Turn it up to 11: tech's contributions to rock and roll

Many of rock's greatest moments hinge on shifts in music technology. Here is a chronology of some of the highlights.

U2: PopMart Tour (1997)



Rock fans wondered how U2 would top its 1992 Zoo TV tour, which featured dozens of TVs displaying a pastiche of media clips, a camera-equipped confession booth, and three different Bono alter-egos — in addition to stunts like bogus calls to the White House and an on-stage order by the band of 10,000 pizzas to go.

The answer: U2's 1997 PopMart tour, an ironic invocation of the themes of consumer excess and the commoditization of culture, which incidentally grossed almost $80 million over the course of 93 performances.

In search of symbols of vapid consumerism that even vapid consumers would recognise as such, the band's set designers came up with a 170-foot-by-56-foot LED screen, a giant McDonalds-esque golden arch with a spherical PA system mounted at the top, and a giant lemon (mentioned in the previous slide) situated stage right.

Photo: Courtesy of Mark Fisher Studio

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