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Old 03-18-2002, 12:25 AM   #1
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Q Magazine: 10 Tours That Changed History

Typed this out.. Enjoy!

"10 Tours That Changed Music.. Q salutes the tours that really mattered"
-Q Magazine, March 2002


Beatles: 1966 World Tour
LL Cool Jay: DefJame Tour
Nirvana: SUb Pop tour
Madonna: Blond Ambition
Family Values Tour featuring Korn, LImp Bizkit,
Rammstein, Ice Cube, Orgy
The Rolling Stones: 1972 North American Tour
Rollercoaster Tour featuring THe Jesus and Mary Chain,
Blur, Dinosaur Jr, My Blood Valentine
Sex Pistols: Anarchy Tour
Bob Dylan: The Rolling Thunder Revue
U2: Elevation


On the evening of 24 March 2001, a bunch of nondescript guys ambled onto the stage of the National Car Rental Center, near Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. The house lights were still on, as the rock'n'roll ceremony was effectively knocked out of kilter. This wasn't, as it first seemed, four members of the road crew walking onstage for some extra adjustments before show time. It was U2 at the start of an epochal tour, messing with decorum, starting the job at a workaday pitch.

The band had actually rehearsed this move ahead of their Elevation Tour debut. There was humility in the gesture, but also a deal of arrogance. Big rock bands were a rarity, and the surviving ones weren't full of confidence. But U2 had signaled their fresh intent on the album aTYCLB. Their music and their media encounters were perpetually on-message. In the face of cynicism, torpor and confusion, these people were exceedingly high on hope.

The mission statement, articulated by show designer Willie Williams, was Forward To Basics. In part, it was a reaction to the PopMart Tour which had copped so much bad publicity in 1997. That had been under-rehearsed and over conceptualized, hurled onto the stadium circuit off the back of an album that hadn't been finished to the band's satisfaction. In contrast, Elevation was a controlled process, flagged up by a series of wham-bam club shows in Paris, NY, and London, while U2 were being lauded at the Brits and the Grammys.

Irony was largely absent, as Bono explained just ahead of the tour: "Now the real challenge is to turn up without a mask. And I must tell you, it's not as easy to take the shades off as I thought it would be." Interestingly, The Fly, a one-time tour de force, didn't initially function in this new regime, though there was some compensation from Stay, which reinvented itself as a lovely acoustic ballad.

The first third of the Elevation show was monochrome. As an encore, the band developed a routine around BTBS, beaming film of Charlton Heston, making his case for the gun lobby, onto a backdrop. This lead to somescattershot images of arms abuse around the world as Bono acted out the aprt of Mark Chapman, outside the Dakota Building, fixing to finish John Lennon.

The heart-shaped ramp at the front of the stage was hollowed out at Adam Clayton's suggestion, allowing the keenest
of fans a special vantage point. This encouraged a community of fervent followers to take up residency at every show-
the Zootopians, who maintained a surreal discourse with Bono, second-guessing his actions and forcing him to keep his
style loose and varied.

However, the new U2 songs demanded to be sung straight. Stuck was for Michael Hutchence and, belatedly, Paula
Yates. IALW, once a hangover lyric, became an adieu to JR - the last song that the singer had heard before he died.
POE name-checked victims of the Omagh bombing. Most importantly, Kite grew into a deeply affecting conversation between Bono, his ailing dad and his own children. The blackest of jokes in the U2 camp was that maybe they should start a new movement, Drop The Death.

As the tour progressed, the celebrity guest list became increasingly diverse. Michael Stipe and Robbie Williams were spotted checking out the competition in Atlanta and Anaheim respectively. But it was Dennis Hoper, Meg Ryan, Neil Diamond and Queen Noor of Jordan that boosted the celeb count on the last three nights at the Pond in Anaheim. Meanwhile, in NY, Tiger Woods and Christy Turlington were among those rubbing shoulders for the second show at MSG.

Taking a break in August, the band embarked on a whirlwind party: flying from Barcelona to Ibiza at 1am to celebrate Edge's 40th birthday, before traveling to the UK the following day.

On a more serious note, Bono was still busily plugging Third World debt relief on behalf of Jubilee 2000 He met with frustrating circumstances at the G8 Summit in Genoa and genned up on the Global AIDS Alliance.

Bob, Bono's father, died on 21 August. That night's Earl's Court show went ahead, as Bono grieved before his public. Then he brought it home to Slane castle in Ireland four days later- out doors with 80,000 empathetic souls. During One, Bob Hewson's image was beamed onto the screens, while his son mused over the words to When Will I see You Again. At the same venue the following week, U2 celebrated the Republic of Ireland's football victory over Holland. This remarkable change of tone marked the end of Elevation's European leg.

They returned to America after 11 Sept. and built towards a three-night residency at MSG, NY. The bands' most malleable song, One, was now accompanied by the names of the city's recent dead, projected on the walls and roof. Elevation's benidictory track, WO, took on a new import here, and a number of the city's firemen were invited to pace around the ramp. Dozens of big name acts were calling off tours, but U2 kept on, and will doubtless hold the long-term affections of many Americans as a result.

Sure, this was ammunition for the U2 detractors, who saw this sincere stuff as a return to earnest '80s mullethood and concluded that the band had merely been slumming in an ambivalent, arty world for a decade. Bono countered that they'd actually grown up, dealing with those doubts and hesitations en route, and were therefore more defined because of the trip.

"This tour," he argued, "feels like the completion of what we are as a group. The band has a mannish quality that you wouldn't fuck with, you know?"

It was their most successful campaign since the The Joshua Tree tour. Back in 1987, U2 were experiencing the G-force of intense fame and, consequently, their recollections were blurred. Hence the extra sweetness of the Elevation revue, with those same old schoolfriends locking into a fine, compassionate groove, clearing savoring the details.

"It's much more interesting when rock-n-roll breaks out of the box, its head filled with big ideas," bono mused during the European leg. "Some of them are nonsense and some are fun, and some are powerful, world-changing ideas like, say, Jubilee 2000. I just felt, right now, we're *it*. I dunno about last week, maybe not the week before, but right now, we're it."

It was the highest-grossing tour of 2001, taking almost 100 million (pounds) in business. The critics mostly liked it, while many of the band's peers watched with envy. Before Elevation, there was a sense that the big rock tour was an exhausted art form. But U2 came through with a revival show that worked in spite of all those received forebodings.

At the time of writing, there is a suggestion that the tour will continue, possibly back into Europe. In the throes of such uncommon times, nobody wants to hit the descend button just yet.

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[This message has been edited by oliveu2cm (edited 03-17-2002).]
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Old 03-18-2002, 12:28 AM   #2
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great, now where's Zoo TV?
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Old 03-18-2002, 12:31 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer:
great, now where's Zoo TV?
my thoughts exactly... as far as i can tell ZooTV is more groundbreaking and history-changing than Elevation. It totally hadn't been done before. Elevation was amazing and very impressive no doubt.. but who can expect them to put 2 tours from one band on the list

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Old 03-18-2002, 12:35 AM   #4
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Thanks for transcribing that, olive; it was fun to read.

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Old 03-18-2002, 12:45 AM   #5
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In case anyone is curious, as of March 22, 2001 U2 had a totally different entrance planned for the Elevation Tour that was really kind of cool. I have a rehearsal video that shows they had a lot of cool stuff planned for this tour. They had a TON of visuals planned for the songs using the wide screen TV onstage. Reminded me a lot of the ZooTV stuff actually. I thought their entrance with the house lights on was awesome anyway. Just thought I would share that.

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[This message has been edited by Jayhawk (edited 03-17-2002).]
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Old 03-18-2002, 12:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jayhawk:
In case anyone is curious, as of March 22, 2001 U2 had a totally different entrance planned for the Elevation Tour that was really kind of cool. I have a rehearsal video that shows they had a lot of cool stuff planned for this tour. They had a TON of visuals planned for the songs using the wide screen TV onstage. Reminded me a lot of the ZooTV stuff actually. I thought their entrance with the house lights on was awesome anyway. Just thought I would share that.


Really? Can you possibly share some more details??? Please??
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Old 03-18-2002, 12:58 AM   #7
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Oddly enough I agree with the comments about ZooTV though it's not my favourite U2 era and I did not see it. Given a choice, I would far, far rather have seen ZooTV than Popmart. I really don't get why so many U2 fans spend so much time raving about Popmart in comparison to ZooTV (maybe because quite a lot of the online fans became fans since ZooTV and around the time of Popmart?) which strikes me as a far more interesting concept.

At the same time, it irritates me a little when people suggest that U2 was the first band to do a tour with a huge concept, or something like that. Pink Floyd? Other prog rock bands? The most conceptual rock show I have ever seen was actually Queensryche's Promised Land tour in 1995. But ZooTV was indeed different in terms of what it was depicting and how it was done, I think. Though having read quite a lot about it, much of it I wouldn't have particularly liked or agreed with, I think.

Just a point I wanted to add--Bono somewhere said something about using footage from Triumph of the Will, that he wanted U2 to be the first band to show the similarities between rock concerts and Nazi rallies--ha ha. I'm afraid they weren't, either. Pink Floyd's The Wall?

I loved the Elevation tour very much, I saw U2 on it for the first and only time so far, and it was a perfect concert and concept for a first timer who has also been a fan for several years and really prefers their "classic" material (and also has a fairly recent great admiration for Achtung Baby). But I don't know that it was particularly "important" as far as being groundbreaking or whatever--except the heart, maybe. In other ways, sure.



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Old 03-18-2002, 03:11 AM   #8
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I thought kiss would be on that list to. They started the fireworks in a liveshow ( and the 3D effect on a screen )
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Old 03-18-2002, 04:30 AM   #9
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i want to complain about this list too.
but not about U2.

they should replace the nirvana sub pop tour with the 1991 mini tour that had nirvana, pearl jam, red hot chili peppers and smashing pumpkins.

now that was ground breaking because we all know what happened to the alternative scene in the fall of 91.

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Old 03-18-2002, 04:55 AM   #10
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Jayhawk!! Any chance of getting a copy of that rehearsal video? E-mail me, please...have stuff to trade!

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Old 03-18-2002, 05:03 AM   #11
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I am certainly no expert on this, but I think ZOO TV was the most innovative of all world tours.The use of TV screen parallel to the artist perfomance was quite genre breaking.I dont know what criteria these magazines use, but ZOO TV and POPmart should have been there in this list, for the simple fact that they changed the things, the way they have been for years.

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[This message has been edited by ishkash (edited 03-18-2002).]
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Old 03-18-2002, 08:22 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by ishkash:
I am certainly no expert on this, but I think ZOO TV was the most innovative of all world tours.The use of TV screen parallel to the artist perfomance was quite genre breaking.I dont know what criteria these magazines use, but ZOO TV and POPmart should have been there in this list, for the simple fact that they changed the things, the way they have been for years.

0.02 Australian Cents
I totally agree with you about ZooTV.

The only reason I think Elevation was given such a heavy nod is because of its new "back to basics, stripped down" format which I *think* other bands are/will be adopting in order to have a better connection with their audience. In that way, it is groundbreaking and was of course incredible successful.

same could be said about Zoo in a different light. If this article had been written a year ago, chances are you'd see Zoo on there.



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Old 03-18-2002, 09:22 AM   #13
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Thank you olive for typing and posting the article, I truly appreciate it.
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Old 03-18-2002, 09:45 AM   #14
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Thank you olive for typing and posting the article, I truly appreciate it.
my pleasure
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Old 03-18-2002, 09:53 AM   #15
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That's really great, thanks for the info Olive!

Though... uh... yeah, where's Zoo Tv?

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Old 03-18-2002, 09:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Angell:
Jayhawk!! Any chance of getting a copy of that rehearsal video? E-mail me, please...have stuff to trade!

About the previously planned entrance...Okay, imagine the arena being completely dark, then the Elevation intro starts and lights that aren't that bright start swirling all around the stage. Very slowly the the wide-screen TV starts to raise up and you can tell it's showing kind of a static picture...slowly you can see the outline of the 4 band members in front of the screen...they are equally spaced along the back of the stage and the wide-screen goes to it's maximum height. You see the black outline of the band against the screen for about 15 seconds then one by one they go their "stage area" and kick into Elevation.

They had a TON of visuals planned for every song using the wide-screen but they obviously passed on that idea. I would love to know when the change of plans happened because the shock value of seeing them enter the arena for that first show is awesome on the DVD. I really loved the entrance they used for the whole tour to be honest.

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Old 03-18-2002, 11:43 PM   #17
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very cool!, but i too would have voted ZooTv...

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Old 03-18-2002, 11:47 PM   #18
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I think the writers at Q are on crack. Not only was ZooTV a better show than Elevation, it was, as the heading says, more of a 'tour that changed history'. Don't get me wrong, I loved Elevation. I went to a half dozen shows and had more fun than I'd ever had in my life. But I don't know how they can say that Elevation changed history when it only ended a few months ago. I just think we need to see what other bands - and U2 - do next before we can get proper perspective of the Elevation tour.

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Old 03-19-2002, 01:42 AM   #19
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Oh yeah why did they leave off lollapolooza??

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Old 03-19-2002, 01:43 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by david:
they should replace the nirvana sub pop tour with the 1991 mini tour that had nirvana, pearl jam, red hot chili peppers and smashing pumpkins.
I agree

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