U2 Will Use AR Tech on Their Next Tour

By: | May 16th, 2018

U2, one of the top rock bands in the world, is very hands-on when it comes to their tours. Their latest tour, The Experience + Innocence Tour, will incorporate AR technology and turn Bono into an 80-ft. giant projected on a double-sided LCD screen — once again topping anything they’ve ever done before on tour.

What Is AR Technology?

Augmented reality technology has the power to expand the physical world around you. Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality adds sounds, videos, and graphics to your existing environment, further enhancing what you already see. These superimposed, computer-generated images can change your perception of reality, and therefore create a much more exciting experience.

However, fans will need to download the U2 Experience app beforehand — available on both iOS and Android devices — so they can point them toward LED screens to get the full experience of AR Bono. With the app, fans will also have the opportunity to see other superimposed images and videos throughout the show, including a giant melting iceberg.

Why AR Tech?

Bono admits to abusing technology, but for a very good reason — to be closer to his fans. Each show will begin with Bono performing “Love Is All We Have Left” in synchronization with AR Bono. The reason behind the use of AR tech is to amplify the song so it comes across clearer and more directly to its audience.

The AR concept for the tour was developed by the band and stage designer Es Devlin, who’s worked with other artists, such as Kanye West and Beyonce. Devlin also designed installations for the closing ceremony of the London Olympics. This new endeavor is no surprise to U2 fans, because the band is always looking for new and innovative ways to perform on tour.

Bono is more than aware of the potential distractions already available to his fans via their phones and other devices, so he’s decided that adding this technological element will only enhance what will already be a distraction. Only this way, fans will feel more part of the experience. He isn’t afraid to admit that the band wants the audience’s complete attention, and AR tech is one way to do it.

U2 Breaks Barriers

U2’s high-tech performances are world famous. In 2015, they were one of the first bands to use the app Meerkat to stream their show to thousands of people on the internet — live. Their goal is to break barriers and promote intimacy with their fans, which is a hard thing to do with a stadium filled with 20,000 people. With more fans, more technology is needed to bring on the full effect. AR technology will undoubtedly transcend your typical rock show.

The Power of AVL Design

Quality AVL design is gaining in popularity because of its undeniable value. A versatile, high-quality AVL system will enhance viewing experiences with customized designs that will immerse your audience in the way you want them immersed in your show. A performance is about the sound, visuals, and lighting — not just what you hear or see. Together, these three important elements have the power to give fans an experience like no other and one to remember for a lifetime.

So, while some artists like Jack White want to create a cellphone-free concert experience, U2 is doing the exact opposite and taking full advantage of fans and their addiction to technology — in the best way possible. With AR technology, fans will experience a rock show like no other. So, don’t fret if you’re in the nosebleed section, because Bono will be in full view no matter where you sit.

Marshall Smith

Technology, engineering, and design enthusiast.

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