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U2’s stage designer tells all about the upcoming tour

D 29 January 2017     H 19:16     A Corine/Dead     C 0 messages


All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

Willie Williams, the stage designer for U2, told Rolling Stone all about what to expect from Joshua Tree 2017.

Willie Williams has been the stage designer for U2 since 1982. He’s been with them as they’ve gone from club gigs to packed stadiums. Seeing as U2 is the kind of band that promises a whole new unforgettable experience each tour, it’s amazing Williams hasn’t run out of ideas. This tour, however, he’s going back to one of the classics, the Joshua Tree tour from 1987.

Returning to the good old days for this tour was a blessing for Williams, as it’s hard to keep topping his own high-tech work. "What’s great to me personally is this has come as a Get Out of Jail Free card for how to follow U2 360° because that really was the stadium show to end all stadium shows," he says. "And so what do you do after that? How do you go back into stadiums with something that’s not that? Whereas this, The Joshua Tree absolutely can be at one end of the stadium. It can be a nod to how it was 30 years ago and the spirit of that stage can be there, so it’s perfectly legitimate. You don’t have to explain why you’ve gone back to one end of the stadium; it’s just obvious."

As Williams explains, returning to the classic stage setup is really something you could only do with a band like U2. "I was quite drawn to the idea of just looking at the traditional festival stage, which is what that was, basically a box with PA on either side, and saying, ’What can you do with this? This is the most outdated idea for touring imaginable, but through U2’s eyes can we do something interesting with it?’" he says. "We took the spirit of that kind of minimal CinemaScope idea where the look was a huge stretched image of the Joshua Tree that ran as wide as we could afford on a given day, and we’ve taken that spirit and run with it."

Read the full Rolling Stone interview with Willie Williams here: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/u2s-longtime-stage-designer-talks-joshua-tree-tour-w462515


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