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Sixty-Nine Things You May Not Have Known About Life in the Zoo

Propaganda, Issue 17, January 01, 1993

 

1 U2's Zoo TV traveled America in 52 semi-trailers, carrying 1,200 tons of equipment. The tour used over 200 locally supplied laborers, required 12 forklifts and a 120-foot 40-ton crane.

2 In Tempe, Arizona U2 Sound Engineer Joe O'Herlihy celebrated his twentieth wedding anniversary with his wife Marion.

3 The two days U2 spent at Sun Devil's Stadium in Tempe, Arizona saw the heaviest rainfall in the area for five years -- since the last time U2 played the stadium.

4 In Chicago U2 got a message from a member of the Bill Clinton Presidential Campaign Team that he would be happy to meet them. They were staying in the same hotel as him and, after a show, at about three in the morning, decided to knock him up. Unfortunately he was fast asleep -- according to the ranks of security patrolling the hotel. But next morning the band got a message from his entourage to say he had some time later in the day, and so they did get to meet.

Edge: "He came round and we sat down with him and chatted about a few things and he struck me as pretty much what he appears to be." But after he was elected President the band had to decline an invitation to play at his Washington Inauguration. Edge: "It's very dodgy to become too closely associated with politicians. We've had approaches over the years from a few politicians. We can support issues but not the candidate."

5 Two of the Trabants from the Zoo TV Tour later found fame of their own when they were featured on national TV in England on BBC1's Tomorrow's World in a special programme about entertainment technology.

6 At the four nights in Mexico City a new phenomenon was apparently created when, instead of merely holding up their lighters to express appreciation, the 22,000 fans began clicking them on and off to the rhythm of the songs. Not exactly the Mexican Wave but an excited lighting director said this phenomenon is one to be encouraged.

7 The sound system on the Zoo TV tour utilized over 1 million watts of power and had a total weight of 60,000 lbs. -- about 30 tons. There were two separate monitor mix positions, each with two consoles providing 160 channel-input capacity. There were 26 on stage mixes and 60 separate monitor speakers. The P.A. system was comprised of 176 speaker enclosures of various types utilizing 312 18" woofers, 592 10" mid-range speakers and 604 high frequency drivers. Front of house had three 40-channel consoles with a total input capability of 120 channels. It is a Clair Brothers sound system.

8 This is an example of a set-list from the Zoo TV tour by U2:
Set 3

Drug of the Nation Bees/George Zoo Station The Fly Real Thing Mysterious Ways One End of the World New Year's Day Larry Arms Around the World Angel of Harlem Lovetown Satellite of Love Acoustic Cruel Sunday Bloody Sunday Bullet the Blue Sky Running to Stand Still Streets Pride Still Haven't Found **************** Desire Light My Way With or Without You **************** Love is Blindness


9 Zoo TV's traveling army included over 180 members traveling in 12 buses as well as a 40-passenger chartered jet.

10 For the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert in April, U2 satellited across a live version of "Until the End of the World." They were performing in Tacoma at the time of the concert -- but in the interval the tribute concert was broadcast live to U2's Tacoma fans from England.

11 Edge, about those Trabbies? "It's a surreal thing, they might as well be goldfish."

12 Four generators were used to power the Zoo TV show, using in excess of 3 miles of cable. These generators could provide enough power to run two city blocks of homes.

13 Malcolm Gerrie, producer of the Zoo TV special aired at the end of 1992 in 37 countries, said: "Zoo Television is a programme about television, made by television, for television...debunking television." The suitably preposterous press blurb from Channel Four in England ran as follows: "More anarchic than the Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, more intimate than In Bed With Madonna, more tongue-in-cheek than The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Zoo TV Featuring U2 promises to be the "mother of all entertainment specials." Pop and TV merge in a glorious orgy of over-indulgence as the mega-rock stars take control of the hype and media machine that made them and push it to the breaking point." Right...

14 Pee Wee Herman and Arnold Schwarzenegger both turned up in the Zoo.

15 Bono: "I don't know what Zoo TV is, so I guess it must be art."

16 The Edge's mum and dad came to the Zoo TV shows in Los Angeles and Vancouver.

17 At most rock shows the press photographers count themselves lucky if they get access to the security pit in front of the stage. During the Zoo TV tour, photographers were sometimes invited into the "scissor-lift" -- a mobile platform -- which lifted them up the side of the stage where The Fly would then perform right into their unbelievable lenses. The precise meaning of the moment was made clear to the audience by a large electronic sign flashing the words "PHOTO OPPORTUNITY."

18 The second show at Dodger's Stadium, Los Angeles was on Halloween. TV spook-vamp Elvira joined the show live by satellite to sing "Happy Birthday" to Larry.

19 U2 played the first rock show at Atlanta's spanking new Georgia Dome. Sadly the house technicians had not quite worked out the finer points of how to turn off all the lights in the building so some lights remained on for the first fifteen minutes of the show. A visit to the roof by U2 stage manager Rocco Reedy and his trusty hammer solved the problem.

20 Mandy Shaki, 17, and Jennifer Lind, 17, are U2 fans in Vancouver who came along to both stadium shows in the city. Mandy has been getting her Propaganda for 6 years. Her highlight of 1992 was in April at the indoor Vancouver show: "The Zoo TV concept is music, TV, information...it's everything in excess."

21 Early on in the tour Larry and one of U2's security team acquired a pair of Harley Davidson Motorcycles. While everyone else drove or flew between shows, Larry often rode the trip on his Harley.

22 "Against a backdrop of flickering TV screens, Day-Glo Trabants and a bank of technology on Edge's side of the stage that looks like NASA Mission Control, Bono prowls the boards in a gold lame suit that harks back to vintage Elvis." (Sean O'Hagan in The Face).

23 The Fly made it to the cover of the British edition of Vogue Magazine, along with supermodel Christy Turlington. Bono was the first male to grace the cover of the top fashion mag since Terence Stamp nearly three decades before.

24 The very first song performed on the Outside Broadcast leg of the Zoo TV tour was "Sunday Bloody Sunday" in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It was an experimental opening for the show and one that was not repeated.

25 The video release, Achtung Baby, the Videos, the Cameos and a Whole Lot of Interference claims to offer the viewer "the truth, the whole truth and nothing like the truth." Apparently what you see is what you get and what you see is 1.31 inches of videotape per second. As well as a whole lot of interference the video also contains some songs including, "Even Better Than the Real Thing" directed by Kevin Godley; "Mysterious Ways" directed by Stephane Sednaoui; "One" directed by Anton Corbijn; "The Fly" directed by Ritchie Smyth and Jon Klein, "Even Better Than the Real Thing" directed by Ritchie Smyth; "One" directed by Mark Pellington; "Even Better Than The Real Thing" directed by Armando Gallo and Kampah; "One" directed by Phil Joanou; "Until the End of the World" directed by Ritchie Smyth; and a whole lot of interference generally directed by Maurice Linnane.

26 Building the Zoo TV show took a minimum of 200 men and women over 40 hours to set up and required 12 mobile office trailers.

27 At the Brit Awards in February, the annual ceremony of the British record industry in London, the chairman insisted on having the category of Best Live Act 1992 in order to honor U2 for the Zoo TV tour. The band returned the compliment by flying across to receive it.

28 Zoo TV video crewmember, Richard Davis has got two grandchildren.

29 The fourth show in Mexico City was the last show for Ellen Darst who has worked with U2 for 12 years as Paul McGuinness's Management Associate in the USA. Ellen moves on to work with Elektra Records and will be much missed by all.

30 Press For Action: If you were a member of the press visiting the Zoo TV show you would be provided with the following helpful information by Dave Lemmink, Chief Engineer, Zoo TV. Zoo TV will provide the following for all U.S. and Canadian tour dates: 15 Composite NTSC baseband video feeds. Press Box connector is BNC female. 15 line-level mono audio feeds. Press box connector is XLR male. Zoo TV does NOT provide AC power so please come prepared with battery powered equipment. Please check your equipment before leaving your studio and bring all necessary interconnect cables, our engineers are extremely busy prior to the show. Also note that many of the newer one-piece BetaCam ENG units will not accept an external video input. We cannot provide any taped video material without prior arrangements with U2 production management.

31 The surnames of the truck drivers on the Zoo TV tour were Herbert, Rich, Sallee, Jones, Stevens, Liss, Abbate, Harrison, McGeough, Lawson, Bjorklund, Bain, Kueblar, Plumley, Froneck, Hadley, Mederos, Lorenzana, Dodson, Puckett, Davis, Hereford, Marshall and Dipaola.

32 The singer came undone during one show. Edge recalls: "Bono split his pants one night midway through the set and he ended up asking a girl in the audience to gaffer tape him back together to finish the show. That was funny." Another night: "We got mugged by two girls that jumped up on stage -- they were like six-foot-three model types and full of energy. They basically jumped on Bono and myself on the b-stage like big Alsatian puppies completely out of control."

33 Peter "Willie" Williams received the industry award of Lighting Designer of the Year for the design of the Zoo TV show.

34 Members of the Emergency Broadcast Network (who made, amongst other things, the now infamous video clip of George Bush singing "We Will Rock You") brought their satellite dish projector to Yankee Stadium in New York. They brought their large dish into the stadium and set it up on the roof of the mixer tower, all without the aid of any tickets or working passes. When asked how they achieved such a feat, EBN's Gardener Post replied, "We're just so used to functioning without official credentials. Last year we did the whole Lollapalooza tour without passes of any sort..."

35 When U2 tickets went on sale in Los Angeles, Pacific Bell telephone company reported an incomprehensible 54 million phone call attempts in four hours, as redial buttons were pressed again and again...

36 EuroPop techno veterans Kraftwerk joined U2 for one show in Manchester, U.K., as a protest gig against the Sellafield Nuclear Plant in the north of England.

37 A Zoo TV Interview With Propaganda

38 Shows in Milan, Italy, were postponed by a day, due to a vital truck breaking down somewhere in the Pyrenees Mountains.

39 At the (very small) ASU activities center in Tempe, Arizona, Bono kicked a cup of water from the stage which remained full as it sailed over the crowd and landed directly on the lighting console. The console instantly ceased to function.

40 A mini-TV station was set up under the stage in each city where Zoo TV played, using live satellite broadcasts during the show. Bono used a channel changer to choose stations from the satellite feed. The video director, Carol Dodds, used a custom system developed for the tour by Philips Interactive Media called Cdi. It was the first time this kind of media has been used in a live show. She had 12 laser disc players, monitors containing the live television feeds and 5 camera systems which she mixed on site during each show. It was a flexible system which could be changed nightly. There were four mega video screens, four Philips Vidiwalls and 36 video monitors. The discs contained footage created by Kevin Godley, Brian Eno, Mark Pellington, Peter Williams, Carol Dodds and Emergency Broadcast Networks (EBN). There were also 18 projectors in use and a video crew of 18 people assisting Ms. Dodds.

41 The estate of Keith Haring gave U2 permission to reproduce Haring's famous Radiant Baby logo on one of the Trabants. Thank You.

42 The Zoo TV Tour started in Lakeland, Florida (by Walt Disney World), rehearsed in Hershey, Pennsylvania (a theme park) and finished the U.S. leg at Anaheim, California (by Disneyland). Is this significant?

43 At what other rock show do the audience get pizza thrown in for free? On several stops on the Zoo TV Tour, Bono took advantage of a conveniently placed telephone to call the local dial-a-pizza during the show. Sometimes for the entire audience. That was if he wasn't calling for a chat on a live sex-line, doing some Home Shopping or trying to get through for a chinwag with the President of the United States of America.

44 The stage set included 11 Trabant cars, two of which were suspended over the stage; all had lights inside and out. The Trabant was the People's Car of East Germany, and each one in the show was owned and used by East German families prior to the fall of the Eastern bloc. The cars are made of compressed cardboard, originally weighed 400 lbs. each and cost around $300. They were structurally modified and now weigh over 2,000 lbs. each. They are decorated with artwork designed by Catherine Owens, Rene Castro and Peter Williams.

45 Heavy Duty is the name of one of the gallant gentlemen who drove the tour buses as the Zoo trundled across America. Normally the comprehensively tattooed Heavy drives a 39 Chevrolet at his 20-acre home in Tennessee where he has a 115-year-old house which he has been restoring. He has also toured with Paul McCartney, Paul Simon and the Grateful Dead. He says, "I enjoyed U2 the most. I've been a fan of theirs since day one, since I was buying imports of their records before they were released in the States." His favorite U2 song of the moment is "The Fly." He estimates that his $500,000 bus, with a party of up to 12 crew members on board -- two lounges, bathroom, kitchen and all modern cons -- traveled approaching 40,000 miles by the end of the Outside Broadcast Leg of the Zoo TV Tour. He saw the show about 40 times and claims that "it gets better every time." He can't see them all as he has to sleep in preparation for overnight drives after some concerts. "What I like about this group is that they have time to talk to you," he says. "Some other acts can be arrogant of snobbish, maybe they think the crew is beneath them but it's the crew that makes the show look good each night." He got a particular kick out of the Los Angeles show where the company included Jack Nicholson, Sean Connery, Mel Gibson, Billy Idol, Sean Penn, Winona Ryder and Julia Roberts: "Hell, almost everybody in Hollywood was there, there were more stars than there were at the Oscars."

46 Zoo TV opened wide its very ironic arms to the media, which is a tiring business for the media's appetite is never sated. Edge: "I feel more and more like a politician on a campaign, constantly at the mercy of the media, doing interviews, being filmed. Zoo TV is life imitating art imitating politics."

47 Benny and Bjorn from ABBA joined U2 on stage in Stockholm for a rendition of "Dancing Queen" beneath the revolving mirrorball Trabant. The show was being broadcast live to just one house, the home of competition winner John Harris of Nottinghamshire in England.

48 There was a fifteen-strong team of catering staff feeding the animal on the Zoo tour.

49 Robert Hilburn the pop music critic of the Los Angeles Times wrote after the two L.A. shows on the Zoo TV tour that the "Irish quartet demonstrated once again why it is the only contemporary band with the ambition and talent to once have been considered on the same levels as the Beatles." He said that the "elaborate video-monitor system delivers such a startling sense of intimacy and immediacy to the proceedings that it may become the standard for stadium concerts in the '90s."

50 Greenpeace were present at all the Zoo TV shows. Kerry Mahoney and Kate Adams from Greenpeace traveled to each venue and worked with local members setting up tables for fund raising and information.

51 Three Grove-man lifts are used during the show.

52 Golf carts are used in some U.S. stadiums to transport people around them because they are so vast. A golf cart from the Yankee Stadium show was found, later that night, abandoned in central Manhattan.

53 U2's Outside Broadcast video system includes a vast array of broadcast television production and projection equipment, which filled two 48-foot semi-trailers and was run by a crew of 18 people. The production carried an entire video broadcast facility with the capacity for uplink/downlink and on-site editing. Some of the features of the system are: 23 inputs including: 4 Ikegami HL-55A CCD cameras with component CCUs. 1 POV camera. 10 Pioneer 8000 laser disc playback decks. 4 3/4" and BetaCam SP playback decks. 2 "BonoCams" (handheld video cameras). 1 Satellite dish and receiver. 1 Philips CD-I Player. 47 simultaneous outputs including: 4 15' x 20' rear projection screens using 18 GE Talaria 5055 HB light valve projectors. 4 Philips 4 x 3 Vidiwall video walls. 36 27" Barco monitors. 1 Press feed. 1 Auxiliary video feed (for stadiums with Jumbotron, DiamondVision, etc). 1 Satellite uplink feed. The system is run by 4 Personal Computers with customized hardware and software built specifically for the Zoo TV Tour. A crew of three engineers control the system electronics from beneath the stage. The director and assistant director call the show from their perch on the second level of mix platform in the Front of House. They can view all the screens and also monitor all the system inputs from a remote switching console located in this position. Video projectionists control the video projectors from positions as high as 60 feet behind the large video screens flanking and hanging above the stage. The entire video system is worth over 3.5m U.S. dollars. Typical system set-up time is approximately 10 hours and it is packed in racks and cases that fit under the performance stage. (And all this information comes to you from Dave Lemmink, Chief Engineer, Zoo TV.)

54 One fine day at rehearsals the entire scaffolding crew decided to shave their heads. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

55 Before the show every night on the Outside Broadcast leg of the Zoo TV Tour, U2 fans could enter the Video Confessional -- a lavishly converted portaloo -- and record a confession to camera. If it made the grade during playback while the show was running, it was aired to the entire audience right before the encore of the concert.

56 Zoo TV is not a concept but a way of life claimed the Edge. A way of life requires form of hard currency -- this was it. (Bono Bucks)

57 You saw it here first. No sooner had the Zoo TV station ceased transmission for the winter, than British television programmes started unashamedly jumping on the bandwagon with Jonathan Ross' Saturday Night Zoo and the emergence of the Zoo TV phenomenon. The Face magazine, documenting the emergence of the genre in the U.K., felt moved to emphasize that "Zoo TV isn't anything to do with U2."Hmmm.

58 Important implement in order to keep the Zoo station clean: vacuum cleaner.

59 Edge talking whilst in catering marquee before the show in San Francisco: "I think Zoo TV can go further. I don't mean bigger -- but it can be pushed further along the lines it is developing already. We make discoveries every now and again -- like Emergency Broadcast Network, a group of video artists on the East Coast, who did the George Bush, 'We Will Rock You' sequence. I think we can take it further -- it's not as zoo as it can be. There are still some wild, unorthodox, unpredictable, furry animals to go in this zoo. We've a very ala carte attitude to technology, we find our own use for it. We're not interested in helping technology develop for the betterment of humankind so much as we are in using what is out there for our own selfish, fascist ends. Mostly what we do is abuse it by doing things with it that it wasn't designed to do -- that's part of the fun. It's about trial and error, not necessarily knowing what you want but recognizing it when it hits you over the head. A lot of our discoveries are made by accident. And even with the show we tried a lot of things that didn't work...things that looked good on paper but were disastrous when we came to doing them. We've just kept the good things. It's all completely subjective, it's what you end up liking and what you end up thinking is great. What I am enjoying about this tour is that people are even more mystified than ever before, not having a clue where we are coming from but still enjoying it. At times we allow the production to dominate and at times we don't. It's just a setting, a context for the material. And like any background you get bored with it after a while so you have to change it. Once the visuals are in place I don't look at them, I'm thinking about performing the song. The visuals are there to support the performance and once they are in place I just concentrate on the performance, I don't really worry about the visuals. Zoo TV is about ideas, more than about stage sets, the hardware is not what is important so much as the software.

60 "U2's Zoo TV tour has grown into a thing of rich proportions; groovy, elevated, sad, but mostly just high on its own sense of the royal daftness of rock 'n' roll." (Stuart Bailie in NME)

61 Without doubt the most overpriced hotel of the tour was in San Sebastian, Spain. The hotel charged a management associate $1,200 for one long distance phone call. Is this a record?

62 When finally having settled the astronomical bill for the whole touring party at the San Sebastian hotel, the U2 tour accountant was heard asking the hotel manager, "So which part of the hotel do we own now?"

63 Bono only broke two television monitors throughout the entire tour.

64 Rigger Warren Jones from New Zealand, took a day trip from El Paso, Texas over the border into Mexico. Unfortunately upon his return he discovered that he had accidentally taken his three-year-old son's passport with him instead of his own. Four hours later U.S. immigration officials let him rejoin the tour.

65 In Vienna, Austria, Axl Rose joined Bono and the Edge on stage for a rendition of "Knockin' On Heaven's Door."

66 Counting off the shows. Graffiti in the lighting console...what a long, strange trip it's been.

67 Without U2's fans there would be...well...empty stadiums. But down at the front it can be a bit crushed.

68 Edge: "After this is over, I'll be glad to get home again. I might just get myself a library card and go and read in a library for a while."

69 Propaganda World Exclusive -- Photographic evidence of where the whole thing came from.



© Propaganda, 1993. All rights reserved.

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