Twenty years ago tonight, U2 opened its ZOO TV Tour in Lakeland, Fla. — debuting a high-tech stage show that not only redefined the Irish rockers, but changed the way arena and stadium tours have been staged ever since, incorporating dazzling visual imagery and extending the performance space out into the audience.
For U2, the Feb. 29, 1992, tour opener was the band’s first U.S. concert in five years, and it represented a new look at the “new U2” — and an almost unheard-of focus on new material by an arena-level act. The band opened with eight straight songs off its current album, Achtung Baby, and played a total of 10 of that album’s tracks that night.
As Bono told news crews after the show, “We might lose some of the pop kids, but… we don’t need them” — an attitude that carried the band through the ’90s, only to be abandoned in the 2000s.
There’s surprisingly little footage of that first show to be found online, but, above, you can check out a four-minute, Kurt Loder-hosted MTV News report on the Lakeland concert. And, below, we’ve assembled a playlist featuring a dress rehearsal of much of the show — the Achtung opening run, plus most of the encore — that was performed two days earlier, on Feb. 27, 1992, to a nearly empty arena (individual tracks can be seen at Slicing Up Video).
Share your ZOO TV memories in the comments below. Who’s still got their Bono bucks?
VIDEO: U2, ZOO TV dress rehearsal, Lakeland, FL, 2/27/92
PREVIOUSLY ON SLICING UP EYEBALLS
- Stream: Full U2 ‘Achtung Baby’ tribute album ‘AHK-toong BAY-bi Covered’ from Q
- Video: U2 ‘From the Sky Down’ trailer — documentary about ‘Achtung Baby’
- U2′s ‘Achtung Baby’ box set: 6 CDs, 4 DVDs, 2 LPs, 5 7-inches — and Bono’s fly shades