Journal Music Writer
U2's PopMart tour opens in Edmonton Saturday. Here is some recent news on the band:
A packed house of 50,000 -- many from Saskatchewan, Northwestern Ontario and states in the Upper Midwest -- was on hand for U2's Winnipeg Stadium spectacle Thursday night.
"It's a technological first in so many ways," tour director Craig Evens said Wednesday as dozens of hard-hatted crew members at Winnipeg Stadium hustled to unload trucks and build the 30-metre arch that forms the centrepiece to the stage.
The effects don't have a message beyond flashiness, tour manager Nick Levitt said.
"There's not a specific theme," Levitt said. "It's the look of the overall show rather than a theme."
Local television station ITV has picked up a nice chunk of this weekend's U2 action.
Four cameras from the station's mobile crew will videotape four songs during both U2 concerts Saturday and Sunday night at Commonwealth Stadium.
"I'm not exactly sure what the footage will be used for, but I'm told it's either for a music video or for a video to promote the band's European tour," said Dan MacLean, an ITV technical producer.
"They're paying us pretty good ka-ching to do it -- and it's on a weekend -- so it's really worth it."
MacLean said U2 doesn't tape concert footage in just any city.
He figures U2 picked Edmonton because the extra daylight of Edmonton's longer days equals better footage.
"The crowds contributed to it, too, I think. They like that we're having the big crowds."
According to a posting on the Internet, U2 will be playings its hometown of Dublin after all.
Earlier reports said the band wouldn't be playing in Dublin as part of its PopMart tour because it was not economically feasible. A usually reliable web stie quoted promoter Micahel Cohl as saying that Dublin will definitely be on the PopMart tour.
It's not in any of the band's official record company biographies, but the popular consensus holds two theories.
One is that the band took its name after the U2 spy plane incident involving American pilot Gary Powers, who was captured over Soviet airspace at about the time Bono was born (May 10, 1960).
The other theory is that the band liked the play on the words You, Too.