The ultimate rock show by the world's most successful band can't miss out a moment of political concern, writes James Cusick. At Celtic football stadium in Glasgow this weekend crowds of 35,000 worshipped at the altar of U2 as they kicked off the British leg of their Zooropa European tour.
The band is a mobile industry, carrying 1,200 tons of equipment, four generators, three miles of cable, 52 articulated trucks, 12 fork-lift trucks, 12 mobile office trailers, 10 buses, a private aircraft, 180 permanent staff plus 200 hired locally, a stage 248ft (80m) by 80ft, a line of radio masts reaching 110ft, a television studio complex and 176 speakers.
Bono has developed the pop master of ceremonies role into on-stage director, cameraman, political interviewer, world peace emissary, comedian, tragedian and carrier of the rock 'n' roll flame.
During each show broadcasts from satellite channels around the world are picked up and flashed on to three banks of 36 video monitors. With its lights, flames, smoke and explosions, the event resembles a performance on board a working oil platform or a scene in a chemical refinery at night.
The encore had Bono re-emerging with a new identity, Mr Macphisto, a hybrid personality incorporating the Devil, John Gielgud and Elvis Presley. In this guise during the world tour he has telephoned live from the stage to the White House, 10 Downing Street, and a pizza shop with an order of 10,000.
On Saturday he dialled the Scottish Office, reminding the audience that '400 years ago tonight, Macbeth, the man, died.' The Scottish Office night security officer answered the phone. 'Hello, I'd like to speak to Ian Lang, Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Scotland', said Bono. 'Can you give him this message - Out, out, damned Scot.' The crowd cheered.
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