on lovetown and others would be rotated.  lovetown is the only tour U2 ever experiment with rotating the set each night with different openers and structures.  would U2 have the balls to do a few nights with a Hawkmoon opener.  I don't think so. 

I think the 90's were a different time.  The giant stadium show worked, the internet wasn't as obsessed with set lists, although it started to in 1997.  people are living simpler lives and i think many of us would love for U2 to just be about the songs again.  My theory is the most groundbreaking thing U2 could have done is not build a larger than life tour, but come out and say we are truly getting back to the basics.  we're gonna really explore out back catalog and really change it up each night.  springsteen still gets the common crowd but he also trusts his fans to appreciate any curveball he throws out there regardless of if they have heard the song.  i honestly think U2 is scared as hell to play anything off Pop or anything off Zooropa not acoustic.  Common fans like those albums too.  I just feel U2 always tried to stay ahead of everyone and this time the giant structure is masking that they are behind the times.  They had the balls to drop Pride before, to drop SBS before, to drop WOWY before, hell even Streets missed some nights on the JT tour, I'm confused as to why all are back and regulars now.

You mentioned Springsteen, Phish, Radiohead. However if you look back, I said there will always be exceptions, they are the exceptions. U2 is one of my favorite bands to see live, but i only bought one ticket to see them. Bruce on the other hand, I saw multiple times this tour specifically because he changes things up. His concert is an adventure because of that.

I don't know how long you have been going to concerts, but if it's been for quite a few years, you have to admit that the changing setlist is a rarity now. Yes? Regardless, I, like you would love to see U2 leave its comfort zone. Maybe the band needs to do stuff with other people more, on a solo basis when they are not touring as 'U2'. Maybe then they'd get the fire back?

To BonorFLYd: Do you think only Jam Bands can change things up on their setlists? I can tell you as someone who has seen bands that change things up, the AV is not that difficult to incorporate to a changing setlist. If it is that much of a problem, then the claw isn't that great of a technical achievement.

Offline Terrasidius

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Re: U2 have become a 'show' rather than a band.
« Reply #49 on: August 04, 2009, 08:11:53 PM »
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ZOO TV/Zoorope and POP-Mart were both pre programmed productions in stadiums with only minor improvisations in the sets throughout those tours.  Where as there were more changes on the Elevation and Vertigo tours in arenas.  It seems you can't have it both ways with U2 - a large scale stadium production where the stage show is designed to WOW or more loose concerts in relatively smaller indoor arenas with the focus more on the music.  I would rather take an arena show every time but that's another debate, stadiums V arenas. 

well if we can land a man on the moon surely U2 can rotate the set during a stadium show.  however the problem lies in the type of musicians that U2 are.  they are just U2, nothing more.  they require lots of rehearsing just to play a U2 show.  springsteen practices 3 days with the band then they do 2 rehearsal gigs and hit the road and they can play 120+.  U2 are very limited musicians who require excessive repetition just to pull their own songs off.  while they sound great doing the U2 thing, they just can't pop on stage and join any band at any time and seemlessly join the set.  its probably too late in their career for it, but U2 just doesnt strive to make themselves better as a band.  playing only 30 songs for 12 months doesn't actually do anything.  imagine if U2 challenged themselves night in and night out like springsteen, they might spark some long lost creativity and try some new approaches for albums.  and maybe even rediscover that POP was brilliant instead of acting like it never happened and parading around like ATYCLB was some groundbreaking album, when in fact it was about the easiest route they have ever take for an album. 

so i often wondered if i posted this on a thread what the answer would be:

Would you rather see the same show U2 does every night to make sure you don't miss say a song like Unforgettable Fire or would you rather leave the stadium knowing that you and 60,000 others say a show no one else on the tour can say they saw?

U2 just confuse me.  They haven't been afraid to drop WOWY and SBS before but whats the deal now.  Do they fit that well thematically? I can;t imagine WOWY fitting anywhere with how horrible its been on this tour.

And so yes U2 is a traveling broadway show, problem is there is no brilliant plot, just 22 or 23 acts.  no reason why they can't be interchangeable.  it might require more work on U2's part and less travel to Nice after shows, but come on we are all working a little harder for our money these days.  the least U2 could do is the same.


Very good point, I have to agree with this.

Offline Terrasidius

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Re: U2 have become a 'show' rather than a band.
« Reply #50 on: August 04, 2009, 08:17:00 PM »
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Many bands simply can't have a setlist that wildly varies from night-to-night, they simply don't have the musical chops to pull it off. I'm not saying U2 is guilty of this, but I've been seeing the band live for over 20 years and there is a reason why for this tour I only bought tickets to one show. I was willing to buy more tickets, but when I saw that the setlist wasn't changing I was glad I didn't buy tickets for multiple shows.

I think some of the reason why bands don't do this anymore is that it's much, much safer to have the canned, pre-programmed setlist. Things have a far less chance to go wrong, bands are so image conscious they are terrified of looking bad on stage. But sometimes seeing the warts humanizes them, makes them more interesting. And geez, U2 isn't really a rock and roll band anymore if we are being completely honest; they are a corporation with hundreds, thousands or maybe, tens of thousands of mouths to feed, paychecks to cover. Especially now when bands have less of a chance to make serious money off of album sales than they ever did before, concert tours are THE money-maker. Experimentation happens on album now, not on tour.

Back in the day, this wasn't the way it was done. There were many bands that changed the setlist every night and I mean changed it completely. The most famous example is The Grateful Dead. I saw the Dead many, many times and with them no two shows were the same...ever. You'd go to a show and it would be days, weeks, years, maybe decades before that song made an appearance at another Dead show, which is why people toured with the dead. My friends and I would plan vacations from work, school, etc and follow the Dead for 10-12 shows when the dead hit the west coast, and you'd pray that your favorite song made an appearance during those 10-12 shows.

Having lived through that magic with the dead, I would love to hear U2 do this. The problem is that you have to live through nights when the band is 'off' but when they are on, wow, pure magic. U2 can't take risks like that, so we get these shows where really the music is not the forefront anymore, the performance is.

The reality is, these big bands just don't do stuff like that anymore. There will always be exceptions of course, but my belief is that for the most part, the days of the changing setlist is vanishing like the dodo. It's just easier to play it safe.

Also great point put across brilliantly. Thanks

Offline miami

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Re: U2 have become a 'show' rather than a band.
« Reply #51 on: August 05, 2009, 08:39:41 AM »
there were no seismic set-list changes in the 90's either. it's a great show by a great band. i didn't care about the claw. i just had a great time listening to the great tunes u2 played in croke park. i think you'll find that the guy who started this thread, (belfast brendan)  just didn't like the new album. he has said so in the past.

the 6 or so songs from the new album probably put him off. ah well. i didn't like atyclb so i didn't go to any elevation tour gigs.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 08:44:50 AM by Joe90usa »

Offline Mr. BonorFLYd

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Re: U2 have become a 'show' rather than a band.
« Reply #52 on: August 05, 2009, 09:45:34 AM »
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To BonorFLYd: Do you think only Jam Bands can change things up on their setlists? I can tell you as someone who has seen bands that change things up, the AV is not that difficult to incorporate to a changing setlist. If it is that much of a problem, then the claw isn't that great of a technical achievement.


If that's so then U2 can fire everybody and just get you in there to sort out their technical coordinations so they can become more like phish. what they have going on is very technical, it just looks easy because it all works. As for switching it up - I did say that they/U2 could be a little more adventurous. But, on the same token I will take quality over quantity and set-list changes any day of the week. And sometimes, the way a song flows into the next is very important if you want to build, sustain, or transition mood, and coordinate it with the imagery and lighting.

Personally, I was hoping and thinking that with this whole Blackberry thing that we as the audience could text-request songs...and based on the results of a text poll that song would get played. I'd also like to see the musicians' instruments affecting and triggering lights and images...so based on what chords edge is playing or how soft or intense he is playing it is triggering designs, colors, and images. same for larry, adam & Bono. I'd also like Bono to have a more interactive microphone like the one Trent Reznor uses where he can personally control the effects on his microphone with a series of switch/buttons.

bottom line i guess is that more interaction with the technology would be more interesting.

**Also, if they want to really get some cool revolutionary stage work - WHY NOT HAVE A SECTION OF THE AUDIENCE ROTATE AROUND THE 360 STAGE? That's never been done before. Have a special designated area/ring that mechanically moves around the stage very slowly like one of those rotating restaurants (like the one at the top of the Marriott Hotel in Times Square NY). That to me would be wild. Kind of like a theme Park/Concert.


« Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 09:53:30 AM by Mr. BonorFLYd »

Offline brendan,belfast

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Re: U2 have become a 'show' rather than a band.
« Reply #53 on: August 05, 2009, 03:59:28 PM »
To Miami, you said, "i think you'll find that the guy who started this thread, (belfast brendan)  just didn't like the new album. he has said so in the past"

No, I have never said that. In fact a few weeks after the album came out I started a thread stating how good I think the album is. You are simply wrong on that one. Boots is the biggest sin they have ever cmmitted but I think the album is very strong.

In fact I wish they had the courage to play more of it live - what puts me off the inflexibility of the group.

Offline Evil Bono

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Re: U2 have become a 'show' rather than a band.
« Reply #54 on: August 05, 2009, 06:46:47 PM »
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To BonorFLYd: Do you think only Jam Bands can change things up on their setlists? I can tell you as someone who has seen bands that change things up, the AV is not that difficult to incorporate to a changing setlist. If it is that much of a problem, then the claw isn't that great of a technical achievement.


If that's so then U2 can fire everybody and just get you in there to sort out their technical coordinations so they can become more like phish. what they have going on is very technical, it just looks easy because it all works. As for switching it up - I did say that they/U2 could be a little more adventurous. But, on the same token I will take quality over quantity and set-list changes any day of the week. And sometimes, the way a song flows into the next is very important if you want to build, sustain, or transition mood, and coordinate it with the imagery and lighting.

Personally, I was hoping and thinking that with this whole Blackberry thing that we as the audience could text-request songs...and based on the results of a text poll that song would get played. I'd also like to see the musicians' instruments affecting and triggering lights and images...so based on what chords edge is playing or how soft or intense he is playing it is triggering designs, colors, and images. same for larry, adam & Bono. I'd also like Bono to have a more interactive microphone like the one Trent Reznor uses where he can personally control the effects on his microphone with a series of switch/buttons.

bottom line i guess is that more interaction with the technology would be more interesting.

**Also, if they want to really get some cool revolutionary stage work - WHY NOT HAVE A SECTION OF THE AUDIENCE ROTATE AROUND THE 360 STAGE? That's never been done before. Have a special designated area/ring that mechanically moves around the stage very slowly like one of those rotating restaurants (like the one at the top of the Marriott Hotel in Times Square NY). That to me would be wild. Kind of like a theme Park/Concert.



I'm with you on the rotating audience but I would guess there's something about rotating 500 people all at once. 

Offline Mr. T

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Re: U2 have become a 'show' rather than a band.
« Reply #55 on: August 05, 2009, 08:10:43 PM »
Jam bands suck. People tolerated The Dead cause 90% of the audience
was 2 tabs of acid in. So were the band.

Yeah, I've seen a Dead show. I've heard all the tapes. Flashes of brilliance, loads of self indulgent masturbation. Played poorly.

They may have been a good band if they ditched the drugs. Songs didn't seem to matter, to the band of the "fans."

I just can't enjoy any band that places songs 3rd or 4th in their set of priorities.   

Offline Darkstar

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Re: U2 have become a 'show' rather than a band.
« Reply #56 on: August 05, 2009, 09:43:47 PM »
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Jam bands suck. People tolerated The Dead cause 90% of the audience
was 2 tabs of acid in. So were the band.

Yeah, I've seen a Dead show. I've heard all the tapes. Flashes of brilliance, loads of self indulgent masturbation. Played poorly.

They may have been a good band if they ditched the drugs. Songs didn't seem to matter, to the band of the "fans."

I just can't enjoy any band that places songs 3rd or 4th in their set of priorities.   

I would respond in depth to this but it's obvious you didn't 'get' The Grateful Dead, or maybe saw them on an off night. Their musical history (American Beauty, Workingman's Dead, Live/Dead, Europe '72) speaks greater volumes than I ever could for them. But to say that music was 3rd or 4th in priority to someone with the Garcia's musical talent strikes me as something only a troll looking for a web fight would say, let alone insulting the audience that made them the most successful touring band in rock history.

Offline Mr. T

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Re: U2 have become a 'show' rather than a band.
« Reply #57 on: August 05, 2009, 09:51:55 PM »
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I would respond in depth to this but it's obvious you didn't 'get' The Grateful Dead, or maybe saw them on an off night. Their musical history (American Beauty, Workingman's Dead, Live/Dead, Europe '72) speaks greater volumes than I ever could for them. But to say that music was 3rd or 4th in priority to someone with the Garcia's musical talent strikes me as something only a troll looking for a web fight would say, let alone insulting the audience that made them the most successful touring band in rock history.

They were a horrible band. Their audiences were more concerned with getting high than the music.

All they proved is people like dropping acid together.

Horrible band. Horrible fans.


Offline Darkstar

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Re: U2 have become a 'show' rather than a band.
« Reply #58 on: August 05, 2009, 09:58:22 PM »
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I would respond in depth to this but it's obvious you didn't 'get' The Grateful Dead, or maybe saw them on an off night. Their musical history (American Beauty, Workingman's Dead, Live/Dead, Europe '72) speaks greater volumes than I ever could for them. But to say that music was 3rd or 4th in priority to someone with the Garcia's musical talent strikes me as something only a troll looking for a web fight would say, let alone insulting the audience that made them the most successful touring band in rock history.

They were a horrible band. Their audiences were more concerned with getting high than the music.

All they proved is people like dropping acid together.

Horrible band. Horrible fans.



Thanks, you just proved my point.

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Offline Mr. BonorFLYd

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Re: U2 have become a 'show' rather than a band.
« Reply #59 on: August 05, 2009, 09:58:40 PM »
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To BonorFLYd: Do you think only Jam Bands can change things up on their setlists? I can tell you as someone who has seen bands that change things up, the AV is not that difficult to incorporate to a changing setlist. If it is that much of a problem, then the claw isn't that great of a technical achievement.


If that's so then U2 can fire everybody and just get you in there to sort out their technical coordinations so they can become more like phish. what they have going on is very technical, it just looks easy because it all works. As for switching it up - I did say that they/U2 could be a little more adventurous. But, on the same token I will take quality over quantity and set-list changes any day of the week. And sometimes, the way a song flows into the next is very important if you want to build, sustain, or transition mood, and coordinate it with the imagery and lighting.

Personally, I was hoping and thinking that with this whole Blackberry thing that we as the audience could text-request songs...and based on the results of a text poll that song would get played. I'd also like to see the musicians' instruments affecting and triggering lights and images...so based on what chords edge is playing or how soft or intense he is playing it is triggering designs, colors, and images. same for larry, adam & Bono. I'd also like Bono to have a more interactive microphone like the one Trent Reznor uses where he can personally control the effects on his microphone with a series of switch/buttons.

bottom line i guess is that more interaction with the technology would be more interesting.

**Also, if they want to really get some cool revolutionary stage work - WHY NOT HAVE A SECTION OF THE AUDIENCE ROTATE AROUND THE 360 STAGE? That's never been done before. Have a special designated area/ring that mechanically moves around the stage very slowly like one of those rotating restaurants (like the one at the top of the Marriott Hotel in Times Square NY). That to me would be wild. Kind of like a theme Park/Concert.



I'm with you on the rotating audience but I would guess there's something about rotating 500 people all at once. 

LOL...if anyone could figure it out, it would be U2. Well, my old man is pretty smart that way - he could probably do it. Of course, 500 people drinking too much and rotating might induce some projectile vomiting!